V o l .  6 1 ,  N o . 8
M a y – J u n e   2 0 1 1  
In This Issue
From the Dean
Next Chapter Program
Dinner Cruise on the M.Y. Affinity
International Performer of the Year Award
Register Now for the Region I and II Convention
Announcement from the Queens and Nassau Chapters
Can you identify this Member from the Past?
Electronic Dues Collection and Directory Updates for 2011–12
Thomas Murray Recital
Keith S. Tóth - Dean, NYC Chapter, American Guild of Organists  

From the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing this on Easter Monday. Many of us in our profession have just finished a demanding week of music-filled services. I hope that all had glorious music and are now finding time for well deserved rest and refreshment.

This month, the chapter will hold two events to close our 2010-2011 program season. On Monday, May 9 at 7:00pm, Cliff Hill will present a choral reading session for us in the Choir Room of St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue. I know that Cliff will provide us with some new, first-rate anthems that we can gladly add to our choral libraries. Please don’t miss this opportunity to gain from Cliff’s witty expertise on choral music.

A cherished chapter event and the final event of the season will be held on Monday, May 23 with a dinner cruise on the M. Y. Affinity yacht. Tickets are $75 for members, $100 for nonmembers. This newsletter and the chapter’s website www.nycago.org provide further information on the cruise and ticket information. You will not want to miss spectacular evening of camaraderie!

I am delighted to announce that Stephen Tharp has won our chapter’s International Performer of the Year Award (IPYA). On behalf of the Board and the Chapter, I express sincere congratulations to Stephen! The chapter thanks Renée Ann Louprette and her IPYA committee for providing us with three wonderful candidates for this esteemed award. Additional thanks to all who voted in this election. The chapter will present Stephen in recital this coming season at which time we will present him with our award.

The Region I and II convention will be held in Morristown, New Jersey on July 3-6. Chapter member and auditor Renée Ann Louprette will be one of the featured performers. I look forward to seeing many of our members at this wonderful regional convention.

As we close our program year, I want to extend our thanks and gratitude to Sub-Dean David Enlow and his wonderful Program Committee for providing us with an exemplary season of events. You will be hearing from David soon about the wonderful things he and his committee are planning for the 2011-12 season.

Although we are gradually moving into the summer, the Board and its committees continue their work on behalf of the chapter. You will hear from us periodically over the summer. My best wishes to all for a relaxing and rejuvenating summer and that you will take time to take advantage of some of the many special music offerings available during this period.

Respectfully yours,

Keith S. Tóth

John Conner - Organist

Next Chapter Program

  Cliff Hill
  Cliff Hill
9 May 2011
Time: 7.00 pm

Choir Room
St. Thomas Church

Enter via Parish House door
1 West 53rd Street

Admission: $10
Free to NYC Chapter members

Cliff Hill
gained his renowned expertise in choral, organ, piano and the orchestral repertoire from his 24-year association with the Princeton University Bookstore Music Shop. In 1999, Cliff and his staff opened Cliff Hill Music, offering their customers good discounts, great service and, if you need suggestions, advice or recommendations on choral or organ literature. He is one of the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and was for many years the Organist & Choirmaster at the Episcopal Church of St. John's-in-the-Village.
David Enlow - Organ lessons, coaching, AGO exam preparation

Dinner Cruise on the M.Y. Affinity

  M.Y. Affinity

Our May dinner cruise featuring unparalleled views of New York Harbor will be aboard the M.Y. Affinity, a 120-foot motor yacht accommodating up to 149 guests.

Invite your friends to join us for food and drink, and a chance to relax with colleagues as we sail past Lady Liberty and under the city's magnificent bridges.

Spouses, partners and friends welcome! Not to be missed!

An Open Bar is included!

23 May 2011
6.00 pm – Embarkation
6.30 pm sharp – Set Sail

Pier 60, Chelsea Piers
23rd Street/West Side Highway

NYC Chapter members: $75
Non-members: $100

Reservations Required
no later than May 2nd

Send check ("NYC AGO") to:
David Enlow
119 East 74th Street
New York, NY 10021

Prepared by Affinity's Executive Chef Rean Smith

– Salad –
Spring mix salad with Gorgonzola, roasted walnuts, fresh orange slices and citrus vinaigrette

– Sides –
Roasted rosemary potatoes
Grilled asparagus with shaved asiago and aged balsamic vinegar
Assortment of bakery fresh breads

–- Entrées –
Penne with broccoli rabe, lemon zest, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and aged pecorino
Grilled lemon rosemary free range chicken breast

– Dessert –
Cookies and brownies or Cheese Cake with fresh berries
Coffee and tea service

David Lloyd ben Yaacov Klepper

Stephen Tharp

International Performer of the Year Award

The Chapter is pleased to announce that Stephen Tharp will receive the 2011 International Performer of the Year Award. Mr. Tharp has enjoyed an international career as a concert organist and recording artist for many years. In 2007, he was appointed Artist-in-Residence at historic Grace Church on Broadway, following music positions that included Brick Presbyterian, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and St. Bartholomew's. As the eighteenth recipient of the award, Mr. Tharp becomes an Honorary Member of the Chapter and is invited to present a recital in an upcoming season. Details will be announced when they are finalized.
J. David Williams - Organist  
Yvonne L. Sonnenwald-Melin
Register Now for the Regions I and II Convention

  2011 AGO Regions I & II Convention

AGO Morristown 2011: Celebrate the Past—Forge the Future, the 2011 Regional Convention for Regions I and II in Morristown, New Jersey, begins on Sunday, July 3 and ends on Wednesday, July 6. Featured recitalists include Ken Cowan, Marilyn Keiser (performing with the Shanghai Quartet, harp, flute, and oboe), Renée Anne Louprette (performing Couperin's Messe pour les Couvents with a chant schola), Thomas Murray, Eric Plutz, and Carol Williams (performing a patriotic recital for July 4).

Other events include a hymn sing led by Mark Miller, a hymn festival led by John Walker, the premiere of two exciting commissions (one by Chelsea Chen and the other by Trent Johnson), two AGO/Quimby Regional Competitions for Young Organists and winners’ recitals (one for each region), a recital of organ demonstrators, and 20 fabulous workshops.

We will hear amazing instruments built by Austin, Schantz, EM Skinner, Hook and Hastings, Casavant and Peragallo. Registration fees are the same as the 2009 Region I and II convention in Boston and include all convention events and transportation. The banquet (an additional $40 fee) and the post-convention tour (to the Auditorium organ in Ocean Grove), are the only extras.

Our convention hotel, the Hyatt Morristown, is offering a rate of $155 per night, which includes a complimentary breakfast for hotel guests as well as FREE PARKING. The hotel is convenient to the Morristown train station, accessible on New Jersey Transit For further information and to register, see the informative convention website at www.ago2011nj.com.

We look forward to seeing you in Morristown, where we will all Celebrate the Past—Forge the Future.

Announcement from the Queens and Nassau Chapters

The Nassau and Queens Chapters of the American Guild of Organists are pleased to announce their first annual joint Scholarship Awards program for current organ students of any age. Two scholarship awards of $800 each are available. Applicants must reside, work, or study in the five boroughs of New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, or Westchester counties.

The live audition is scheduled for Sunday, June 19, 2:00 PM at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in West Hempstead.

The completed application must be received by May 27, 2011.

Click here for an application in pdf form.

If you have any questions please call Matthew Koraus at 516-672-9939.

Members from the Past

  Searle Wright
  Searle Wright

Within hours of posting last month's newsletter, Richard Alexander, John Bishop, David Higgs, Arthur Lawrence, John Stansell, and John van Sant each correctly identified Searle Wright. Indeed, many members (and one non-member!) in the following days correctly identified this icon of our profession. This early photo of Wright is courtesy of Andrew Kotylo, associate organist of Trinity-on-the-Green in New Haven, who has researched the life and works of Searle Wright for his DMA dissertation at Indiana University. Andy provides the following synopsis:

Searle Wright (1918-2004) was Director of Chapel Music at St. Paul's Chapel, Columbia University from 1952 until 1971. Wright's residency in New York began in 1936 when he became a "resident pupil" of T. Tertius Noble at St. Thomas Church. Almost instantly, he began a close connection with the local AGO, first through the now-defunct Headquarters Chapter and then as a founding member of the New York City Chapter in 1951. One might be hard-pressed to find someone who contributed as much in serving the Guild as Wright did during his New York years. As a member of the National Council, he held tenures as Secretary, Librarian, and finally as President; served on countless committees and panels; and co-originated the National Playing Competition and encouraged the development of the Improvisation Competition.

The festival concerts that Wright conducted at St. Paul's Chapel were truly legendary. Three times each year, he would present comprehensive programs featuring the latest choral and instrumental works of Vaughan Williams, Holst, Dello Joio, and others--several of which were American, if not world premieres. Wright's international renown was also spread through his fine sacred choral and organ compositions, his long tenure as a teacher of improvisation and composition at Union Seminary, and his uncanny versatility as an organist which earned him equal respect from his theatre and classical organist colleagues--and also enabled him to build bridges of understanding between these two camps who had formerly looked upon each other with disdain. In spite of his wide-ranging successes, Wright forever remained the epitome of kindness and humility, and with his refined wit and manner of dress, was a class act and true gentleman.

Can you identify this Member from the Past?

. . . . who is still very much with us!

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Electronic Dues Collection and Directory Update for 2011–12

The NYC AGO has implemented a new electronic dues renewal process via www.groupspaces.com/nycago. You can find out more about dues renewal on our website, http://nycago.org/html/membership.html. Current members will receive an email in the next several days inviting them to update their directory information electronically. The email you will receive will also have clickable links to pay your dues via Paypal. You may also download the registration form from the chapter website and mail your dues to the registrar the 'old fashioned way' as well. The dues renewal deadline is July 1st. If you wish to be included in the annual printed Chapter Directory you must renew no later than October 1st.

The next chapter newsletter is the July/August 2011 issue. The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2011. Material may be submitted to Neal Campbell, editor. Nine issues are published through the year on a monthly basis with combined issues for December/January, May/June, and July/August. To make changes in your email address or to subscribe to the e-newsletter, please contact Christopher Jennings, registrar.