Vol .  62,  No . 2
October 2011

In This Issue
From the Dean
Members' Recital and Drinks Reception
Obituary: Robert P. McDermitt (1970–2011)
From the Annual Directory Advertising Coordinator
Members from the Past
Can you Identify this Member from the Past?
Bernadette Hoke & Eric Birk, Piano and Organ Duo
  Keith S. Tóth - Dean, NYC Chapter, American Guild of Organists
  Keith S. Tóth, Dean

From the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

September and the bustle of the opening of a new season have come and gone. The chapter had a wonderful opening of its program year on September 19 with Steve Lawson’s excellent presentation on the New York City Organ Project. Steve has lovingly turned this project into an encyclopedic history of our city’s organs. This project that is readily viewed on our website is a prize possession of our chapter and one that is envied in the organ world. On behalf of the board and the chapter I offer heartfelt thanks to Steve for his continued labors on this worthy project. I would also like to congratulate Sub-Dean David Enlow and his program committee for providing us with a fine cocktail reception at the elegant House of the Redeemer to accompany Steve’s presentation. Bravo to all for a great evening and magnificent start to our season!

2011 is an anniversary year for Ferenc (Franz) Liszt and Félix-Alexandre Guilmant. It is appropriate that the chapter celebrate the anniversaries of these two composers who have greatly contributed to the organ repertoire. On Monday, October 24 at 7:00pm, chapter members will play works of these two composers in a recital on the IV/93 Glück organ at First Presbyterian Church. We are grateful to First Presbyterian Church and their Organist-Choirmaster Dr. William Entriken for hosting us. Please do plan to attend this recital. It promises to be an evening of great organ music played by several of our outstanding members.

Our chapter’s publications, the monthly newsletter and the Annual Directory, have a large readership and are a wonderful vehicle for advertising your programs. I encourage all to visit our chapter website, www.nycago.org, where you can find information about advertising in these publications. Our rates are very reasonable and one of the most effective ways of advertising organ and sacred music events.

In closing, the Board joins with me in sending to all our very best wishes. We look forward to seeing you on October 24 at First Presbyterian Church.

Respectfully yours,

Keith S. Tóth

David Enlow, F.A.G.O.   Arthur Lawrence, D.M.A., A.A.G.O.   Yvonne Sonnenwald-Melin
Keith S. Tóth - Dean, NYC Chapter, American Guild of Organists
Franz Liszt Alexandre Guilmant

Members' Recital and Drinks Reception

Next Chapter Event
Monday, 24 October at 7.00 pm

Liszt & Guilmant Anniversaries

In observance of the birth and death anniversaries of Franz Liszt (1811–1886) and Alexandre Guilmant (1837–1911), respectively, chapter members will play works of those two composers in a recital on the IV/93 Glück organ at The First Presbyterian Church, Fifth Avenue and 12th Street. Dr. William Entriken, Organist & Choirmaster, will be our host.

Performers include: George Davey, Gregg Patruno, David Crean, Craig Symons, William Entriken, Joseph Arndt, Marie Mercier, David Enlow, Pedro D'Aquino, James Kennerley, and Daniel Kirk-Foster.

Admission is free to all NYC Chapter members; $20 general.

St. Thomas Choir School
  Robert P. McDermitt (1970-2011)
  Robert P. McDermitt

Obituary: Robert P. McDermitt (1970–2011)

We are saddened to learn of the death of Robert McDermitt, our colleague and former member of the chapter Executive Board.

Robert was born in Beaver, Pa., and earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Westminster Choir College. Among his church positions he served as assistant organist at Princeton University Chapel, Fellow in Church Music at Christ and St Stephen's Church in New York, assistant at St. Ignatius Loyola, NYC, and associate organist at St. Mary the Virgin, Times Square.

He was also a music teacher for the NYC public schools, and director of the Marsh Singers, a corporate choir.

Robert McCormick, with whom he went to Westminster and with whom he worked at St Mary the Virgin, describes him as:

"Welcoming and hospitable to all. I'd say his character could be summed up by his exchange with a woman in Times Square, a tourist, during an SMV Corpus Christi procession. 'Are you Orthodox' she asked. Robert replied, 'No, honey, we're Episcopalian. Come join us!' And she did — back in the church during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, she looked back to the gallery and gave Robert a friendly wave. He flashed her a big smile and waved back."

The memorial service for Robert McDermitt will be on Saturday, 22nd October at 11am, at Christ & Saint Stephen's Church, 120 West 69th Street, New York City.

From the Annual Directory Advertising Coordinator

The 2011/2012 Directory of the New York City Chapter is now in preparation. If you have advertised in the directory before, you will be receiving information and forms in the mail soon which will enable you to place your ad once again this season. If you have not advertised in the Directory before, perhaps you would consider doing so now. There are approximately 600 professional organists, church musicians and people in related fields who receive this publication, so it is a wonderful way to let your colleagues know about yourself and the programs at your church. If you would like to receive the information packet on how to place an ad, please contact Bernadette Hoke at directoryads@nycago.org. All materials and payment in full must be received by November 15, 2011

Marie Schumacher, organist
Marie Schumacher

Members from the Past

Richard Alexander, Donald McDonald, Paul-Martin Maki, and Frederick Swann each correctly identified Marie Schumacher in last month's issue.

She was a student and disciple of Ernest White whom she also assisted during his celebrated tenure at the Church of St Mary the Virgin. She later married an Episcopal clergyman and served at St Paul's Church in Westfield, New Jersey, and at churches in upstate New York and Washington, D. C., where she oversaw the installation of organs designed by Ernest White in his unique style.

The photo at the right was published in March 1949 issue of T. Scott Buhrman's The American Organist (no relation to the present AGO magazine of the same name) with a caption in his inimitable curmudgeonly style:

"Marie Schumacher, whose ability, not to mention also courage, has placed her on the organbench of that highest of high churches in spite of the unwritten ecclesiastical law that tries to exclude women from these holy precincts--and she holds her own with the best of them all." 

Can You Identify this Member from the Past?

. . . now deceased?
The next chapter newsletter is the November 2011 issue. The deadline for submissions is October 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.