V o l .   6 5 ,   N o . 6
M a r c h   2 0 1 5

In This Issue
From the Dean
Upcoming Events
Memorial Service for Charles Dodsley Walker
Members From the Past
Can You Identify This Member From the Past?
Brooklyn Chapter POE
Northeast Regional Convention in New Haven
AGO Endowment Fund Award

From the Dean


  David Enlow, Dean, NYC Chapter, American Guild of Organists
  David Enlow, Dean

Dear Colleagues,

We had quite a conference this past month, with the large scale of the works of Brahms, Karg-Elert, Reger, and their contemporaries joining the suitably enormous situation of St. John the Divine to celebrate German Romanticism, with performances from students of Paul Jacobs during his master class, and recitals by John Scott and Isabelle Demers (Dr. Scott's being a pre-conference event at St .Thomas's). We also had special lecture topics from Tina Frühauf and Michael Musgrave and tours of the Cathedral's organ and building. Much food for thought!

Without reviewing every moment, suffice it to say all who attended seemed well pleased by the material and inspired by the playing; our 'new' Sub-Dean is to be congratulated on preparing an excellent event, and our thanks go to his program committee also. Special thanks must go to our hosts at the Cathedral, Kent Tritle and Raymond Nagem, who made the day run very smoothly for us in a very complicated and large institution.

Your chapter board also met that day over sandwiches, and we are being as diligent as possible about your chapter business. With AGO examinations, the chapter competition, and more great program events coming up this term, it's full steam ahead for your chapter board members. We noted with some pleasure that chapter membership has actually grown in the past several years.

You will have by now received or will shortly receive the chapter directory. As I mentioned in a special message, there is a slight wrinkle this year, and the position listings are incomplete. If you need help with the instructions in my last message on how to update your position listing for future years, your chapter leadership is ready to help. Just get in touch with Larry Long at registrar@nycago.org or with me at david@davidenlow.com. The directory is a very handsome volume, and I am grateful to all the advertisers for supporting the chapter while reaching out with information on their products and services.

With the hope that March shall truly leave in lamb-like fashion,

Yours truly,

David Enlow

Harold Rosenbaum, conductor   David Enlow FAGO

Upcoming Events

TUESDAY • 24 MARCH 2015 • 7.00 PM

Organ Recital by Scott Dettra

The Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive at 122nd Street
Hosts: Christopher Johnson and Christopher Creaghan

Admission: Free to NYC Chapter members; $20 general

Peter Sykes, who was originally scheduled for this recital, has had to withdraw due to unexpected surgery. We wish him well and hope we can hear him at a future date.

Monday • 1 June 2015 • 6.30 PM

Annual Chapter Dinner

Orsay Restaurant with special guests Canon Vicki Sirota and Dr. Robert Sirota

Orsay, 1057 Lexington Avenue at 75th Street

Beloved members and friends of the NYC Chapter Bob and Vicki Sirota will discuss their latest CD recording collaboration, “Celestial Wind,” and the future of contemporary American organ music. A fascinating topic indeed!

The dinner is subsidized by the NYCAGO and costs $95 for Chapter members and their guests. A three-course dinner will be served with an open wine and soft drinks bar. Orsay is a fantastic restaurant renowned for its French cuisine. As always, these events are an excellent way to unwind at the end of a busy season and to get to know colleagues and friends of the organist community.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Memorial Service for Charles Dodsley Walker

Charles Dodsley Walker

Memorial Service for

Charles Dodsley Walker

Saturday afternoon, March 21 at 3:00

Church of the Heavenly Rest

Fifth Avenue and 90th Street

All are welcome.

The very best, to the best! Yvonne L. Sonnenwald-Melin

Members From the Past

  Charles Dodsley Walker at Christ Church, Cambridge, Mass. (1941)

George Hafemann, Philip Baker, Stephen Danziger, David Higgs, Donald McDonald, Brian Harlow, Robert Vogel, Michael Kaminski, John Van Sant, and Frank Crosio each correctly identified Charles Dodsley Walker (1920-2015) in last month's issue.

The photograph, from 1941, shows Charlie at the console of the then new Aeolian-Skinner organ in Christ Church, Cambridge, Mass., where he was assistant organist during his years as a graduate student at Harvard.

Charles Dodsley Walker, 94, died in New York City on January 17, 2015, following a brief illness. At the time of his death he was the conductor of the Canterbury Choral Society and organist and choirmaster emeritus of the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City, and was the artist-in-residence of Saint Luke’s Parish, Darien, Connecticut.

In one form or another for most of the 20th century—continuing into the 21st —Charles Dodsley Walker was active and prominent in the cultural life of New York City, directing the musical activities for churches, schools, and secular organizations. He was also a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists and was president of the AGO from 1971-1975.

Born on March 16, 1920, in New York City, into a family with roots in Michigan, his family soon moved to Glen Ridge, New Jersey. There, at Christ Church of Bloomfield and Glen Ridge, he first sang in a choir and played the organ. In 1930 he was admitted to the Choir School of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine where he sang in the cathedral choir directed first by Miles Farrow, and shortly after by Norman Coke-Jephcott who was young Charles’ first teacher, with whom he studied organ, harmony, and counterpoint in weekly lessons. Upon graduation Charles went to Trinity School in New York, while continuing his study with Coke-Jephcott. He soon assumed the duties of school organist at Trinity, playing for daily chapel services. As he told The Diapason in a 90th birthday interview in the March 2010 issue “They then brought in a French teacher to play the organ who simply couldn’t play, so I went up to the headmaster and said ‘I can play’ and so I became the school organist.”

Upon the advice of Channing Lefebvre, organist of Trinity Church Wall Street, CDW went to Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. It was his desire to receive a liberal arts degree while still studying music seriously, as his goal was to have a classroom teaching career in addition to being a church musician and organist. So it was that he pursued a major in modern languages with concentration in French, while also studying organ with the college’s organist and music professor, who just happened to be the leading proponent of the French school of organ playing in America at that time: Clarence Watters, a protégé and friend of Marcel Dupré. While at Trinity College CDW held his first church appointment at Stafford Springs Congregational Church in Stafford Springs, Connecticut, about halfway between Hartford and Worcester, Mass.

After graduating from Trinity College he enrolled in graduate school at Harvard University studying musicology, choral conducting, theory, and composition with Walter Piston, Archibald T. Davison, and Tillman Merritt. While at Harvard he was assistant organist of Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, working under W. Judson Rand.

His studies were interrupted by service in the Navy where he served in a number of non-combat capacities. Following military service he completed his master’s degree at Harvard in 1947 and was appointed simultaneously to his first two New York City jobs: organist and choirmaster of St. Thomas Chapel (a chapel of St. Thomas Church, now All Saints Church) and director of music at Trinity School, his alma mater. He was all set to embark upon a secure career as a church musician and teacher in New York when a thoroughly unplanned and felicitous (his word) event occurred: he learned of the opening for organist and choirmaster of the American Cathedral in Paris. The dean of the cathedral was a New Yorker who just happened to be in town, so Charlie called on him and was offered the job on the spot! He took a modest cut in salary to move to Paris, but did so gladly to immerse himself in the French culture and music he had grown to appreciate during his undergraduate study. At the cathedral he succeeded Robert Owen who was in France studying on the GI Bill. While in Paris he made the acquaintance of and collaborated with the leading French organists and musicians of the day, including Pierre Duvauchelle, Nadia Boulanger, Francis Poulenc, a young Ned Rorem, Maurice Duruflé, AndréMarchal, Marcel Dupré, Olivier Messiaen, and Jean Langlais, with whom he and his family remained particularly close. In Paris he also met Janet Hayes, an American soprano studying with Boulanger in France and performing throughout Europe. After a brief courtship they were married in the American Cathedral.

While in Paris CDW was also the director of the American Students’ and Artists’ Center, a comprehensive educational and social organization with nearly a thousand members which was administered under the auspices of the cathedral and its dean. He held this full-time, non-musical job concurrently with his position at the American Cathedral, and it provided a secure living including an apartment. But the demands of this entirely administrative job soon left him looking for a change and, when he heard of the vacancy, he applied for the opening at the Church of the Heavenly Rest on Fifth Avenue and 90th Street in New York. Armed with letters of recommendation from Canon Edward West from St. John the Divine, and the Rev. C. Leslie Glenn and the Rev. Francis Bowes Sayre (later dean of Washington Cathedral), his clergy colleagues from Christ Church in Cambridge, he was offered the position. One of the unsuccessful candidates, from whom CDW unknowingly had asked a reference, was his old teacher, Clarence Watters! Donald Wilkins succeeded CDW at the American Cathedral.

CDW began his duties at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in January 1951, and he founded the Canterbury Choral Society in Advent of the following year. Initially conceived as an adjunct Evensong choir for the church’s music program, the choral society soon adapted the pattern of inviting members of the community to join the church choir by audition for presentations of oratorios with full orchestra at three concerts each year in the Church of the Heavenly Rest. The group continued to operate under the aegis of the church until 1988 when CDW left the church, at which time the choral society became an independent organization, even though they maintain a close relationship with the church and still present most of their concerts there. On special occasions the Canterbury Choral Society did present concerts in other venues such as the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Avery Fisher Hall, and Carnegie Hall, including several performances of the Mahler Eighth Symphony assisted by various choirs of children from area schools and churches.

Concurrent with his position at Heavenly Rest and Canterbury, CDW at various times taught at Kew Forest School, Chapin School—where he was head of the music department for twenty-four years, New York University, Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music, Manhattan School of Music, and SUNY Queens College. In 1969 he co-founded, with his wife Janet Hayes Walker, the York Theatre Company. He directed the Blue Hill Troupe, performing all of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas in fully staged productions several times during his thirty-five-year tenure. He was a founder of the Berkshire Choral Festival in 1982, and was the organist of Lake Delaware Boys Camp for fifty years in the summers from 1940-1990. Given the number of organizations he led and the length of his tenures, it is not an exaggeration to say that Charlie Walker’s sphere of influence reached thousands of persons, young and old.

In what others would call their retirement years, Charlie Walker never lessened his professional activity. From 1988 until 2007 he was the organist and choirmaster of Trinity Church, Southport, Connecticut, directing the church choir and a community chorale, sometimes in joint concerts with the Canterbury Choral Society in New York and Southport. From 2007 until his death he was artist-in-residence at Saint Luke’s Parish in Darien, Connecticut, where he assisted in playing and directing weekly rehearsals and services, and taught young choristers in the RSCM Voice for Life curriculum. During all this time he continued his vigorous leadership of the Canterbury Choral Society, never missing a concert until close to the end of his life.

Janet Hayes Walker died in 1997 and in 2001 Charles Dodsley Walker married Elizabeth Phillips, who survives him, as do his children Susan Starr Walker and Peter Hayes Walker, and three grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, March 21 at 3:00 pm in the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York. Interment will be in the family plot in Niles, Michigan, at a later date.

In a follow-up to his 90th birthday interview, in the June 2010 issue of The Diapason, when asked how he would like to be remembered, CDW said:

“Well, I feel that to be a good church musician, doing your job from Sunday to Sunday, is a very worthy thing to be doing, and if you have the good fortune to be able to develop more elaborate musical programs—that’s good, too. But our job as church musicians is to provide, with the resources available, the best possible music for our church, week by week. I like that.”

Neal Campbell

  Arthur Lawrence

Can You Identify This Member From the Past?

. . . now deceased?

Brooklyn Chapter POE

Our colleagues and friends in the Brooklyn Chapter are sponsoring a Pipe Organ Encounter from July 26-31, and they are seeking support in various forms from fellow chapter members throughout the Northeast Region.

Click here for details. Or be in touch with Eric Birk, POE Director.

Northeast Regional Convention in New Haven

Click here for information about our regional convention June 28-July 1, 2015.

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The next chapter newsletter is the April issue. The deadline for submissions is March 15, 2015. 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 Larry Long, Registrar.