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A p r i l   2 0 1 5

In This Issue
From the Dean
Next Chapter Event
From the Treasurer: Thanks to Members Who Contributed
From the Registrar: News From AGO Headquarters Regarding Dues
Members from the Past
Can You Identify This Member From the Past?
Brooklyn Chapter POE
Northeast Regional Convention in New Haven
In Memoriam: John Obetz
AGO Endowment Fund Award

From the Dean

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

Dear Colleagues,

In the chapter’s life, we have just heard the “au revoir” recital at Riverside, as the chancel portion of the organ there is to be covered for window work for some 18 months. The concert was given by the excellent Scott Dettra. Mr. Dettra stepped in on short notice for an injured Peter Sykes; I hope to hear Peter Sykes, a great performer, in a future year, and I know we all wish him the best for recovery. His condition is a reminder that we must all take care in the ice and snow, and generally, as our delicate playing apparatus of flesh and bone is nothing against ice, stone, and concrete.

The final chapter event of the year is coming, with our old friends and colleagues Vicki and Bob Sirota, who are discussing not only their latest recording endeavor but also the future of contemporary organ music, which concerns us all. The dinner will also provide a chance to catch up with your friends and colleagues from nearby and farther afield. Some of us are lucky that Orsay is our local French bistro; if you don’t get the opportunity to eat or drink there often, take the opportunity and treat yourself to an excellent meal. More information is included later in this issue.

Many of us are in the midst of Holy Week and its attendant observances. It is a time when there are, as Peter Shaffer has the Kaiser say in Amadeus, “too many notes.” May all of your pistons fire, may all of your singers behave, and may your ciphers hold their tongues.

Yours truly,

David Enlow

  Arthur Lawrence

Next Chapter Event

Vicki and Bob Sirota

MONDAY • 1 JUNE 2015 • 6.30 PM

Chapter Dinner with Vicki and Bob Sirota

Orsay Restaurant
1057 Lexington Avenue at 75th Street

Cost: $95 per person
Limited to 60 guests.

To reserve your place click here, or advance tickets may be purchased online here.

The dinner is subsidized by the NYC AGO Chapter and costs $95 for 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. After dinner, 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!

David Enlow FAGO   Harold Rosenbaum, conductor

From the Treasurer: Thanks to Members Who Contributed

  Chris Babcock, Treasurer
  Chris Babcock, Treasurer

The Executive Board wishes to express thanks to those who contributed very generously when renewing their membership:


Alan Barthel, Justin Bischof, W. Michael Brittenback, Marianne Decker, David Klepper, William Kring, Arthur Lawrence, Darren Motise, Richard Pilch


Louise Basbas, John Byrne, Vivian Fletcher, Michael Goodman, James Kennerley, Daniel Kirk-Foster, Deanna Muro, Kent Tritle


William Maul, Lawrence Trupiano

Some of the above and others included a gift to Pipedreams. $540 will be sent to WQXR to encourage continued local broadcast. The Chapter's previous support has been gratefully acknowledged by management there.

A note of special thanks to dual member and most recent National Secretary Lois Toeppner. She was the first to respond to our 2015 appeal!

Christopher Babcock, Treasurer

From the Registrar: News From AGO Headquarters Regarding Dues

  Larry J. Long, Registrar
  Larry J. Long, Registrar

News from National AGO Headquarters Regarding 2015-16 Dues Increase and Rolling Membership Year

There are a couple of changes in how National AGO is handling memberships beginning with the 2015-16 program year: new dues rates and rolling membership year.

Current members will receive renewal notices shortly from the national office.

The AGO National Council has established new dues rates for all dues categories. The new rates will appear on the April 1 renewal notices that AGO Headquarters will send to current chapter members renewing for the 2015-2016 membership year. These rates are:

Regular $100

Special $75

Partner $75

Student $40

Dual $39

Student Dual $13

The new dues rates will take effect on April 1 for those who join the Guild for the first time either as Chapter members or as Independent members, or who reinstate as either Chapter members or Independent members after their memberships have lapsed.

The National Council has also authorized the National Headquarters to initiate a “rolling membership year” for those who are joining a chapter for the first time or reinstating after their membership has lapsed. This means that a member’s expiration date will be one year from the date on which the member joined; i.e., on the anniversary of the join date. Under this plan, all current chapter members will retain their July 1-June 30 membership year as long as they renew by September 1. For new and reinstating members, however, the membership year will commence on the first of the month in which the member joins the Guild.

For instance, if you join the Guild on September 1, you will have twelve months of membership and won’t need to renew until just prior to the following September 1.

Effective retroactively to November 1, 2014, AGO National Headquarters implemented the anniversary date membership for all new members and those who reinstated their memberships since that date. These individuals will not have to wait until July 1, 2015 to begin to receive a full year of membership benefits. Instead, since November 1, their membership year began in the month in which they joined or reinstated.

Feel free to email Larry J. Long, Registrar of the NYC Chapter if you have any questions.

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

Members From the Past

  Richard Torrence
  Richard Torrence

Congratulations and thanks to Steven Frank, Bishop John O'Hara, Fred Swann, and Cherry Rhodes who each correctly identified Richard Torrence in last month's issue.

In his identifying response Bishop O'Hara says:

"Richard Torrence passed away four years ago, on February 7, 2011. His interests were varied and wide ranging, spanning the globe. He is best remembered as the founder of the Richard Torrence Management in the early 1960s. Some of the world's finest concert organists were represented by his agency, including . . . Pierre Cochereau, Ted Alan Worth, Richard Morris, Joyce Jones, Donald Dumler . . . and the legendary Virgil Fox, whose career Torrence guided in Fox's later years at The Riverside Church and beyond into the late 1970s. Richard had a tremendous impact on the instrument we love."

For a complete biography and other news articles about Richard, including an account in The New York Times of his work in Russia and his association with Vladimir Putin, with whom he worked closely when Putin was First Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg, click on the following links:



Can You Identify This Member From the Past?

. .

. . . now deceased?

Brooklyn Chapter POE

Grace Church - Brooklyn Heights, NYC
  Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights

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.

In Memoriam: John Obetz

We are saddened to learn of the death of our colleague, and NYC Chapter Dual Member, John Obetz. A copy of his obituary in the Kansas City Star may be found here.

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The next chapter newsletter is the May/June issue. The deadline for submissions is the April 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.