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In This Issue
From the Dean
Upcoming Chapter Events
Improvisation Symposium with Justin Bischof
Quote of the Month
Editor's Message
Joke of the Month
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
  David Enlow, Dean, NYC Chapter, American Guild of Organists
  David Enlow, Dean

From the Dean

Dear Colleagues,

Here we stand at the edge of another December, a month of many concerts, services, extra music, extra worry, and I hope for us all, some meaningful rest after the work is done. This year, as in years past, many of us will make use of the musical arrangements of Sir David Willcocks, whose death in September prompted many to realize that Christmas, for much of English-speaking Christendom, relies heavily upon his work. Many have commented that our performances and offerings of his carol settings will be poignant this year, knowing as we do that he rests on another shore, and in a greater light.

Every once in a while, I hear a choral album from a group that has decided to forgo the Willcocks in favor of another descant for Adeste Fideles, Forest Green, Mendelssohn, or any of the other Christmas favorites. It’s rather like being driven a roundabout way home by a taxi driver who doesn’t know the City; I wish he had just gone the usual way, and however many interesting sights there are on the new route, I can’t help but think the familiar turns and stops would have been best. But then again, I am an old stick-in-the-mud! In any case, we will be celebrating the genius of the only possible contender for the imaginary title of “Mr. Christmas Music” for many Christmases to come. I hope those of us who use his works to bring joy and hope to congregations this season shall cast a thought aside to his memory, in gratitude.

Your New York City Chapter, by time-honored custom, does not hold any events in December. We are at work on the 2015-2016 directory and election procedures in the background, but the results of those efforts lie in the future. For the moment, it is left to me only to wish you a Merry Christmas, whether you are a Starbucks customer or not, a Happy Chanukah if you are minded to celebrate it, and best wishes for any other observances you may hold. In my own tradition, we await the coming of the Christ child through a quiet, holy, and thoughtful Advent, till the angels’ song rings out in glory and pleads for peace on earth. God help us, let it be so.

Yours truly,

David Enlow

Upcoming Chapter Events

Monday, January 18, 2015: Improvisation Symposium with Justin Bischof at Holy Trinity RC Church. 4:45 PM masterclass; 6:45 PM concert.

Presidents’ Day 2016: An American in Paris: Nineteenth-Century French Organ Music.

Sunday, February 14, 2016 – 5 PM organ concert at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Ray Nagem, organist.

Monday, February 15, 2016 – Conference at Saint Ignatius Loyola. Lectures by Sebastian Glück and Gundula Kreuzer. Masterclass by Matthew Lewis. Performances by Renée Louprette and Jeremy Filsell.

Saturday, March 12, 2016: 3 PM Pedals, Pipes & Pizza at the Church of Saint James, Madison Avenue. 5 PM performance by NYC AGO 2015 Competition winner Colin MacKnight. Loraine Enlow, chair of PP&P committee.

Late May 2016: Season Finale Chapter Dinner. Venue TBA. David Hurd, guest speaker.

Improvisation Symposium with Justin Bischof


Our fifth event of the 2015-16 season takes the form of our annual Improvisation Symposium on Monday, January 18, 2015.

Dr. Justin Bischof will give a masterclass at 4:45 PM, and a solo improvisation concert at 6:45 PM concert. Our venue is the gloriously resonant Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church (Andrew Yeargin, host), and its equally magnificent III/38 Orgues Létourneau, Op. 53 (1997) instrument. To read more about the organ and the church, please click here.

As part of our ongoing commitment to further education to our Chapter membership, Dr. Bischof will give a masterclass as part of the symposium. If you would like to be considered as a participant for the masterclass, please email me by clicking here.

Holy Trinity Church is located at 213 West 82nd Street. Click here for directions and a map.

David Lloyd ben Yaacov Klepper   Arthur Lawrence

Quote of the Month

Jimi Hendrix

"Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music."

—Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)

David Enlow FAGO   Harold Rosenbaum, conductor

Editor's Message

In September of 1957, West Side Story opened at the Winter Garden Theater on Broadway near 50th Street. With music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (his Broadway debut), and choreography by Jerome Robbins, that dramatic and powerful show opened a new chapter in the American Music Theater. Nearly 60 years later, many of the songs have become classics, and the show has remained as powerful as ever. The most recent revival presented 748 performances from 2009 to 2011, selling nearly 1,100,000 tickets.

Wendy and I saw Hamilton a couple weeks ago. A three-hour hip-hop musical on the life of Alexander Hamilton? ... But we were captivated by the brilliant staging and dancing, the clever and often hilarious lyrics, the energetic singing, and the forever changing music. It's not all Hip-Hop. Each character or situation had its own musical genre.

The character development was terrific. Imagine Thomas Jefferson as an African-American man dressed in purple tails, reminiscent of The Artist (Formerly Known as Prince). We agreed that the show was stolen several times by the appearances of (Mad) King George III, who delivered wicked sarcasm about the choice of the American Colonies to forsake the care of the benevolent Royalty ("...so you're going to change leaders every few years? Good luck with that!"), dressed in red velvet and a sparkly crown, mincing about to strains the reminded me of The Beatles' Sargeant Pepper: "Oceans rise, empires fall, we have seen each other through it all. And when push comes to shove, I'll send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love..."

I admit I was skeptical. And there was not one moment in the full three hours when the music was too soft. But somewhat to my surprise, it was spellbinding, as compelling a theater experience as I can remember. It was fresh and new, vibrant and exciting - a multi-cultural experience.

I'm not proposing Hip-Hop for the organ, at least I don't think so! But fresh and new, vibrant and exciting is good. We're in Advent now, with Christmas lurking just over the horizon, days when innovation and change are anathema to many. But let me plant a bug in your ear - how can the pipe organ world move from 2015 to 2016 with an eye for its strong future?

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

Joke of the Month

  No Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Won't You Be My Neighbor?


Alternate Side Parking is as much a part of life in Manhattan as the corner bodega and $17 cocktails. It's a dance peculiar to this city, requiring patience and skill, inciting disbelief from out-of-town visitors. With a honk or two from the sweeper, a dozen motorists put down their bagels and newspapers, and execute that parallel maneuver allowing the sweeper to pass and winding up back in their spaces, safe from fees and fines for three days.

We live on East 9th Street where there are 2-hour meters and no ASP, so I have to go several blocks away to find free parking. I've heard that it's possible to forget where you left your car, so I write a note in iCal with the street address, and a reminder for the time of the next dance.

Last week, I parked at 313 East 9th Street, just east of 2nd Avenue, and as I recorded the address, I noticed a plaque on the wall of the house informing us that the Argentine composer Astor Piazzola (1921-1992) lived there until 1936, when he was fifteen years old. According to his biography (click on the photo to see the link...) he was an imp, expelled from Public School 92, and continuing at a school on 11th Street at 2nd Avenue run by Salesian Nuns. He was athletic as well as musical, and took his Bandoneon to school "to impress the girls."

It's fun to think of a teenaged Piazzola laying the groundwork for his beguiling music while chasing girls a couple blocks from here. Maybe we should call the ASP dance a Tango.

I wondered what other cultural icons might have lived on our street, so I Googled about a bit and wasn't disappointed. William Sydney Porter (aka O. Henry) wrote 381 short stories while living at 45 East 9th, just a few numbers from us, and Maurice Sendak wrote Where the Wild Things Are in his home at 27 West 9th Street. E. B. White lived on Washington Mews, an attractive little alley that runs between University and Fifth Avenues a half block south of East 9th.

Great creative minds have lived in virtually every neighborhood of this city. There's inspiration waiting at every street corner. Don't block the box - think outside it!

The newsletter is published monthly, with the exception of combined issues for December/January, May/June, and July/August. The deadling for submissions is the 15th of the month prior. Send materials to newsletter@nycago.org. Questions regarding email addresses should be sent to Larry J. Long, Registrar.

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