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In This Issue
From the Dean
Upcoming Chapter Events
2016 Presidents’ Day Conference: "An American in Paris: Nineteenth-Century French organ music"
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,

We are in between signature events: the improvisation symposium has just happened, and we are fast approaching the Presidents' Day conference.

Justin Bischof is known to many of you as an improvisor, but he also showed his teaching skills at our January event. Thank you to Sub-Dean James Kennerley, our host, board member Andrew Yeargin, and our volunteer improvisation students for their excellent work in making another successful improvisation event. Attendance was terrific, and confirms your continuing interest in this topic.

Presidents' Day brings the chapter's crowning event of the program year, our conference. This year, French music is the theme, and a host of wonderful scholars and performers will be on hand to share and to inspire. If you haven't yet taken advantage of one of our programs this season, let this be the one. If you have, then you know we are having a great year and are looking forward to more of the same. Please give your attention to the notice later in this newsletter.

In the background, your awards committee, nominating committee, Millennium Fund trustees, and directory task force are especially hard at work lately, caring for the chapter's affairs. The full board will meet on Presidents' Day to deal with several items. It's a busy time, with many good chapter projects underway!

After an overheated Christmas, let's enjoy some midwinter music and visiting with friends and colleagues!

Yours truly,

David Enlow

Upcoming Chapter Events

Presidents’ Day 2016: An American in Paris: Nineteenth-Century French Organ Music.
Sunday, February 14, 2016 and Monday, February 15, 2016.

Saturday, March 12, 2016: 3 PM Pedals, Pipes & Pizza at Saint James' Church, 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.

2016 Presidents’ Day Conference: "An American in Paris: Nineteenth-Century French organ music"

The crowning glory of the Chapter’s program season is its Presidents’ Day Conference. This year’s conference, An American in Paris: Nineteenth-Century French organ music, will be somewhat spectacular. We will explore the genesis of the French Romantic organ, and the music that it inspired, penned by the most famous composers in the instrument’s history: Franck, Widor, Vierne, and their contemporaries. Perhaps most intriguingly, we will explore the relationship to European culture of the same period, and how the music relates, among other things, to the tam-tam!

The festivities will begin on Sunday, February 14 at 5 PM with a concert by Raymond Nagem at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Mr. Nagem, Associate Organist at Saint John the Divine and C. V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at The Juilliard School, plays two great "Gothic" works in the world's largest Gothic cathedral. Charles-Marie Widor and Léon Boëllmann responded to the Gothic Revival movement in late nineteenth-century Paris by writing music that embodied the craggy lines and serene beauty of medieval architecture. The Symphonie gothique of Widor and the Suite gothique of Boëllmann find a perfect home in Saint John the Divine with its magnificent Aeolian-Skinner organ. Admission is free for this event.

The conference will then continue on Monday, February 15 at the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, focusing on its French-speaking Mander organ renowned for the performance of French Romantic organ music. A catered breakfast at 9:30 AM is followed by an exploration of the organ’s colors at 10 AM by renowned organist and former assistant at Saint Ignatius, Renée Anne Louprette. Professor Gundula Kreutzer, a lecturer at Yale University, will give our first lecture at 10:45 with a focus on nineteenth-century France, German, and opera, will explore the sound worlds of the conference. At 1:30 PM (following lunch on your own), Dr. Matthew Lewis, a former student of Marie-Madeleine Duruflé, will give a Masterclass. Organbuilder Sebastian Glück considers cooperative development amongst organbuilders, composers, and performers during the transition from the late Baroque and Classical periods to the height of Romanticism in France at 3:30 PM. The conference is rounded out by a performance by virtuoso Jeremy Filsell at 5 PM, whose program will include works by Franck, Vierne, Cochereau, and Joséphine Boulay, a blind student of César Franck and the first woman to win an organ prize at the Paris Conservatoire.

We are still welcoming applicants for the Masterclass – please contact me by clicking here if you are interested.

We are also accepting advertisements for the program booklet, an excellent way of reaching out to others in our field of interest. The rates are as follows for black and white advertisements: a Full page (8.5x11) for $115; Half page (8.5x5.5) for $60); Business Card for $40. Three full-color ads are available for $250 apiece. Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to place an ad by clicking here.

Suffice to say, it will be spectacular. We hope to see you there!

David Lloyd ben Yaacov Klepper   Arthur Lawrence

Quote of the Month

"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."

– Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977)

David Enlow FAGO   Harold Rosenbaum, conductor

Editor's Message

John Bishop, organbuilder  

The promise of youth.

Last week, I attended the graduate recital of Colin MacKnight, organ scholar at Church of the Resurrection, and Masters candidate at Juilliard. Dean David Enlow has brought a succession of thrilling performers to play concerts there, and my colleague organbuilders know how rewarding it is to hear an outstanding performance on "your" organ. There was something extra special about this one. Colin's parents were in the audience, bursting with pride, and his fellow students were there to support and congratulate him.

Colin has learned his way around the instrument through scores of weekends of wonderful service music, and his recital was a delight. I celebrate all of the talented young people among us who are appreciating the pipe organ, honoring its heritage, and taking it to new places through their diligence and creativity. We are fortunate to have such talent and enthusiasm among us. They are the future of the pipe organ, and they deserve our admiration.

After the blizzard, a flurry.

Sure was a big storm. And I missed it. I had meetings in Portland, Maine with the board of Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ (I'm chair of the board's Organ Committee), so I packed Goldendoodle Farley into the car and headed east. Most winter storms that pummel New York City follow the coast past Boston and Maine before crossing Nova Scotia and heading out to sea. But this one was different. While Wendy reported that she couldn't see across East 9th Street from our apartment, I was enjoying sunshine and dramatic starry nights.

What flurry? The flurry of posts on social media from organists throughout the region, reporting about loyal choir members braving the maelstrom, and about wonderful music happening to reward the stalwart parishioners who braved the elements. Years ago, I was Director of Music at Centre Congregational Church in Lynnfield, Massachusetts, and I remember a Sunday when there were more choir members in the stalls than parishioners in the pews. As the service progressed I was proud of the choir, but was dumbfounded after the service at the reactions from the parishioners - how much they appreciated the effort, how much the music meant to them that day. I know that those of you who led music "as usual" the day after the storm were giving a huge gift to the people of your churches.

We often use the word "service" casually. It's the name of a gig. We might play a concert, a dance, a party, or a service. But think of the word's common meaning - the act of assistance; helping or doing work for someone. We're in the service of the church, in the service of the Lord. Servants, well done. (I also loved the snowball photos!)

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?

  St. Joseph's new Létourneau organ. (Click on photo for stoplist)

St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village is at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Washington Place, a block west of Washington Square Park. St. Joseph's is home to the New York University Catholic Fellowship and the Newman Catholic Fellowship for NYU undergraduates. The parish was founded by Bishop John Dubois in 1829, and is the sixth oldest still worshipping in the Archdiocese of New York. Dating from 1833, it's the oldest Roman Catholic building in Manhattan.

You can visit the church's website at:


Kyler Brown left St. Jean Baptiste Catholic Church (Lexington Avenue and East 76th) to start his tenure at St. Joseph's on December 1, 2015, where he presides over the brand-new 3-manual organ by Orgues Létourneau. (The third manual is permanent home to the Festival Trumpet you see at the top of the case.) Kyler leads an eight-voice professional choir that sings at the 11:30 Mass on Sunday mornings.

It's important to mention that the Létourneau organ at St. Joseph's is the third new mechanical-action organ in the neighborhood, joining the Pascal Quoirin instrument at Church of the Ascension (Fifth Avenue and 11th), and the Taylor & Boody at Grace Church (Broadway and 10th). Is there another five-block span anywhere in the world that claims three new pipe organs in five years?

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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