The Chapter Executive Committee is composed of the seven officers, who hold two-year terms, and the board members, who hold four-year terms. Officers and board members are elected during biennial elections in the late spring of even-numbered years. Sub-committees are constituted for the planning of chapter events and the direction of special activities, including: Education & Program, Newsletter, Nominations, Placement, Professional Concerns, Regional Competition for Young Organists, and the website. NYCAGO members interested in helping with the work of these committees are encouraged to contact the Dean.

James D. Wetzel, Dean

James D. Wetzel is the director of music and organist of the Parish of Saint Vincent Ferrer and Saint Catherine of Siena. He formerly served as the organist and choirmaster of midtown’s Church of Saint Agnes and as organ scholar of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, where he continues as an assisting organist. Since 2010, James has also been the assistant conductor for the Greenwich Choral Society in Connecticut and from 2011-2016 taught as an adjunct lecturer in Hunter College’s music department. Active as an organist and continuo player, he has performed with the American Symphony Orchestra, the American Classical Orchestra, the Collegiate Chorale, the Oratorio Society of New York, and the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s. He is on the board of the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Catholic Artists Society, is music advisor to the New York Purgatorial Society, and is a member of the Society for Catholic Liturgy and the Saint Wilfrid’s Club for Organists in Manhattan. Born in Pittsburgh, James earned a bachelor’s degree in organ performance from The Juilliard School where he studied with Paul Jacobs and was the first person to graduate with a master’s degree and a professional studies certificate in choral conducting from Manhattan School of Music under Kent Tritle. He also studied privately with Donald K. Fellows and Robert Page and spent a year reading Early Christianity and Apologetics at Columbia University.

David Shuler, Sub-Dean

David Shuler was educated at the Eastman School of Music, Columbia University, and the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. He studied organ with David Craighead and Leonard Raver, and composition with Joseph Schwantner, Samuel Adler and Gunther Schuller. Mr. Shuler is presently Director of Music and Organist at the historic Church of Saint Luke in the Fields in New York City, where he oversees an extensive music program. In addition to an active chorister program, a professional choir sings masses and motets from the fifteenth century to the present day at the principal services of the church throughout the year. The choir is featured in an annual concert series of sacred music, and has made numerous recordings, including Refuge and Strength: Selections from the Psalter of the Book of Common Prayer, released by Church Publishing, the publishing arm of the national Episcopal Church. The Choir’s recent recordings include Missa Reges terrae – Music of Pierre de Manchicourt, and Missa Tu es Petrus – Music of G.P. da Palestrina, both released on the MSR label. Mr. Shuler is a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, and was awarded the certificate at the age of 22, one of the youngest organists to achieve this distinction. He has served on numerous AGO committees, both at the national and local levels, and was
for seven years the Director of the AGO Committee for Professional Certification. He has also served as President of the Association of Anglican Musicians and President of the Anglican Musicians Foundation. Mr. Shuler has been active as a synagogue musician and
has recently completed a 22 year tenure as the Music Director of the Dalton Chorale in Manhattan.


Raymond Nagem, Secretary

Raymond Nagem is Minister of Music at The Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City, and a member of the organ faculty at Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches organ literature, service playing, and improvisation. He completed his D.M.A. at The Juilliard School in 2016, where he was a student of Paul Jacobs.

A native of Medford, Mass., Dr. Nagem attended the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School and began organ lessons there with John Dunn. He earned his B.A. from Yale University in 2009, studying the organ with Thomas Murray, and his M.A. in 2011 from Juilliard.

Prior to his appointment at Brick, he served for eleven years at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City, where he was Associate Director of Music and Organist. His album Divine Splendor, recorded on the Great Organ of Saint John the Divine, is available on the Pro Organo label. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring of 2020, Dr. Nagem began a weekly online recital series from the cathedral, “Tuesdays at 6,” featuring a diverse range of music spanning the entire organ repertoire. In his spare time, he enjoys running, cycling, and crossword puzzles.


Christopher Creaghan, Treasurer

Christopher Creaghan is a New York City based recitalist, accompanist, and church musician. For twelve years he was organist for The Riverside Church where he weekly played in a service webcast live each Sunday on its renowned Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ. He concluded his tenure there as Director of Music overseeing the administration of an extensive multi-choir music program and concert series. He is also the Organist and Choir Director for Temple Israel of New Rochelle.

He has performed recitals on many of New York’s largest instruments including the organs of Saint Bartholomew’s Church, the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, in repertoire spanning the Baroque period to 19th Century French masterworks, orchestral transcriptions, and works of New York City composers. Mr. Creaghan has also appeared often performing large scale choral accompaniments with many of New York’s choral organizations including the Collegiate Chorale, the New York Virtuoso Singers, the Stonewall Chorale, and the Dessoff Choirs. He has played at the Berkshire Choral Festival, and with the American Symphony Orchestra at the Bard Music Festival as well as at Carnegie Hall. He has toured Eastern Europe with the Canticum Novum Singers. Performances with orchestra have included concertos by Poulenc and Handel, and he has been a featured artist with Musica Viva performing Rheinberger’s Concerto in F Major. He has premiered works by Pamela Decker, Bruce Neswick, Gerre Hancock, Stephen Paulus, Iain Quinn, and Nancy Wertsch.

He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with McNeil Robinson and whose works he often performs. An active member of the American Guild of Organists for many years, he is a past Dean of the New York City Chapter. A native of Canada, he has recorded for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He is married to composer and mezzo- soprano Nancy Wertsch


Lena Tharp, Registrar

Lena Tharp was born and educated in Germany. She received her Diploma in Sacred Music from the Hochschule für Musik, Detmold in 2001. She also holds the Cultural Assistant degree, with emphasis in foreign languages, from the European Language School, Dortmund, Germany, and the London Chamber of Commerce Business English Certificate. After holding several church positions in Germany, she was appointed in 2006 the Organist for Saint Paul’s German Evangelical Lutheran Church in New York City, the only remaining church in Manhattan to hold services exclusively in German, and which hosts an historic Jardine Organ from 1897. She has worked as an Assistant Lecturer at Mahanaim College, teaching German diction classes for the music department, and served as a German diction coach under the late John Scott for the Choir of Men and Boys at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue


Andrew Henderson, Auditor

Andrew Henderson is Director of Music & Organist at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, where he oversees an extensive liturgical and choral program, including the Saint Andrew Chorale, the New York City Children’s Chorus, in addition to the Saint Andrew Music Society’s Music on Madison concert series. He also serves on the organ faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, as the organ instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University, and as Associate Organist at New York City’s Temple Emanu-El. Dr. Henderson, a native of Thorold, Ontario, holds degrees in music from Cambridge and Yale Universities, and in 2007 he was awarded the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at The Juilliard School. He was a finalist in the international competition Grand Prix de Chartres in France in 2002, and won first prize in the Royal Canadian College of Organists’ biennial National Organ Playing Competition the following year. Recent performances include organ and continuo playing with the New York Philharmonic, Musica Sacra, Voices of Ascension, The Oratorio Society of New York and The Collegiate Chorale, and solo recitals in Poland, Canada, and throughout the
USA. His performances have been featured on the nationally-syndicated public radio programs Pipedreams and With Heart and Voice. He has been featured as a recitalist and workshop leader at national and regional gatherings of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, the Fellowship of United Methodists in Worship and Music Arts, the Royal
Canadian College of Organists, and the American Guild of Organists. His first solo CD, Andrew Henderson at Saint John’s, Elora, was recorded and released in 2010. A Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists, his teachers have included John Tuttle, Barrie Cabena, David Sanger, Thomas Murray and John Weaver.


Paolo Bordignon, Auditor

Paolo Bordignon is Organist & Choirmaster of Saint Bartholomew’s Church and harpsichordist of the New York Philharmonic. He has appeared with Camerata Pacifica, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, the All‐Star Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Knights, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, ECCO (East Coast Chamber Orchestra), and the Florida Orchestra, among others. He has performed chamber music with Sir James Galway, Itzhak Perlman, Bobby McFerrin, Midori, Renée Fleming, and Wynton Marsalis. Festival appearances include Aspen, Bard, Bay Chamber, Bridgehampton, Jackson Hole, Palm Beach, and Vail. He has appeared on NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, NPR, the CBC, and on Korean and Japanese national television. Paolo has performed organ recitals at venues such as Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue and Saint Eustache (Paris) and he has been a frequent recitalist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including a 10‐recital residency. Born in Toronto of Italian heritage, Paolo attended Saint Michael’s Cathedral Choir School before studying with John Weaver and Lionel Party at the Curtis Institute of Music. He holds ARCT and FRCCO diplomas and earned Master’s and Doctoral degrees in harpsichord from the Juilliard School.


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Class of 2026

Daniel Beckwith

Daniel Beckwith has conducted in many of the major opera houses throughout North America and Europe. With a repertoire that spans the 17th through the 20th centuries, he has been hailed as one of the most exciting conductors of his generation. His Metropolitan Opera debut was with Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 1997; he has conducted throughout the United States, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and South Korea. Mr. Beckwith’s concert appearances include the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, The Juilliard School baroque music festival at Alice Tully Hall; Spain’s Santander Festival, the Hartford Symphony and Carnegie Hall, all with Renée Fleming. As an educator, Daniel Beckwith served as Head of Opera Studies at his alma mater, Westminster
Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey. Mr. Beckwith has been guest conductor at Michigan State University, Florida State University and is presently Artist in Residence/Opera Conductor at SUNY Stony Brook, New York. As a church musician, Mr. Beckwith has served at The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, St. Bartholomew’s Church, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and Church of the Holy Trinity. He is presently Principal Organist at the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola and Associate Organist at Temple Emanu-EL.

Caitlin Dowling

Emily Caitlin Dowling is Director of Music & Liturgy at the Reformed Church of Bronxville, NY. Caitlin received a Bachelor in Piano Performance from Mercer University in 2013 and is an accomplished pianist. Caitlin began playing the organ in 2012 with Cam Bishop and excelled as an organist, winning the Macon AGO Quimby RCYO Competition in 2013 and 2015. Caitlin completed her Master of Music degree in Organ Performance at Mercer University in 2015 as a student of Dr. Jack Mitchener. She served as Assistant Organist/Assistant Music Director from 2013-2015 at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Caitlin moved to Atlanta in 2017 to be the Principal Organist/Music Associate at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church where she stayed for three years and grew the children’s RSCM Chorister program. She is an active performer and has played recitals across the Southeast. Caitlin has been active in the AGO serving on Steering Committee for the 2020 AGO National Convention in Atlanta and as Social Media Coordinator for the Nashville Chapter. Caitlin is currently on the AGOYO National Board and finishing her 9th year of service where she has held numerous roles including Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Southeast region.

James Hopkins

James Hopkins

Based in Brooklyn, Jim Hopkins enjoys playing all keyboard instruments, conducting and singing polyphony, and currently serves as Music Director and Director of the Levy Choir School at All Saints Episcopal Church in Manhattan. He especially enjoys collaborating with other musicians, whether that be in a chamber music context, as an accompanist, or in a rock band. His playing will soon be heard on Fine Companion, an indie-rock / medieval troubadour album born from a collaboration between medieval ensemble Alkemie and experimental medieval-adjacent duo Freelance Nun, which will be released in January.

A native of New York City, his early musical training was at the Pre-College division at the Juilliard School. He later earned degrees from Westminster Choir College and the Cleveland Institute of Music, studying with Todd Wilson and Ken Cowan. When he’s not making music, he enjoys cooking, cycling, sailing, playing Super Smash Bros, and nerding out about coffee and liturgical minutiae.

Maria Rayzvasser

Maria Rayzvasser earned a Master’s degree from Maimonides State Classical Academy in Moscow, Russia. She also studied with Gregory D’Agostino in New York, with Johann Vexo’s in Nancy, France and at Mataro-Barcelona International Organ Academy in Spain. In 2018 Maria appeared as a featured artist in the Voice of America program “Once upon a time in New York”. In 2017-2022 Maria served a five year term as an Ambassador of Friends of the Erben Organ, promoting a historic instrument located in Lower Manhattan. She also serves on the Executive Board of the New York Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Recent performance highlights have included recitals at Saint Ann’s and Holy Trinity Church, Saint John Nepomucene Church in Manhattan and Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral. Maria Rayzvasser is the organist and a music director at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brooklyn.

Michael Shake

Michael Shake became the sixth director of music for the First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York in September 2019. At First Church, he shepherds the musical life of the community as a keyboardist, conductor, and team member, crafting weekly worship and cultivating broader worship and music opportunities for the Church. Michael previously served King of Glory Lutheran Church and Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas; and, Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, hailed by USA TODAY as one of the “ten great places to be enthralled by heavenly music.” He is a solo and collaborative artist, and clinician for regional and national events, including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the American Choral Directors Association, the American Guild of Organists, and the East Texas Pipe Organ Festival. He is a former dean of the Dallas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and currently chairs the Awards Committee for the New York City Chapter. Michael holds degrees in organ and sacred music from Emory University, and Erskine College, where he was the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

Eva Sze

Eva Sze teaches music theory at New York University and is the Director of Music at the Church of Saint Agnes.  She studied composition at the University of Toronto, music theory and analysis at the CUNY Graduate Center, and organ with Dr. William Entriken.  She has presented compositions and research papers at local, national, as well as international conferences.  A holder of the Fellowship Certificate from the AGO, she serves on the national Committee for Professional Certification.

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Class of 2028

Rebecca Ehren

Rebecca Ehren recently began as Music Director at Church of the Epiphany on the Upper East Side. There she leads all aspects of the music program and is overseeing the installation of a new 39-rank instrument by Bigelow (Op. 44).

She returned to New York following her time as Organ Scholar at Washington National Cathedral, where she played for services and concerts reaching thousands of people, worked with the choristers and professional choir, and managed the Midday Music series. Prior to the Cathedral, she completed a Master’s degree in organ from Yale and was Organ Scholar at Saint Michael’s Episcopal Church, while freelancing as a pianist and choral singer. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in piano from Indiana University and an ARCT diploma from Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

Beyond performing, Rebecca has served as Board Chair for C4: The Choral Composer Conductor Collective and holds a second undergraduate degree from Indiana in cognitive science and mathematics/economics.
www.rebeccaehren.com

Alan Montgomery

A native of Vacaville, California, Alan Montgomery is the interim Director of Music and Organist of the Riverside Church in New York, where he plays weekly and oversees the administration of an extensive music program. Previously, Alan served as the Associate Organist at Riverside, starting in April of 2022.

Alan is a graduate of the Juilliard School in New York, where he earned a Master of Music degree while studying with Paul Jacobs. He holds a Bachelor of Music (Honours) degree from the Royal College of Music in London, where he studied with David Graham and Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin. While in London, he also served as Organ Scholar of Saint Mark’s, Hamilton Terrace and Farm Street Church.

While a student in New York, Alan was the Director of Music at the Church of Saint Thomas More on East 89th Street, where he was responsible for the musical direction of over 300 liturgies per year. At Saint Thomas More, Alan directed a professional octet, which sang a wide array of choral repertoire, with a focus on more obscure works of the 20th century.

Jason Roberts

Jason Roberts is Director of Music at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament on the Upper West Side. He has also served at Saint Bartholomew’s Church in midtown and at Saint James’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford, Connecticut. He is a winner of the American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation, and has been a finalist at competitions in Saint Albans and Haarlem. Jason keeps an active recital schedule and enjoys accompanying silent films. He has served on the faculty at Westminster Choir College, and his compositions have been performed at such various venues as Princeton University Chapel in New Jersey, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and Westminster Abbey in London. Dr. Roberts is a graduate of Rice University, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, and the Manhattan School of Music.

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