Newsletter and Organ Community News
Ann Hartzler, Past Dean,Portland AGO September 2014
The Boston AGO National Convention (June 23-28) was the first AGO National Convention I have attended. It was a wonderful celebration of Boston's history and tradition, featuring local organ builders Aeolian Skinner, Hook and Hastings, and Charles Fisk, and awesome venues such as the Mother Church of Christian Science, Symphony Hall, and Trinity Church at Copley Square.
I enjoyed the concerts and workshops. Highlights for me were listening to inspiring young organists (Quimby competition winners), the veteran stars (James David Christie) and the new stars (Chelsea Chen, Scott Dettra, and Christian Lane). Also, I loved hearing beautiful choral music by Blue Heron and the Boston City Singers.
I managed to fit in a “Duck Tour” of Boston while I was there. The duck tours consist of bus-boat conveyance that takes you through the city with a guide and then on the Charles River. It was fun being a tourist for a day.
Also, I saw a lot of Portland Chapter members there: Ray Cornils as one of the organizers was everywhere. Also, Elsa Geskus and Clarissa were helping us get to venues and answering questions. Earlier in the spring, Grace Lewis-McLaren had mapped out routes between the hotel and all of the venues. Several Portlanders were involved in presenting workshops: Rebecca and Paul Schnell presented Side Dishes for Worship Services (loved that); David Wallace presented Get to Know Your Instrument (for those who missed it, you have a second chance to hear it in February 2015); Ray Cornils presented Kotzschmar for Kids.
Some of the workshops I attended:
Everything you wanted to know about Arvo Part
Voluntaries for Services
Hammond Organ 101
I learned a lot at the workshops. Paul and Rebecca Schnell’s program Sides Dishes for Whorship Services was particularly enjoyable. The Hammond Organ workshop for me turned out to be worthwhile, because I recently purchased a Hammond Organ. The workshop on Voluntaries for Services was great for me. I heard a lot of short, useful pieces for services, which I have already had a chance to employ in church.
I exchanged information and ‘networked’ with teachers of pre-college students at a “birds of a feather” breakfast. There I gathered a lot of information about teaching organ to middle school and high school students. What a blessing it was to be a part of this wonderful celebration. I hope that everyone has a chance to go to a national or regional AGO convention someday.
PORTLAND ORGAN CRAWL
In 2015, we traveled north to Bangor to meet with our colleagues in the Bangor chapter, to hear about the composer Dudley Buck and to play the wonderful Hook opus 288. This year, the Portland Chapter invited the Bangor Chapter to travel to Portland and sample a few of the organs here.
Located at 307 Congress Street, Portland, ME
A Henry Erben Organ
When the Cathedral was built in 1869, two mechanical action organs (three manual instruments in the rear, two manual instruments in the chancel) were installed by the Henry Erben Company of New York. In 1929 the W. W. Laws Company of Wenham, Massachusetts converted the old chests to electro pneumatic action and made considerable changes in the pipework, under the direction of Rev. Father Finn, and organ architect of note. The new type of action with its new electric consoles made it possible to play both organs from the gallery or the chapel. In 1969, a contract was awarded to the Leighton Organ Service of Yarmouth through the Portland Baldwin Studios to replace completely the wind chests, wind system, and wiring for the organs; refurbish the consoles, and make tonal changes in the Chancel Division to make it more suitable for accompaniment of the choir, now located in the front of the church. The chapel console was relocated and now only controls the chancel division. The main console was taken out of the balcony and relocated to the front of the church where the choir is now and still controls both organs. In 2000, the Faucher Organ Company in Biddeford, ME revamped the organ once again, adding 10 digital stops to the Gallery Division and completely renovating the electronics within the consoles. To date, the organ has 3,336 pipes and 65 pipe ranks/10 complete electronic ranks. The space is vast and affords a lengthy reverberation; however, playing the instrument from a console nearly 300 feet away can be a challenge!
First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
Located @425 Congress Street, Portland, Maine
The First Parish instrument is a relatively new electric action organ that shows the diversity in pipe organ construction and voicing.
State Street Church
Located at 68 State Street. Portland, Maine
A Roosevelt Organ
State Street is a good example (the Roosevelt portions) of a turn-of-the-century (20th) electric action organ. As a close friend of Thomas Edison, Roosevelt was a pioneer in adapting electricity to the pipe organ.
MONTREAL ORGAN FESTIVAL
July 2-7, 2017 by Cheryl Duerr
This regional convention is a special affair because it is being planned jointly between the Northeast District AGO and the Royal Canadian College of Organists. Performers include Roomful of Teeth, Cherry Rhodes, Nathan Laube, Olivier Latry, and the choir of Kings College Cambridge, which will sing an Evensong service each evening of the convention.
Our convention next year coincides with the Montreal Jazz Festival; the 150th Anniversary of Canada, and the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montreal. It is sure to be an exciting week.
Registration is open now.
The deadline for early registration is March 2, 2017. The registration rates are as follows (all prices in Canadian dollars). Today's exchange rate is 0.7573 American dollar to a Canadian dollar, making the member rate before March 2nd approximately $300 US.
Registration Type Before 3/2/17
Member (RCCO/AGO/FQAO) $400
Senior Member (65+) $375
Student (under 25 with valid ID) $200
Daily Rate $150
Daily Rate (July 2) $200
Music for the Small Church Choir
By Rev. Dr. Peter Stickney
(Peter presented "Music for the Small Church Choir" on October 22, 2016 for the Maine Conference of the United Church of Christ. Below are some of the take-aways.)
The overall message is: Do the best with what you have!
I suggest that you think about using:
**Advanced Children's choir literature - it's awesome.
**Create an anthem using a traditional hymn with parts/solos/dynamics designated on the score. Use a hymn from the public domain (with a copyright 1922 or earlier).
The following are collections, choral octavos and free music that I find particularly useful:
*The Oxford Book of Flexible Anthems- ISBN9780193358959 $23.75 (This is a lifesaver!)
*St. James Press (sjmp.com) Online. Reasonably priced and quite a variety.
*The Folk Choir Song Book, Dan Harper. Website: lulu.com/spotlight/fishislandbooks
Books, curriculum, and sheet music relating to liberal religion and spirituality. Developed by Dan Harper for use in progressive congregations.
*Fifty-five Anthems for the Small Church Choir, Peter and Mary-Alice Amidon. Phone: 802-257-1006 Email:
This book, "Fifty-Five Anthems for the Small Church Choir," is geared particularly to choirs in small, mainstream Protestant churches. Many of these were originally arranged or composed for the Guilford (Vermont) Community Church Choir, UCC, which rehearses only for the 40-60 minutes before each Sundayservice, so the anthems are accessible to the typical small church choir with a mix of music readers and non-readers.
*Come Now, O Prince of Peace, Augsburg 978-0-8066-9824-3 Lee/Bankson.
Outstanding in simplicity and accessibility -perfect for Advent. Optional flute (I use a recorder) and windchimes/ finger cymbals.
*The Gift of Love, CF148 Hope Publishing-- Hal Hopson- Two Parts
A lovely text-unison or 2 part. Part 2 can be played by a "C" instrument (violin, flute, etc.)
*Be Present, Spirit of the Lord, PP128 Providence Press Mary Beall-Two Part
A general anthem that is appropriate for many different services.
*Christ Has Broken Down the Wall- CGA1224 Choristers Guild, Mark Miller
Flexible --works for lots of services including Easter. Accessible writing.
*To Crown Him King of Kings, EA-5084 Harold Flammer Inc. Culver. Two Parts
Suitable for "Reign of Christ", Easter, Eastertide.
*Were You There on That Christmas Night?, CF-190, Hope Publishing, Sleeth---Two Part
Suitable for Christmas Eve, Christmastide, Epiphany.
from Edith Galusha,
"Do This in Remembrance of Me" A communion anthem
"Good Morning Lord" A prayer of reassurance
"If You Love Jesus" A Christmas anthem
"Mary Had a Baby" A Christmas anthem (combined adult and children's choirs)
"I Love You Lord" A prayer of dedication
"Stop Worrying" A contemporary adaptation of Matt 6:26-33
"Where the Spirit of the Lord Is" An anthem celebrating church unity
"While We Were Yet Sinners" An expression of thankfulness; appropriate for Lent
A Connecticut composer and pianist, Edie Galusha has centered her life around music and faith. She began writing pieces for her family to sing and this culminated in arranging and performing in churches and eventually recording three albums. The music's lyrics, strong melody lines and full harmonies speak to everyday situations, giving encouragement, thankfulness and praise.
All of her anthems are available free of charge. Please contact Edie at (860) 675-3307 or by e-mail at:firstname.lastname@example.org.