Diane Belcher Recital

Diane Meredith Belcher, concert organist, will perform this Sunday, November 17 at 4:00 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Our chapter is co-sponsoring this exciting performance with Music from St. Stephen’s. Diane is an internationally renowned, multi-faceted classical musician whose virtuoso performances have been described by American Record Guide as “glowingly brilliant, rhythmically vibrant, consistently expressive.” Having made her solo recital debut at age 15, she has since garnered widespread acclaim as organist, organ teacher, choral conductor, church musician, professor of music theory, and composer. A free-will offering will be received to support Music from St. Stephen’s (suggested donation – $10 per person).

Job Opportunity: Derry Presbyterian Church, Hershey

Derry Presbyterian Church in Hershey, PA is seeking a full-time Director of Music Ministries (DMM) who will provide vision and leadership for a music ministry in harmony with our mission statement, “to proclaim God’s word, share God’s love and practice God’s justice and our vision “to be an inquiring, inviting and inclusive Christ centered community.

The DMM plans, produces, and provides music ministry programs that create community, educate listeners, and glorify God. Music is a vital part of our ministry together, so we seek a Director who leads from a place of spirituality rather than performance and who promotes a music ministry that is inclusive of various people, talents, and styles of worship music. We are passionate about mission and desire a missional music ministry that not only leads in worship but also reaches out and ministers to our community.

The Director of Music Ministries (DMM) will be a ministry leader in the church who will report directly to the Pastor (Head of Staff) and work in collaboration with our dedicated staff and congregational volunteer leaders. The DMM will have a passion for sharing their love of God and of music with children, youth, and adults.

Core Responsibilities:

Fosters and creates communication and com­munity within the music ministry of Derry and promotes a philosophy of music in the service of worship.

Provides music and musical leadership at Sunday services and special worship services in partnership with the Sanctuary Choir Director.

Directs and rehearses the handbell choirs, the youth worship ensemble, and other choirs and ensembles as needed.

Collaborates, oversees and supports volunteer directors with resources, encouragement, and communications to ensure all ensembles and choirs have leadership.

Is active in the music and arts community in the Hershey/Harrisburg area and builds rela­tionships with local musicians.

Provides music for member funerals and memorial services and works with pastors and families in the selection of appropriate music for weddings, funerals, and memorial services.

Is responsible for the administration and expenditure of the music ministry budget.

Leads efforts to recruit new choir and ensemble members.

Searches out and is receptive to the intro­duction of diverse musical genres, styles, and programming for worship and concerts.

Qualifications & Characteristics:

Evidence of formal organ and choral training along with demonstrated skills.

A deep love of the musical and spiritual formation of children and youth.

Leadership skills for initiating, developing, and maintaining a high-quality music ministry program.

Demonstrated excellent teaching and communication skills.

Efficient and effective administrator with strong attention to details.

Inclusive of all in the music ministry, regard­less of race, gender, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, and any other characteristic.

Willing to plan and develop new styles of worship; open to new ideas.

Ability to use music notation software such as Finale or Sibelius to arrange music and parts.

Interested? Send a one-page cover letter that speaks to your experience and passion for music ministry, a résumé, and contact informa­tion for three professional references who can attest to your skills and abilities as a choir director and/or organist to Kathy McGrath at kathy.mcgrath09@gmail.com. Applicants are encouraged to submit links to streaming audio or video of their current choir and/or organ playing. For more information go to www.derrypres.org. See News – we are hiring.

Job Opportunity: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Hawley

A part-time organist is needed for St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hawley, PA. The organist is responsible for providing music for one Sunday worship service including special services and holidays. Experience with Lutheran Liturgy and ELW hymnal is preferred, but not required. Appropriate background checks/clearance expected. Salary is negotiable. Please send resumes to:
Attn: Rev. Colleen Cox
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
405 Church Street
Hawley, PA  18428

An Evening of Music History and Prayer at King’s College

King’s College will host an evening of music history and prayer at its new Chapel of Christ the King at the George & Giovita Maffei Family Commons, 29 West North Street, Wilkes-Barre on Friday, November 8 at 7:15 p.m. The program will feature a lecture on the changing fortunes of the pipe organ in a historical context by organist and musicologist Dr. Sarah Davies and conclude with a sung prayer service.

Celebrating the “opening” of a new organ in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Britain and later America with an “organ sermon” was a phenomenon which occasioned both the praise and justification of instrumental music in liturgical worship and an anti-organ backlash in Calvinist tracts, ballads and broadsides. Through sermons and these extra literary publications, Dr. Davies’ lecture will define the instrument not only as an emblem of Anglican and Lutheran confessions but also as a symbol of the oppositional political positions of Puritan Parliamentarians and Scottish Presbyterians.

Back in Britain, a 1752 sermon preached in the provinces on St. Cecilia’s Day, is just one of many examples which, as a vindication of its naysayers, “demonstrated the Antiquity of Musical Instruments in the Publick Worship of God.” At this particular moment of civic pride, the dedicatory service was followed by a ball at a local inn which was “conducted with the greatest decency and harmony” because the church’s new organ, in fact, had been judged “the Compleatest and Perfectest Thing of its Kind.”

Sarah Davies, organist and musicologist, earned her Ph.D. at New York University with a dissertation on the geistlicherepertoire in Renaissance Swiss and German tablatures for lute and organ.  Over the past two decades she has given numerous papers on a variety of topics at musicology, keyboard, iconography, German and interdisciplinary conferences in both Europe and America.  She is also a regular lecturer for the early music series at St. Luke’s in the Village and for Polyhymnia in New York. Her current work includes research into the Toggenburg Hausorgel;  the place of the organ in German Lutheran Kirchenordnung;  and an ongoing project assessing the organ sermon of the 17th and 18th centuries. Her chapter, “Kirchen Cronor Baalsfeldzeichen: The Organ as a Sign of Confessional Identity, 1560-1660,” appeared recently in the book Music and Theology in the European Reformations(University of Leuven, 2019). She is also contributing a chapter entitled “’The Compleatest and Perfectest Thing of its Kind:’ The Organ, Organ Sermon and Organ Tract in Great Britain and America in the 17th and 18th Centuries” for Orgelpredigten in Europa, 1600-1800 (University of Regensburg, 2020).

This free, public program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. For more information, please contact Raphael Micca, Dean, at 570-301-9253 or email dean@agopane.org.

Music Swap on October 18 in Clarks Summit

The Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter of the American Guild of Organists has received entire choral libraries from several churches as well as a collection of organ music. Everything from great choral masterworks to contemporary music is available, free for the taking. The AGO chapter has been trusted to be stewards of this collection and is interested in extending the useful life of the music by making it available to any individual or group that can use it.

On Friday, October 18, we will sponsor a free Music Swap at the First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit, 300 School Street, Clarks Summit from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

This is a prime opportunity to expand your school’s music library at no cost. If anyone has any unwanted/unneeded choral octavos in their current collection and would like to make them available for others to use, feel free to bring them along to the event. Please spread the word!

Join us for Celebrate America: An Independence Day Concert

The First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre, 97 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, will host our “Celebrate America: An Independence Day Concert” on Sunday, June 30 at 7:00 p.m. This free performance is sponsored by our chapter.

The concert will feature performances on the church’s recently restored Schlicker pipe organ, a community choir under the direction of John Vaida, several short readings, thrilling congregational singing, and music for brass and percussion. It is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Raphael Micca at 570-301-9253 or email dean@agopane.org.