Don’t miss the world renowned brass ensemble “Harmonic Brass” perform with chapter member Mark Laubach tomorrow at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wilkes-Barre. The “Powerplay” organ and brass concert begins at 7:30 PM and tickets are available at the door. Hope to see you there!


Chapter marks 9/11 anniversary with interfaith service

The Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter of the American Guild of Organists in cooperation with the Greater Pittston Ministerium sponsored an Interfaith Service and Musical Tribute marking the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The service took place at St. John the Evangelist Church in Pittston. Several chapter members performed during the service, which also featured scripture readings from the Talmud, Bible, and Qu’uran, contemporary reflections on September 11, reflective silence, and congregational hymns. A collection was taken for Tuesday’s Children, a charity which “provides support for the families of 9/11 and others impacted by global terrorism.”

Organ selections included an improvisation on Paul Manz’s “God of Grace,” Buxtehude’s “Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist,” a setting of the “Shalom Aleichem,” “Andante sostenuto” from Widor’s “Symphonie Gothique,” “Poem of Peace” by Langlais, “Be Still, My Soul,” by Sibelius, and an arrangement of “God of Our Fathers.” Members of the “Every Voice Choir” under the direction of Joanne Austin performed two anthems: “Peace Be With You” and “A Prayer for Our Time.” Special thanks to board member Mike Sowa for coordinating the service, Monsignor John Bendik, host pastor, and Joe Holden, host organist.

An open letter to those affected by recent flooding

Dear AGO Colleagues and Friends:

Northeastern Pennsylvania has had a long history of dealing with floods. Some of our long-time members remember the Hurricane Agnes flooding in 1972, not to mention flooding scares in years since, including 1996 and 2006. Perhaps some even remember the 1936 flood! Now ALL OF US have experienced the anxiety and heartbreak that has come with this most recent flooding episode. Thankfully, many of us have been spared damage to our homes, churches, schools, or businesses. But others of us have not been so fortunate. Our hearts go out to all those among us who have suffered losses from this disaster. I know all of us will want to come together as an AGO Chapter to support and assist those in need.

If you have experienced any loss, please let us know so that we might reach out and be of help in some way. Those of us who were here and lived through the horror of Agnes in 1972 will remember the incredible response from other AGO chapters across the country in sending money, music, and vestments to support our members and their churches in recovery from losses. Many will remember the “flood library” of choral music that was maintained for many years in the Choir Room at First Presbyterian Church in Wilkes-Barre. Multiple copies of choral octavos were available to AGO members’ church choirs who had lost most or all of their own collections of choral music. Indeed, there was assistance also from within the chapter; churches and musicians on higher ground were able to provide help to those individuals and parishes in the flood zone. In short, people pulled together to assist each other in a time of utter devastation.

Thankfully, it appears that, while the damage from this catastrophe is considerable and, in some cases, even worse than what was experienced in 1972, there are fewer people affected, thanks to the improved dike and levy system protecting Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, and Forty Fort. But our hearts must surely go out to those of our colleagues who have suffered loss.

Once again, if you have sustained loss at home or church, please let us know. Likewise, if you can offer help in some way, let us know of this as well. We are here for each other.

As we return to our work as music ministers, let us be mindful of the special roles we have to play in bringing comfort and hope to those in need. May we all recommit ourselves to our profession with renewed purpose, keeping in mind these powerful and appropriate words from the much loved hymn, “How firm a foundation …”

“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.” [K. in John Rippon’s Selection, 1787]

God bless and keep you and yours!

Faithfully yours,

Kay Ten Eyck, Dean
Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter, American Guild of Organists

Explore New York City with the Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter!

Join members of the Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter, AGO for a tour of five New York City pipe organs on Saturday, September 24. Kyler Brown, Director of Music Ministries & Organist at St. Jean Baptiste, New York City will be our guide for the day.

The tour will depart from the Park & Ride on Oak Street in Pittston at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 24. We will be travelling on a 12 passenger van that will be with us throughout the day for travelling to the various venues. The cost of the van transportation is $55.00 per person. Reservations may be made by sending a non-refundable check (made out to PA Northeast Chapter AGO) in this amount to:

Robert Reynolds
1598 Layton Road
Scott Twp, PA 18447

We will be stopping for lunch midway through the day and are scheduled to leave the city around 6:00 p.m. We may also stop for dinner on the way back to Pittston. Organists may want to bring music and shoes in the event there is the opportunity to do some playing. Reservations must be made by September 15.