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).

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.

Join us for a Music Swap at Church of Christ Uniting on May 31

Please plan to join us for  a Music Swap  at the Church of Christ Uniting, 190 South Sprague Avenue, Kingston on Friday, May 31 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

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

Everyone is strongly encouraged to take as much or as little music as the individual groups could use. This is a prime opportunity to expand your choral group’s library free of charge. If anyone has any unwanted/unneeded choral octavos and would like to make them available for others to use, feel free to bring them along to the event. Someone, somewhere can probably use your no-longer-needed music.

Join us for our Fall Gathering in Wilkes-Barre

You are cordially invited to attend our chapter’s Fall Gathering at St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception, 134 South Washington Street, Wilkes-Barre, on Saturday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m. The program will begin with Vespers followed by a buffet-style dinner and the installation of officers.
The program is open to the public: please spread the word and invite your pastor, colleagues, and any other interested persons. Tickets are $12 for AGO and NPM members and $15 for non-members. Payment will be accepted at the door, but reservations are required.
Please R.S.V.P. by Friday, September 21 by calling 570-301-9253 or email dean@agopane.org.

Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza is coming to Scranton!

The pipe organ has been called the “King of Instruments.” The sounds of the pipe organ have inspired worshippers for centuries. Great composers have written countless works for the instrument. Pipe organs have been installed in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls and theaters. The American Guild of Organists is passionate about the pipe organ and we want to share our love with a new generation.

Join us on Sunday, October 14 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Scranton from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. for Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza. Participants will receive a behind the scenes tour of the instrument in addition to a chance to play it themselves (and eat some pizza!). All are welcome to attend. Students currently studying the piano are encouraged to bring a piece to play on the organ.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR PEDALS, PIPES, AND PIZZA!