Upcoming Lenten recitals around our region

Since the 1920s, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Pro-Cathedral, 35 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, has offered free recitals prior to the noon Community Lenten Service every Wednesday during Lent. A simple soup and sandwich lunch is available immediately following the services in the auditorium for $4.00. The series began on Ash Wednesday and continues through Holy Week. It is sponsored by the Downtown Ministerium of Wilkes-Barre. For more information and a complete list of performers and preachers, please visit St. Stephen’s parish website.
St. Stephen’s will also have the honor of hosting the Treble Choristers of the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys in a concert on Tuesday, March 6, at 7:00 p.m. Many consider the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys to be the leading ensemble in the Anglican choral tradition in the United States, so it is a rare treat for them to visit our region! The choristers will be directed by Daniel Hyde, Organist and Master of the Choristers, and will be accompanied by Benjamin Sheen, Assistant Organist. The concert is free; a free-will offering will be taken.
Lastly, First Presbyterian Church, 3231 Tilghman Street, Allentown will be hosting a series of Lenten recitals on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m. This coming Sunday will feature our own chapter member and Past Dean Canon Mark Laubach and on Sunday, March 25, First Presbyterian will welcome Nathan Laube, Assistant Professor of Organ, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY. Here is the complete list of recitalists:
Feb 18. Mark Laubach, Organist/Choirmaster, St. Stephen’s Pro-Cathedral, Wilkes-Barre, PA. Past Dean, Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter AGO
Feb 25. Stephen Williams, Organist/Director of Music, Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, PA. Past Dean, Lehigh Valley Chapter AGO
Mar 4. Gavin Black, harpsichord, Director, Princeton Early Keyboard Center, Princeton, NJ.
Mar 11. Adam Bergstresser, Organist/Director of Music, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Doylestown, PA.
Mar 18. Thomas Dressler, Organist/Choral Director, First Presbyterian Church, Allentown, PA. Dean, Lehigh Valley Chapter AGO
Mar 25. Nathan Laube, Assistant Professor of Organ, Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY
Please spread the word about these wonderful recitals! Have a blessed Lent!

Mark Laubach to perform at Jerusalem Lutheran, Schuylkill Haven

Canon Mark Laubach will be giving a recital at Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 252 Dock Street, Schuylkill Haven, on Sunday, January 21 at 3:00 p.m. The recital will feature works by Bach, Brahms, Manz, Searle Wright, Otto Nicolai (transcribed by Liszt), Mendelssohn, Gigout, Stephen Paulus, and Vierne performed on the church’s beautifully voiced 1995 Schantz pipe organ. Please spread the word about this fantastic performance!

Allegro con Fuoco keyboard duo to perform in Bloomsburg

Allegro con Fuoco keyboard duo, featuring chapter member Jordan Markham and Tyler Canonico, will perform at Wesley United Methodist Church in Bloomsburg as part of the church’s Cornerstone Concert Series on Friday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m. The program will include works for four hand piano, four hands organ, piano and organ duets, Pietro Yon’s Concerto Gregoriano, and more. The concert is free and open to the public; a reception will follow. Please spread the word!

Richard Elliot to perform at St. Luke’s, Scranton on Friday

Richard Elliot, principal organist of the Mormon Tabernacle, will perform the rededication concert of the newly refurbished 1964 M. P. Möller pipe organ at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 232 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, on Friday (January 5) at 7:00 p.m. A gala reception will follow. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.
Richard Elliot began his career as the Mormon Tabernacle organist in 1991 after he worked as assistant professor of organ at Brigham Young University. He studied at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University, Catholic University of America, the Curtis Institute of Music, and the Eastman School of Music.
Congratulations to Mother Rebecca Barnes, Maria Zengion, and to everyone at St. Luke’s Church in Scranton on this momentous occasion in the life of their parish.

Advent and Christmas Events

Now that Christmas is just one month away, there are a number of wonderful musical events on the horizon.

First, on Saturday, December 9 at 2:00 p.m. Michael Seroka, organist, and members of St. Joseph’s Parish Choir will present “Joyful Music of Advent and Christmas” at St. Joseph’s Church, 526 North Street, Jim Thorpe. The program will include organ and choral works by J.S. Bach, Bedard, Dandrieu, Krebs, and others performed on the church’s Austin Organ (built 1917 and rebuilt 1964 by Fritzsche). A flyer with more information is attached.

On Wednesday, December 13 at 6:00 p.m. St. Stephen’s Church, Pro-Cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, Wilkes-Barre, will hold its annual Advent Lessons and Carols Service featuring music by Palestrina, Charles wood, Robert Twynham, Orlando Gibbons, Herbert Howells, and others under the direction of organist and choirmaster Canon Mark Laubach and guest conductor Dr. Rick Hoffenberg. This year’s music will feature a repeat performance of the new setting of the Magnificat which the church commissioned from composer Robert Nicholls for their 200th Anniversary and premiered a few weeks ago on October 29.

On Wednesday, December 13 at 7:00 p.m., students from The Lutheran Academy in Scranton under the direction of Carsten Bjornstad will present a Festival of Lessons and Carols at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 238 Reese Street, Scranton.

On Sunday, December 17 at 6:00 p.m. First United Methodist Church, Shickshinny, will hold its annual Lessons and Carols service featuring the Shickshinny Area Community Choir and the choir of the First Reformed United Church of Christ, Berwick as well as congregational carol singing. A reception will follow in the church’s social hall.

Do the hustle and bustle of the season have you at your wits’ end? Recharge your spirits by joining the Wyoming Valley Band, Conductor Donald Williams, and guest organist Canon Mark Laubach for an evening of traditional holiday fare on Tuesday, December 19 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Church, Pro-Cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem in Wilkes-Barre. Exciting works for concert band by various composers, including popular Christmas carols and songs, will highlight the program. A reception will follow. Admission will be free, though concert goers are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and canned goods to help stock St. Stephen’s Food Pantry.

Fall Gathering at the Lutheran Ministry Center

Our Fall Gathering was a beautiful time of fellowship, prayer, and learning. The evening began with a Service of Light featuring The Lutheran Academy choir and a message from Pastor Kristian Bjornstad. Dinner and fellowship followed and the evening concluded with a fascinating presentation by organist, musicologist, and chapter member Dr. Sarah Davies on “The Organ as a Sign of Confession in the First and Second Reformations, 1524-1624.” Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Gathering and to all who helped make it possible! A special thanks to our friends at Peace Lutheran Church and The Lutheran Academy for being such gracious hosts.

Hughestown pipe organ celebrates 100th birthday

Congratulations to the people of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Hughestown as they celebrate the one hundredth birthday of their M.P. Möller pipe organ, Opus 2295. Chapter member and past Dean Michael Sowa presented a beautiful recital this afternoon marking the occasion with works by Bach, Buxtehude, Vierne, Young, and others in addition to an improvisation on a submitted hymn tune. The instrument at St. Peter’s was among the first Möller organ installations in the Wyoming Valley and it has been expanded and impeccably maintained over the years. It currently has nine ranks and 578 pipes.

Estey Reed Organ to be featured in recital at St. Luke’s

Justin Hartz will perform a recital on an Estey Reed Organ Model “T”, 2 manuals and pedal c. 1915 on Friday, October 27, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 232 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton. The Estey Reed Organ, currently in use at St. Luke’s is on loan to the church through the generosity of the Masonic Temple and Scottish Rite Cathedral Association of Scranton and its affiliated lodges and members.

Works will include compositions for organ by Byrd, Zundel, Vierne, Liszt, Frank, and an American composition “The Thunderstorm” by Thomas Philando Ryder.

Justin Hartz, a native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was educated at Westminster Choir College and earned his M.M from the Juilliard School. He has been an E.Power Bigs Fellow of the Organ Historical Society, and since 1989 has been playing popular Christmas Carol sing-alongs and recitals on the 10,010 Aeolian pipe organ at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. His recordings include “HARTZ AND FLOWERS”, recorded at Longwood Gardens, and “DECK THE HALLS”, recorded on the E.M. Skinner pipe organ at Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina.

Having a life-long interest in historical keyboard instruments, Justin Hartz enjoys selecting music which displays the unique characteristics of each one. Mr. Hartz’s interest in organs by the Estey Organ Company goes back to his high school years, when he purchased a two manual and pedal reed organ similar to the one to be featured in this performance.

The Organ as a Sign of Confession

The Lutheran Ministry Center, 1546 Monsey Avenue, Scranton, will host the Fall Gathering of the Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter, American Guild of Organists on Friday, November 17 at 6:00 p.m. The program will begin with Vespers followed by a buffet-style dinner and a lecture on “The Organ as a Sign of Confession in the First and Second Reformations, 1524-1624” presented by Dr. Sarah Davies, organist and musicologist.

Dr. Davies earned her Ph.D. at New York University with a dissertation on the geistliche repertoire in Renaissance Swiss and German tablatures for lute and organ (2010); her Masters thesis at Rutgers University was on William Byrd’s “My Ladye Nevells Booke” of 1591 (1973). Since returning to academe after more than twenty years in the New York music business, Dr. Davies has given more than twenty papers at musicology, interdisciplinary, German studies and keyboard conferences in America and Europe. Her recent presentation on the organ as a confessional sign in Germany and Switzerland will be published in 2017 by the University of Leuven. Her paper on the organ as the “Devil’s Bagpipe” was published in Budapest, and she is a contributor to New Grove. She is currently involved in an ongoing project on British, American and German organ sermons (Orgelpredigten) of the 17th and 18th centuries, and on the place of the organ in German Lutheran service orders (Kirchenordnungen).

The program is open to the public; AGO membership is not required. There is no cost to attend Vespers. Suggested donation for the dinner is $15 per person. Please register by Friday, November 3 by calling Raphael Micca, Dean, at 570-301-9253 or email dean@agopane.org.

German organist to perform recital in Wilkes-Barre

Stefan Kiessling, assistant organist at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, will perform a recital at St. Stephen’s Church, Pro-Cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, 35 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre on Friday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m. An offering of $15 per person ($10 for students and seniors) is suggested.

The recital will feature works by Bach and Mendelssohn, along with Max Reger’s thrilling Fantasy on Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (A mighty fortress is our God) in commemoration of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation.

Mr. Kiessling is an internationally known concert organist, having been invited to perform recitals and give masterclasses across Asia, Australia, Europe, and the United States. As assistant organist at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, Kiessling provides liturgical music, performs recitals, and assists with the church’s boys choir and Gewandhaus Orchestra. The church has a long history of distinguished musicians: Johann Sebastian Bach served there as Kapellmeister from 1723 until his death in 1750.

The recital is being sponsored jointly by Music from St. Stephen’s and the Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Job Opportunity: Faith Lutheran Church, Blakeslee

Faith Lutheran Church, Route 940, Blakeslee, is seeking applications for a church organist (keyboardist will be considered) to serve their two services on Sunday mornings plus Wednesdays during Advent and Lent. Holiday services are included such as Christmas, Easter and Ash Wednesday. Inquires, resumes and salary expectations should be emailed to faithlut@epix.net. Further information about Faith Lutheran Church can be found on Facebook or by checking the website: FaithLutheranBlakeslee.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, April 30 at Elm Park United Methodist Church in Scranton from 3:00 to 5:00 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!

Clergy & Musician Relations Workshop

revvsirotaThe Pennsylvania Northeast AGO Chapter is sponsoring a Clergy & Musician Relations Workshop at St. Stephen’s Church, Pro-Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, 35 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 9:30 am. Continental breakfast will be available at 9:00 am and the workshop will conclude with Noonday Prayer.

The featured presenter will be the Rev. Dr. Victoria Sirota, an Episcopal priest, lecturer, organist, and author of Preaching to the Choir: Claiming the Role of Sacred Musician. The Rev. Dr. Sirota holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Boston University, and Harvard Divinity School, and has taught at Yale Divinity School, Yale Institute of Sacred Music, The Ecumenical Institute of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary and University, and Boston University. She is currently Priest-in-Charge at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Yonkers, New York.

The workshop is free and open to the public. Organists, choir directors, church musicians, Parish Council, Consistory, and Vestry members, and clergy of all denominations are  welcome and encouraged to attend. To register, please call 570-301-9253 or email dean@agopane.org before February 27.

Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza is coming to Pittston!

PPPThe 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, November 13 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Pittston from 3:00 to 5:00 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

TO REGISTER FOR PEDALS, PIPES, AND PIZZA, PLEASE CLICK HERE.