Central Hudson Valley Chapter, AGO

Chapter News

January 2008

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Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Well, here we are again, leaping from Thanksgiving right into New Year with a quick stop-over at Christmas. Time just flies by too quickly. I want to extend a very Happy New Year to all for 2008.

We are now officially in the “International Year of the Organ.” I encourage all our members to do something at your church that puts focus on the Organ. We are ambassadors for our instrument. Together we can make many wonderful strides forward to ensure that the organ continues to be a respected and thoroughly enjoyed musical presence in our lives and for future generations.

I would like to wish all of you a Blessed Epiphany. The word “Epiphany” derives from two Greek Word:s Epi and Phanos. Epi translates into the manifestation or center; the culmination or peak of a moment. Phanos on the other hand translates into “light”. Put them together and you get “The Manifestation of Light – the moment when the baby Jesus was revealed to the world by those three wise men who followed the star.

Our time in Epiphany this year is extremely brief. The last Sunday in Epiphany brings us to February 3, 2008 when we will again be honored to take part in “Choral Evensong” at Christ Episcopal Church on 20 Carroll Street in Poughkeepsie. I encourage all to take part in whatever way you can. I will look forward to seeing many of you there. If you are interested in singing in the choir, details are provided below. Rehearsals are scheduled for January 17, 24 and 31 - 7:30 PM at Christ Episcopal Church. A dress rehearsal will take place on Saturday February 2, 2008 at 1:00 PM. You can always contact me or Beverly Simmons (Sub-Dean and Program Committee Chair) for more information.

The calendar for 2008 is filling up with many wonderful events and programs. As always I encourage you to take advantage of as many offerings a possible. Post many of these musical events at your church and maybe even in your weekly Sunday bulletin.

If you haven’t purchased your CD from the September 23, 2007 Choral Evensong, there is still time to do so; you won’t be disappointed. The CD turned out wonderfully. The singing was glorious and the organists were well represented with different styles and approaches to hymnody and choral accompaniments. I purchased 10 copies. Four were given as gifts to those organists who are at home and not able to travel. They are enjoying the music and are excited to note that we will again be a part of the February 3, 2008 Choral Evensong. If you still need to purchase your CD, please contact Eric Hepp. Now that I think of it I too have to order five more. Some people have approached me to purchase this wonderful treasure of prayer and music.

Life is about relationships and what we do with those relationships. We here in the Hudson Valley have many opportunities to become a part of numerous opportunities (relationships) where we can weave our talents into the fabric that allows us to call this place our home. Take the initiative to weave some opportunities for yourself and for the guild.

Our National President, Fred Swann, had some interesting comments in his letter in the most recent issue of TAO. If you haven’t read his letter, please do so. As you know he is finishing his term and as he states he is a “lame Swann” President. We as a chapter have always been encouraging and supportive of each other. I am confident we will each strive to continue that legacy with all new members and students by extending a hand of friendship, welcome and words of encouragement.

We are a very unique group of musicians. There are very few of us (organists), albeit our ranks are growing. Let’s keep the crescendo building by living the Gospel and bringing people closer to God, His Son and the Spirit that moves over our creativity. We are ambassadors of our instrument. People will know us by our actions and our deeds. In a phrase that sums it all up “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”; loosely translated from Latin “the law of prayer is the law of belief”.

Ours is a very unique calling. Therefore we know when we sing we pray twice and the above phrase takes on a deeper and more spiritual meaning for our calling.

A Blessed “Manifestation of Light” to us all. The light reflecting from inside each of us can help transform this world one note at a time. Take the light and pass it on. Pay it forward….the world is a better place because of all of you.

God’s Peace as we enter into relationships with God and God’s people. His Grace as we continue to move through His world bringing music “Soli Deo Gloria.”

Membership News

  • Corrections to the Membership Roster:
    - Boyd Herforth’s home e-mail address is nancy.herforth@verizon.net and his work e-mail address is Bherforth@montclairkimberley.org.
    - Polly James’s home e-mail address is pjames1@hvc.rr.com

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with AGO Board Member Robert Brown, whose father died on Sunday December 2, 2007. His father resided in England where Rob has traveled to be with his family.

  • Former member Jennifer Geibel and her husband Jim are the proud parents of a 6 lb baby boy! Aiden was born on Thursday, December 20, two hours after Jennifer gave her last piano lesson of the day! Jennifer worked with us on the Convention in 2005. If you would like to send congratulations, you can reach her at PO Box 534, New Paltz, NY 12561 or e-mail jgmus79@yahoo.com
  • .
  • Dr. Laura Ramsey Russell reports that she has accepted the Organist position at Christ Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie. Her duties will now include both directing the choir and playing the organ. She reports: “I’m really enjoying playing and practicing, and I’m actually starting to get better!!” Congratulations, Laura!

  • From the Dean: Over the Christmas Holiday I was able to visit with a few of our homebound organists. I gave each of them a Christmas present from the Chapter, that present being a CD recording of our September 23, 2007 "Choral Evensong." They send their best wishes and regards to all. As you can imagine their prayer is to play on Christmas Eve or just be able to get out of their home and be in church bathed by the wonderful music of the season. If anybody in our chapter recorded their Christmas Eve services including hymns, please contact me and I will tell you who to send the musical offerings to. These are the individuals who made our chapter Swell and Great. Let's see what we can do to help make their days more musical and tune filled.

  • From the Dean: I met with Jimrae K. Lenser on December 17. He and I went for a ride to the Berkshires. I needed to purchase some very special chocolate covered orange slices from "Catherine's of the Berkshires" in Great Barrington, MA, so I asked Jimrae to come for the ride. I got to meet his dog "Kip" who also joined us for the ride. Jimrae asked me to extend his sincerest thanks to all of you who wrote a note on his behalf. His sentence for jail has been reduced. Jimrae's last day in jail will be January 5, 2008. Oddly that is the day prior to Epiphany....the light shines! God is truly amazing! Jimrae still has the 250 hours of community service to complete and five years probation. We all wish Jimrae well during his healing process and continue to pray for him during his journey.

Encore Choral Evensong Scheduled for February 3
-- From Program Chair Beverly Simmons

Once again we are co-sponsoring (with Christ Church) an ecumenical Evensong to take place at Christ Church in Poughkeepsie on Sunday, February 3, 2008, at 5:00 PM. The service will be preceded by a half-hour organ recital by Merellyn Gallagher at 4:30. If you missed our September event you will want to be sure to participate (along with members of your choir) and if you joined us then, you will hopefully want to do it again. My own choir members spoke about how much fun it was to sing with a really large group.

So here are the particulars: You will need to order the following three anthems. (The chapter is not doing it for you this time.)

  • Candlyn: “Christ whose glory fills the skies” – with organ – CM 622 Carl Fischer Pub

  • Rutter: “A Gaelic Blessing” – with organ – Hinshaw RSCM-501

  • Rutter: “God be in my head” – a cappella – Oxford 94.326

As before, there will be a dress rehearsal the day before on Saturday, February. 2, 2008, probably at 1:00 PM. You may learn the music on your own and teach it to your choir or, if you are free on Thursday evenings you may join Laura Russell at Christ Church for their rehearsals.

Choirs are welcome to rehearse on their own, and then join us for the dress rehearsal on the day before the Evensong. Guest organists (at least those accompanying the choirs) would join us on the Saturday as well. I will have joint rehearsals at 7:30 PM at Christ Church on the three Thursdays leading up to the Evensong: 1/17, 1/24, and 1/31 for singers who do not have choir rehearsal on Thursday nights. They will run for an hour, tops.

If you have questions please contact me at beverlysim@verizon.net or call me at 845-463-1249.

MSM Degree from Notre Dame – From Craig Cramer:

Do you know of a student or colleague who might be interested in our MSM degree at the University of Notre Dame?

At the moment I am recruiting students for our Master of Sacred Music program at the University of Notre Dame. This program is in its third year, and it is a wonderful program that has already attracted fine students. We are extremely excited about what is going on here. The degree combines music (two organ recitals, organ literature, music history) and liturgy courses. There are details of the program on the website: http://www.nd.edu/~msm/

The assistantships pay full tuition for two years plus a stipend of $12,000 per year for two years. If you know of any prospective undergraduate students or others who are not currently enrolled in a graduate program, I would appreciate hearing from you. If you have any names to suggest, I am happy to contact them. It is not too late to apply for 2008-2009.

Typically a student on an assistantship works in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus. The Sunday morning mass has been broadcast across the country every Sunday on the Hallmark Channel for the last five years; the average viewership was around 1.5 million per week. This broadcast will change soon to another network. There is so much musical work to be done there that it is a great hands-on learning experience.

Our new Fritts organ and organ hall are stunning. We have an eclectic-style tracker organ in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart that is also used for teaching, practice, and performance. You can see the Fritts at http://www.frittsorgan.com/opus024.htm

Many thanks for your help, and all the best in the new year,

Craig Cramer, DMA
Professor of Organ
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana USA

Deadline for Next Newsletter

We are always glad to receive input for the chapter newsletter in the form of calendar items, reviews of recent concerts and events, biographies, letters, photographs, etc. In order to make sure these submissions can be processed in a timely fashion, please make sure they are received by the 23rd of each month. You may submit newsletter material by mail, e-mail, or phone. Just contact the editor, Susan LaGrande, using the information given below. Remember, the deadline for the next newsletter, to be available the first week in February, is January 23rd.

Editor’s Corner

This newsletter is published by the Central Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. The editor is:
Susan LaGrande
12 Montrose Lane
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Phone: 845-226-6496 (home) - Fax: 845-226-1035

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