History

History of the Dallas Chapter

2015 | The fall brought several successful evens: a certification workshop, the opening banquet and Evensong at the Church of the Incarnation, a recital at NorthPark Presbyterian with Ahreum Han, a conducting masterclass with Dr. Jan Harrington, and a Neighborhood recital with AGO scholarship recipient David Preston and Dallas organist Jonathan Gregoire. In January we held our first-time Twelfth Night celebration at the home of Gordon McMillan, and subsequently were hosted by Northridge Presbyterian in another Education Projects masterclass led by keyboard wellness expert, Sheila Paige. February brought us a lively concert at First United Methodist Church, Dallas, by Organized Rhythm, the organ/percussion duo of Clive Dirskill-Smith and Joseph Gramley. Later evnts included a Neighborhood Recital with local organists Jordan DeRouen, Minjung Nam, Hentus van Rooyen, and Henry Webb; an organ crawl from Christ the King Church to St. Mark’s School, to St. Monica Church, visiting new instruments by Juget-Sinclair, Létourneau, and Nichols and Simpson, respectively; and a Recital Series concert by Daryl Robinson at St. Monica Church. Finally, we culminated an eventful and captivating year with a closing banquet and Service of Choral Evening Prayer and Installation of Officers at West Plano Presbyterian Church.

2014 | The season began with a concert and hymn-playing masterclass by Marilyn Keiser in September. Later in the Fall, in an effort to encourage member participation and fellowship, the Program Committee sponsored a members’ recital at Northaven United Methodist Church. Johann Vexo, choir organist at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris presented a concert at Perkins Chapel in January, and the RTA series concluded in March with Christian Lane performing at Church of the Transfiguration. In an effort to engage more of the student members and to feature less-utilized organs, “Neighborhood Recitals” were held on the 1850’s-era Swiss chamber organ housed at the Mesquite Performing Arts Center as well as at Christ the Servant Lutheran in Allen. The season concluded with the year-end banquet and closing worship at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, led by the church’s resident choir and bell ensemble. The executive committee spent much of its year simultaneously looking forward and back in anticipation of the chapter’s 100th anniversary in 2018, culminating in the chapter’s successful bid to host the 2017 regional convention.

2013 | The year began with a festive banquet and opening choral service at Northridge Presbyterian Church. Two Neighborhood Recitals featured chapter members as well as chapter scholarship students. The chapter sponsored educational events, including a presentation by Wayne Leupold entitled “Teaching Organ to Beginners” as well as a masterclass by David Baskeyfield. In addition to Baskeyfield, the RTA series also brought Lynne Davis and Kimberly Marshall to perform. In a concerted effort to enhance cooperation with other chapters, a Dean’s Exchange Recital was held with the Southern Plains Chapter, and a joint members’ recital was performed in Arlington in conjunction with the Fort Worth chapter. in April, three chapter authors presented a workshop of their research related to church music and organ performance, and the year concluded with an organ-plus banquet and concert at Christ United Methodist Church, Plano, featuring a variety of instrumentation supplementing the organ.

2012 | The season began with Martin Jean, Professor of Sacred Music at Yale, addressing the chapter at the opening banquet. Activities this year included an organ crawl, a very successful Pedals, Pipes and Pizza which drew many children and youth to the organ for the first time, and workshops on the harpsichord and global music. The RTA series continued with three evens, each of which drew an increasing audience – Stefan Engels, Dongho Lee, and Tom Trenney. The year concluded with a silent movie with organ accompaniment at the McKinney Performing Arts Center.

2011 | The Dallas AGO enjoyed a varied program year, beginning with a spectacular evening of PipeDreams Live! with Michael Barone at the Meyerson Symphony Center, a landmark event sponsored jointly with FWAGO, WRR 101.1 FM, and the DSO. Another highlight came with the honoring of A. Eugene Ellsworth as Honorary Dean at the Annual Clergy-Musician Dinner and Service, which featured an original composition for the occasion by George Baker. The year was rounded out by a dynamic Recital Series – Isabelle Demers, Bálint Karosi, and Robert Parkins – a continuation of our tradition of Rising Stars recitals, an evening with James Kibbie marking the 100th birth year of Jehan Alain, and a gala closing banquet featuring the hilarious Victorian one-act comedy The Old Organist by Henry Jones, recently made available by the OHS Press.

2010 | The chapter brought a number of extraordinarily distinguished guests to Dallas this year, including three recitalists on the Robert T. Anderson Series (Jan Kraybill, Martin Welzel, and Aaron David Miller), Guild President Eileen Guenther, and the renowned scholar and harpsichordist Peter Williams. Members had the opportunity to dialogue with President Guenther about the future of the AGO and the role of the Dallas Chapter in that future. Under the sponsorship of Education Projects, Professor Williams delivered a lecture on J. S. Bach and led an organ masterclass, all part of a week’s residency in Dallas. Further, chapter members offered a memorable recital of the works of Felix Mendelssohn.

2009 | The chapter had a particularly busy and successful season with a number of events in observance of the International Year of the Organ, including Mary Preston’s appearance with the DSO and Bradley Welch’s playing with the Great Dallas Youth Orchestra, both featuring the Meyerson Fisk. The Robert T. Anderson Recital Series brought James David Christie, Carole Terry and Naji Hakim to Dallas. Education Projects sponsored a panel discussion with area organ builders on design and maintenance issues. Benjamin Kolodziej presented a workshop on wedding music in January, and Canyon Creek Presbyterian Church hosted the chapter’s Rising Stars Recital in March.

2008 | Highland Park United Methodist Church hosted the Clergy/Musician program, with a Eucharist service. David Davidson directed the choir, Dr. Bradley Welch presided at the organ, and newly appointed chaplain, Dr. Michael Hawn served as Liturgist and preacher. The 300th year of Buxtehude’s death was commemorated with a special Abendmusiken featuring Dr. Ibo Ortgies from Sweden and area musicians performing Buxtehude’s works. The Recital Series presented John Weaver in concert and master class, Chelsa Chen in concert, and David Briggs, both in classical concert, as well as as accompanist for the Silent film, Phantom of the Opera, preceded by a gala banquet with members dressed in opera-themed attire. Other highlights included a Members’ Recital of J. S. Bach’s “Great 18” Chorales at First Presbyterian Church; Dr. George Baker in a lecture/demonstration on Improvisation, and a first-ever North Texas District Meeting organized by N. Texas District Convener Dr. Ken Hart, to introduce the new Hellmuth Wolff organ at University of North Texas, premiered by Dr. Jesse Eschbach.

2007 | Northway Christian Church hosted our opening worship, honoring clergy/musicians, with installation of officers, with a joint choir directed by Henry McDowell and Dr. Margaret Mulvey-Claeborne as organist, featuring Cast of Bronze Handbell Choir. Recital Series featured Frederic Blanc in concert and improvisation master class, and Ann Elise Smoot and Samuel Soria in concert. Educational Projects presented a lecture by Dr. Alessandra Comini on the “Changing Face of Mozart,” preceded by a chamber music concert and dinner. Sheila Paige and Bradley Welch introduced our guild to tips on “Wellness” performance practice, and Dr. Christopher Anderson presented a lecture on Max Reger. AGO held auditions of area college students and presented the winners in a “Rising Stars” concert on the new German Klais organ at First United Methodist Church of Richardson. The major effort throughout the year was to prepare for the Region VII Convention, which our chapter hosted in June 2007, planned by a diligent Steering Committee chaired by David Stinson. It was highly successful, presenting outstanding concerts, worship, workshops, and many highlights throughout that week. A Homily by Dr. C. Michael Hawn, Dean of Sacred Music Perkins School of Theology, SMU and Chaplain of the Dallas Chapter of the American Guild of Organists for the Installation Service of the Dallas Chapter, AGO, September 18, 2007 entitled Time Matters.

2006 | The opening guild service, with clergy/musician dinner, was hosted by Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Recital Series concerts brought William Porter, Bruce Neswick and Sarah Baldock, performing on organs by Garland, Noack, Sipe and Goulding & Wood, also attending our joint Ft. Worth concert by Olivier Latry. Choral programs were offered through Education Projects’ workshop by David Davidson on conducting instrumental groups, and attending a rehearsal of Dallas Symphony Chorus performing music by Mahler and Bernstein. A highlight was honoring special guest Marie-Claire Alain at the end-of-year barbecue party, following an organ crawl of Schantz and Letourneu instruments, performed by area college students.

2005 | The opening Clergy-Musician Banquet and Installation of Officers was hosted by Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, with its choir directed by Joel Martinson, performing some of his own music. The guild attended an open rehearsal of Verdi’s Requiem, conducted by David Davidson with the Dallas Symphony Chorus. Recitalists Ludger Lohmann, David Hurd, and harpsichordist Matthew Dirst brought variety to the Recital Series, and a program featured architect, minister, musician, and organ builder of St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church of Mesquite, discussing how they conceived and built that ediface and instrument. A highlight was a special performance of PIPEDREAMS LIVE! at the Meyerson Symphony Center, hosted by Michael Barone, later broadcast on National Public Radio, featuring local organists Dr. George Baker, James Diaz, Hyeon Jeong, Mary Preston, Damin Spritzer, and Dr. Bradley Welch. The year ended with a hymn festival featuring organ and brass at Perkins Chapel, SMU.

2004 | The Education Projects Committee presented “Herbert Howells – People, Places and Music” with Larry Palmer and Scott Cantrell presenting a multi-media presentation of Howells’ choral and organ music. Two programs were presented at the Meyerson Symphony Hall – a joint meeting with the Fort Worth Chapter to attend an open Dallas Symphony rehearsal of Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and our own Bradley Welch performed the Stephen Paulus Organ Concerto with the DSO. The Recital Series present fine recitals by Peter Sykes and Christa Rakich.

2003 | Stephen Cleobury worked with the Orpheus Chamber Singers, Don Krehbiel, Director, in an open rehearsal. The Dallas and Fort Worth Chapters combined efforts for an “Otto Hofmann Retrospective and Organ Tour” to The Matthew Memorial Presbyterian Church in Albany, Texas. Education Projects sponsored a highly successful Pipe Organ Encounter for 31 students from across the country during July of 2003.

2001 | Legendary organist Fred Swann set the tone for a splendid year of organ playing, which included young and veteran organists in the “Pipes Spectacular!” concert, as well as the Robert T. Anderson recitalists Ullrich Boehme, Carla Edwards and Robert Bates. Fred also included conversation about his distinguished musical career. The chapter had other evenings of learning and listening at the J. Eric Jonsson Central Library (Chapter archives and historic scores and recordings), with the Fort Worth chapter at St. Vincent’s Cathedral in Bedford (Sacred Harp singing), with David Heller (hymn-playing and improvisation) and Robert Bates’ workshop on French Organ Music. The final event was AGO Night at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre with a topical and hilarious melodrama.

2000 | Louis Robilliard (French recitalist), Dan Locklair (composer), George Ritchie (Bach specialist), Barbara Resch (music educator), and Stephen Cleobury (Kings College, BBC, England), were outstanding visiting presenters. The year closed with a successful dinner and theatre organ program (Phil Bordeleau) at the Lakewood Theatre.

1999 | The AGO Guild Service celebrated the chapter’s 80th anniversary. Highlights of the season’s programming included a demonstration concert by the Children’s Chorus of Dallas, a program on working with brass players, a program on the use of MIDI and other new technologies, and an East Texas “Organ Crawl” to Tyler, Kilgore and Longview.

1998 | The tone was set for the 80th anniversary of the Dallas Chapter at the Church of the Transfiguration with emphasis on our spiritual health and concluding with a walk on the labyrinth. The Recital Series was named in honor of Dr. Robert T. Anderson in deep appreciation for his life-long achievements and remarkable influence in Dallas and throughout the world. The Recital Series continues to be one of the finest and most visible aspects of the chapter in the community, as well as the ongoing quality of programming offered to its membership.

1997 | Variety characterized the programs of the Dallas Chapter. Robert MacDonald of Fort Worth accompanied silent films at the Park Cities Baptist Church organ and Al Travis of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth hosted a joint meeting of Dallas and Fort Worth Chapters, presenting a “tonal tour” of the new Casavant organ. Masterclasses were presented by Harald Vogel and Hans Fagius. The chapter assisted the Dallas Symphony Association in the staging of the First Triennial Dallas International Organ Competition, held at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The first-place winner was one of our own chapter members, S. Wayne Foster, student of Dr. Lenora McCroskey.

1996 | The chapter presented a series of programs centered around the theme, “The Lord’s Song in a Strange Land.” Sponsored primarily by the Education Projects Committee, the theme focused on the problem of maintaining music and worship expressions of integrity in a fast-changing, pop-culture influenced world. Featured presenters included Dr. Bruce Leafblad, Dr. Don Saliers, and Dr. Paul Westermeyer. The renewed Recitals Series presented among others, Alan Morrison at the Meyerson Symphony Center (co-sponsored with the Dallas Symphony Association.) The Neighborhood Recital Series presented two organ recitals to the public free of charge, featuring local organists playing outstanding, but less frequently heard instruments.

1995 | The chapter began the year with a Service of Thanksgiving for the successful AGO Dallas 94 Convention. Committees began work on revitalizing the Recital Series, revising the Work and Compensation Guidelines, and planning for a year of programs on the state of church music at the end of the 20th century. Education Projects presented Ann Jones in a choral conducting workshop and Jon Gillock in a performance and masterclass on Messiaen’s Le Livre du Saint Sacrément.

1994 | The chapter played host to the 42nd National Convention of the AGO attended by 1,743 persons. Highlights included the premiere of Conrad Susa’s commissioned church opera The Wise Women and performances on the various instruments installed since the 1972 convention. The Education Projects Committee sponsored a Hymn Voluntary Writing Competition in conjunction with the convention. The Recital Series presented Cherry Rhodes and Thomas Murray in recitals at the Meyerson co-sponsored by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. It also brought the fortepianist Malcolm Bilson to Dallas for a solo recital.

1993 | In May the chapter was successful in helping to sponsor the first broadcasts of “Pipe Dreams” on WRR-FM. The Education Projects Committee sponsored a second well-attended workshop on conducting.

1992 | A spring meeting attended by Mme. Duruflé-Chevalier focused on choral and organ works by the late Maurice Duruflé. Convention planning moved into high gear. The Recital Series, in its first collaboration with the Dallas Symphony Association, co-sponsored David Higgs in a premier solo recital on the new Fisk organ at the Meyerson.

1991 | The Dallas Chapter sponsored a very successful Pipe Organ Encounter for teenagers. The Recital Series presented trumpeter, Edward Tarr, with Swiss organist Irmtraud Krüger. In the fall the chapter celebrated a “Festival of New Hymns” with Bruce Bengtson, and bid farewell to the Caruth Auditorium Aeolian-Skinner organ.

1990 | The National Council of the AGO approved Dallas as the site of the 1994 National AGO Convention. The Dallas Chapter also remembered the life and influence of the legendary Roy Perry with brief recitals on organs he designed.

1989 | The Recital Series presented national Young Artists Competition winner Christopher Young as well as Marie-Claire Alain, Philip Brunelle and Mireille Lagacé.

1988 | The Chapter established the Russell E. Hellekson, Jr. Scholarship Fund. Education Projects sponsored James Rives Jones in a workshop and master class on instrumental conducting for the church musician.

1987 | The Professional Concerns Committee of the Dallas Chapter published its first booklet, The Work and Compensation of the Church and Synagogue Musician. The booklet received high marks locally, as well as regionally and nationally. The Recital Series included a performance by Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert at the Majestic Theatre, in cooperation with the Dallas Civic Music Association.

1986 | The Dallas Chapter presented two programs on hymnody – the first led by Dr. Richard P. Heitzenrater and the Bridwell Library staff, the second a panel discussion by Jane Marshall, J. D. Godwin, W. Thomas Smith, Marjorie Procter-Smith, Kenneth Shields, William J. Reynolds, and Dale Peters.

1985 | The Education Projects Committee, in the chapter’s “Meet the Composer” series, commissioned The Dallas Anthem Book by Daniel Pinkham and presented its first performance with the composer conducting.

1984 | The Dallas Chapter adopted a new set of Operating Procedures in accordance with national guidelines.

1983 | The Education Projects Committee, Recital Series Committee, and the Program Committee joined forces to present Recital/Workshops by William Porter and Robert Glasgow.

1982 | The Dallas Chapter expands the Recital Series to include a performance and master class on “Baroque Performance” by the ARS Musica ensemble, a group from Ann Arbor, Michigan, specializing in early music.

1981 | The Education Projects Committee presented “Practicum: Public Relations for the Organist in the Church and in the Community.” Guest speakers were Dr. Norman Mealy, Pacific School of Theology in Berkeley, California and Dr. Nicholas Kenyon, Music Critic for The New Yorker Magazine in New York City.

1980 | The Education Projects Committee presented Colloquium I: “A Musician’s Quest for Relevance in a Complex World,” featuring speakers and other participants from throughout Texas and across the nation.

1979 | The Education Projects Committee commissioned and presented the first performance of William Bolcom’s Three Gospel Preludes to commemorate the chapter’s 60th Anniversary.

1978 | Gustav Leonhardt was presented in the first local Guild-sponsored harpsichord recital. The Education Projects Committee sponsored its first Free University, a six-week session of courses designed as aids to members preparing for Guild examinations. The classes were open to the public without charge. AGO National President, Dr. Roberta Bitgood, addressed the Dallas Chapter at its first meeting of 1978. Twenty-five-year members were honored, and pins were presented to fifty-year members, Anita Hansen and Inez A. Hudgins.

1977 | On less than four month’s notice, the Dallas Chapter organized, and was host to, the AGO Southwest Regional Workshop. The “Cluster Meeting” concept was introduced.

1976-1977 | The program for the year resembled a repeat of the 1976 National Convention in Boston, featuring Martha Folts, Harold Vogel, and Daniel Pinkham, plus other outstanding performers.

1975-1976 | Gerald Near, the first composer to appear on the chapter’s new “Meet the Composer” series, drew the largest attendance ever for a chapter meeting.

1974 | The Recital Series was revitalized.

1973 | The Education Projects Fund was established.

1972 | The Dallas Chapter was host to the Guild’s National Convention; 907 delegates attended.

1970 | Dallasite George C. Baker, III, won First Place in the AGO National Organ Playing Competition.

1969 | The Dallas Chapter was the successful bidder for the 1972 National Convention.

1967 | The Dallas Chapter celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

1966 | The Dallas Chapter was host to the Midwinter Conclave.

1961-1962 | Katherine Hammons, Dean of the Texas Chapter in 1927-1929 and 1943-1945, died. The Texas Chapter became the Dallas Chapter.

1960-1961 | In memory of Dora Poteet Barclay, AAGO, a recording of one of her recitals was issued jointly by the Texas and Fort Worth Chapters.

1958-1959 | Mrs. J. H. Cassidy, AAGO, organizer of the Texas Chapter and its first Dean, died. The Texas Chapter became international with the admission of Julian Zuniga of Mexico City as an active member. Katherine Hammons resigned as Regional Chairman.

1957-1958 | Texas’ largest and oldest chapter celebrated its 40th Anniversary.

1956 | The Concordia Choir was presented in the first local Guild-sponsored choral concert.

1952 | The Texas Chapter was host to the Annual Conclave of Deans and Regents.

1950 | The chapter’s first Recital Series was inaugurated.

1949 | The Crescendo, the chapter’s second news sheet, began publication.

1948 | The Texas Chapter celebrated its 30th Anniversary.

1935-1949 | Complimentary recitals were presented to the public.

1934 | The Texas Organist, the chapter’s first news sheet, was published.

1929 | The Texas Chapter organized its first sub-chapter, Fort Worth.

1928 | The Texas Chapter celebrated its 10th Anniversary.

1925 | The Texas Chapter held the first State Convention.

1924 | The first Guild Service was held.

1921 | The first yearbook was published.

1919 | The Rev. Thomas F. Gallaher, D.D., was elected first Chaplain of the Texas Chapter.

1918 The first AGO chapter in Texas, the Texas Chapter, was founded, with Mrs. James H. Cassidy, AAGO, as Dean.