beautiful, hospitable city of wonderful organs and churches
was the site of the AGO National Convention in July which I
was privileged to attend. Seeing old friends, meeting news ones,
talking "shop", and overdosing on organ recitals, is a big part
of what convention is about.
Cleveland Chapter had a strong presence at the convention. Tom
Trenney, winner of our local competition, as well as the 1999
Region V Young Organist competition, wowed the audience at the
Rising Stars Recital, with his performance of a selection from
William Bolcom's "Three Gospel Preludes" and Ives's "Variations
on America." At the annual meeting Karen MacFarlane received
the Edward A. Hansen Award for her work in providing management
of the winner of the Young Artist Competition. At the same meeting,
Chris Holtkamp presented the Holtkamp-AGO Award in organ Composition.
Todd Wilson was a workshop presenter.
Clevelanders attending were Sub-Dean Carol Neff, Carmen Massaro,
Patricia Genchi, Ruth Brintnall, Gratian Nugent, Warren and
Margaret Scharf, David Boe, and John McElliott. Highlighting
the week's events was the inauguration of the new Fisk organ
at Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony. In addition
to the events connected with our convention, public tours and
demonstrations, some geared for children were held throughout
the week. We heard a recital by Guy Bouvet, and a program of
organ concertos with the Seattle Symphony. Before the concert,
Gerard Schwartz, conductor of the Seattle Symphony presented
AGO President, Philip Hahn, with an award from ASCAP for the
AGO's role in commissioning new works. Two new works were presented
on the program, both stunning. It was quite impressive that
an ensemble with the stature of the Seattle Symphony had learned
new pieces for our convention.
addition to the Fisk organ at Benaroya Hall, impressive organs,
both in sound and aesthetics were the Fritts Organ at Pacific
Lutheran University, the Flentrop organ, with renovations by
Fritts at St. Mark's Cathedral, and the two organs of St. James
Cathedral, one a 1907 Hutchings-Votey, the other a beautiful
1999 Rosales organ.
Baroque concert of the Bach B Minor Mass was a highlight of
the week. Martin Haselbūck, masterfully led Seattle ensembles,
the Northwest Baroque, and the Tudor Choir, for a sublime experience.
Lending variety and a break from organ music was an evening
of a capella choral music by Opus 7, and a congregational sing
led by Alice Parker. Alice, in her own inimitable style, led
us in exploring what could be done creatively with simple hymns
and the unaccompanied human voice.
recitals which I particularly enjoyed were by Bruce Neswick,
Christa Rakich, and Christopher Young. I really enjoyed John
Weaver's playing of the eleven Brahms Preludes. Much virtuoso
playing was heard during the week, and hearing these beautiful
pieces played masterfully was a lovely interlude.
beautifully planned, professionally presented worship services
is another highlight of convention. This year's worship services
were organized to demonstrate the major denominational styles:
Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Protestant, and Jewish. The singing
of commissioned anthems is a highlight of those services. I
was most impressed by the singing of Cantor Roslyn Barak, and
the commissioned "An American Kedusha," by Alice Parker.
is a heady experience. I returned with ideas for our own Regional
Convention in 2003, new ideas about listening to and playing
the organ, lists of pieces I would like to learn and memories
of a beautiful place. It is not too soon to start thinking about
Philadelphia in 2002. Maybe that will be your year for convention.
I assure you it will be time well spent.