Category Archives: Articles

October program: Bach’s “Clavierübung III”

Our October program is a double feature!  On October 9, at 3:00 PM in Lagerquist Hall, Jonathan Ryan will play Part III of Bach’s Clavierübung.    Because this PLU event is partially sponsored by the AGO, Tacoma AGO members who are under age 55 will get a discounted admission price of $10.  Members who are age 55 or greater already qualify for the PLU Senior Citizen rate of $10.

The following day, on October 10, Mr. Ryan will discuss this work at Kilworth Chapel at 7:30 PM.  His presentation will focus on the work’s  context, genesis, and symbolism.  He will address structure, and style within the movements, with an emphasis on practical application and performance.

Mr. Ryan has the rare distinction of holding six First Prize awards from major international and national organ competitions.  He most notably entered the international spotlight when awarded First Prize in the 2009 Jordan II International Organ Competition, one of the most substantial First Prize awards of any organ competition at the time. He was additionally awarded the only auxiliary prize at the Jordan Competition, the LeTourneau Concerto Prize, given for the best performance of a newly commissioned work for organ and percussion ensemble.  Additional First Prize awards include the 2006 Arthur Poister National Organ Competition, the 2006 John Rodland Scholarship Competition, the 2004 Albert Schweitzer National Organ Competition (Young Professional Division), and the 2003 Augustana Arts-Reuter National Organ Competition.

AGO Website Highlight: The Calendar

If you use any sort of electronic calendar (and, if you don’t, why not?), you may be interested in a new feature of our website that will allow you to incorporate the AGO calendar into the calendar(s) you already use so that you don’t have to update the calendar for AGO events each month.  All changes and new events will be automatically synced to your calendar.

The feature is called “ical feed”–and yes, it arose from Apple’s icalendar, but it now it works with pretty much any electronic calendar system.

If you use Google’s calendar, which you probably do if you have an Android phone, go to and log in.  Use the dropdown box beside “Other Calendars” to “Add by URL” and enter .  Within a few hours, the AGO calendar will be superimposed on all of the clients you are using with Google calendar.

If you are using Apple’s calendar server, you can add the same URL on your iphone or desktop calendar by going to File -> New Calendar Subscription.  It’s easy because Apple developed this protocol.

Even if you are using a stand-alone electronic calendar on your desktop or phone unrelated to Google or Apple, you can still add the Tacoma AGO calendar URL as an additional calendar and it will just work.

Stop trying to match up AGO events to your personal calendar every month!  Subscribe and save time.

Pipe Organs of Istanbul

Turkish Catholic Church

I recently spent two weeks in Istanbul and encountered very little evidence of pipe organs. Instrumental and congregational music are not part of Islamic prayer, so the lack of organs was not surprising. The two Roman Catholic Churches in the Galata district house functional pipe organs which I saw but did not hear (see photos). The Christian Orthodox churches do not have organs.

A Turkish organ
A Turkish organ

One of the universities contains a concert hall with a 6000-pipe organ, but I did not see this one. I do not believe the modern civic concert hall houses an organ. Turkey does not have, obviously, much of an organ culture.

We do know of a 16th century instrument built and installed by English organ builder Thomas Dallam  for the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed III at the behest of Queen Elizabeth. I had read that this was no longer in existence, but while touring the mid-19th century Dolmabahçe Palace I noticed remnants of pipes and organ mechanisms in a large, glass fronted cabinet. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed in the palace. Read more about The Sultan’s pipe organ.

I was in a clock museum and saw a musical clock (such as Haydn and Mozart knew). Most of the internal pipes, however, were crushed.

Curt Sather

Opening of 2016-2017 Program Season at Spanaway Lutheran

To the delight of many in the audience, Cheryl and Tim Drewes opened our 2016-2017 season with a lecture-demonstration featuring the 1905 Woodberry organ in Spanaway Lutheran Church.  Using music carefully selected to match the instrument and the historical context, Tim and Cheryl discussed registration  and musical form, accompanied by flawless performances of illustrative works.   Cheryl prepared a handout illustrating the history of the organ, from its original home in Newport, KY in 1905, to its current home in Spanaway, WA.  That handout is available at the end of this article.

Following the program, many stayed for wine, cheese, and conversation in the narthex of the church.

Wine and Cheese Reception at Spanaway Lutheran Church
Wine and Cheese Reception at Spanaway Lutheran Church

Cheryl Drewes is the organist at Spanaway Lutheran Church.  Tim Drewes, skilled in both organ performance and organ restoration, restored this organ to its present state upon its arrival in Spanaway, after many years of not being used.  Both are members of our chapter, and concertize widely both locally and nationally.

Wine and Cheese Reception at Spanaway Lutheran Church
Wine and Cheese Reception at Spanaway Lutheran Church

If the PDF file fails to display, you may download it here.

Sept meeting at Spanaway Lutheran

Please join us for the first meeting of our new program year on Monday, September 19 at 7:30 pm, when Cheryl Drewes, Director of Music at Spanaway Lutheran Church, collaborates with her husband Tim to present the church’s 1905 Woodberry organ.  The versatility of this organ will be demonstrated in music of its own, as well as other, eras.  Cheryl and Tim will also present a brief history of the organ, with an overview of the Woodberry company and a discussion the organ aesthetics of the time.

Further attractions includes a wine and cheese reception to be held after the meeting.  Come, get to know this gem of an organ and  enjoy catching up after the summer with your AGO friends!  Also, we especially ask that each of you make an effort to personally invite area organists and organ enthusiasts of your acquaintance who are not active in our chapter.