Category Archives: Articles

Back to School!

I find autumn an invigorating season, from both the changes in the natural world and the familiar charge of back-to-school energy. This energy usually reminds me that learning is a life-long process. In the context of AGO, continuing education is foundational, as its mission is to foster a thriving community of musicians who share their knowledge and inspire passion for the organ.

If you’ve thought this might be the time to brush up on old skills or learn new ones, here are some options:

Performance skills-

  • Private study with a Tacoma chapter member–there is a scholarship fund to support this, and the application deadline is at the end of October! For details, see the AGO Scholarship page.
  • Study organ with Dr. Wyatt Smith through Community Music at the University of Puget Sound. This includes practice access to the Fritts organ at Kilworth Chapel.
  • Study organ with Dr. Stephen Price through non-matriculated studies at the University of Washington. This includes practice access to instruments in Seattle, including St. Mark’s, St. James, St. Alphonsus, and University Presbyterian.
  • Join a study group! Ars Organi meets every few weeks for a Friday morning seminar at Christ Episcopal Church. The group is co-led by David Dahl and Satya Jaech (contact Satya for more information).

Church music skills-

Our own chapter’s programming includes a wonderful upcoming event on Oct 21: Hymn interpretations with David Dahl.

AGO national has a lot of resources on its website, and also produces educational webinars. I’m planning on attending one on Oct 2nd, “Being Yourself in the Spotlight of Music Ministry”.

Wishing you happy studies and an energized fall!

Sheila Bristow

Past Dean, Tacoma Chapter

Website Benefits

If you have never taken the time to establish a password on our Tacoma AGO website, this might be a good time to do it. Members who log in to the site see additional content that is hidden from the public, see more complete search results, can place classified ads, and have enhanced access to the calendar.

Our AGO calendar contains events of general interest to Tacoma organists, including our own chapter events and other musical events that feature our members. Have you ever wished that you could subscribe to our calendar and have these events automatically show up on your phone? It’s easy. Just log in to the AGO website, look at the “For Members” section of the menu in the left column, and select “Subscribe to the Calendar.” You can also submit events to the calendar–just make sure your addition follows the calendar policy.

If you have indicated on the national AGO site that you want to be listed as a substitute, or want to teach, a classified ad is automatically created for you on our local site. Once you create a password, you can claim that ad and add additional details. If you’re looking for a job, you can also create a classified ad indicating your availability. Non-members can read ads and can place ads looking for the services, but only members can place ads looking for work. The classified ad system acts as an intermediary between you and the public, forwarding responses to you and forwarding your answers to the public. The website never exposes your email address to the public unless you choose to include it in the ad description.

Establishing a password is easy. Just follow the instructions at the Instructions for New Members page.

Tacoma Bach Festival Presents 2023 Festival

The Tacoma Bach Festival presents its 2023 Festival from July 28th to 30th. This year’s opening concert, The Chorale Through the Ages, features AGO member Wyatt Smith at Christ Episcopal Church in Tacoma on July 28th in a program that features music by Bach, Langlois, Mendelssohn, Portman and Rakich.

On July 29th, mezzo-soprano Erin Calata and flutist Tracy Doyle team up for a program at Kilworth Chapel at the University of Puget Sound featuring Bach’s rarely heard Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust, BWV 170, and a newly discovered work by Anna Bon di Venezia.

July 30th marks the festival finale with a gala concert at Kilworth Chapel featuring the TBF Orchestra and Chorus in a program that features Bach Cantatas 61, 150, Caroline Shaw’s To The Hands, and Marques Garrett’s My Heart Be Brave. All concerts are at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available at or at the door.

For more information visit


Group Discount for Nathan Laube

Nathan Laube, Associate Professor of Organ at Eastman School of Music and International Consultant in Organ Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, will be performing an all-Bach recital at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle on May 5th at 7:30 pm. Michael Kleinschmidt, St. Mark’s Organist and Canon for Cathedral Music, has graciously offered to extend the senior/student $20 ticket price to all TAGO members. Regular admission is $25.

Please use the sign up sheet below and your name will be added to a list in order to receive the discounted ticket price at the door. Deadline for sign-up is midnight May 4th.

This offer is only for voting members of the Tacoma AGO chapter.

Discounted Ticket for All-Bach Recital

Organ Crawl in Olympia

The Olympia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists cordially invites you to join us for an organ crawl to Steamboat Island Road and Shelton to hear four interesting, and in their own way, historic organs on Saturday, 10 June.

We will begin at 10:00 at St. Christopher’s church, a paired Lutheran and Episcopal parish to hear their 1891 Pilcher which, it is said, began life at St. John’s Episcopal church in Olympia. We will then hear Paul Fritts’ Opus One which was built as Fritts Richards at Shelton United Methodist at 11:00. At noon, St. David Episcopal in Shelton will host us for lunch and then we will hear, there, Paul’s Opus 2a, also a Fritts Richards. We will conclude the day at Faith Lutheran in Shelton to hear a 1907 Pilcher moved by Randall McCarthy and friends. Questions? Addresses? Call Dennis Northway at 564 999 8333. See you there!