Category Archives: Articles

Learn about Shape Note Singing

Join us on February 17, 2020, at 7:00 PM in the Ness Family Chapel at Pacific Lutheran University for our February program on shape note singing.

Shape note singing evolved in England in the 18th century and became popular in early America, both in sacred and secular settings.

Star in the East, an example of shape note notation

Eric Rutherford, Director of Music at Federal Way United Methodist Church, recently completed a dissertation on shape note singing. He will present a synopsis of the history and theory of this notation. During the last half of the program, the audience will gain practical experience in reading and singing from shape note manuscript.

Choral music is part of our mission, and we focus on choral music several times a year. This program is a great opportunity to invite guests who might be interested in membership. Feel free to invite your choir!

Joseph Adam Discusses Louis Vierne at January Meeting

In honor of the 150th anniversary of the birth of French organist Louis Vierne, the Tacoma AGO chapter hosted a joint meeting with Seattle to hear about Vierne’s life and work.

The chapters gathered at Farrelli’s Pizza in Parkland, close to the campus of Pacific Lutheran University, for a joint dinner before the meeting.

AGO members at Farrelli’s Pizza

Afterward, the group headed over to Lagerquist Hall, home of Fritts Organs Opus 18, to hear dual member Joseph Adam present a lecture-demonstration on the life and works of Louis Vierne.

Tacoma AGO Subdean Sheila Bristow introduces Joseph Adam

Louis Vierne encountered significant adversity in his life, beginning with congenital cataracts. Though his vision was eventually improved with surgery, he never saw more than shapes and had to compose his music on very large scores. Though he had excellent training, including the Paris Conservatory, he often competed unsuccessfully with his organist colleagues for jobs, students and other opportunities.

During his lecture, Joseph Adam traced Vierne’s life, from the time he first heard a piano, his family’s move to Paris, his study at the conservatory, and influence by C├ęsar Franck and other prominent organists of the day.

Following the lecture, Adam played several pieces to correlate points from his lecture with Vierne’s music. The handout from the meeting is reproduced below.

AGO member Joseph Adam discusses Louis Vierne

Joseph Adam is a dual member of the Seattle and Tacoma AGO chapters. He is the Director of Music at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, and the resident organist at Benaroya Hall. St. James Cathedral will highlight the music of Louis Vierne during this 150th anniversary year.


Message from Retired Member Sharon Bennett

Sharon Bennett, a Tacoma AGO member for 50 years, sends along news of her retirement.

I have recently moved to an independent living facility and need to part with my Cable-Nelson upright piano. It is both in very good condition and in tune! Una Hwang suggested I contact AGO to widen the net for finding a new home for this gem. I would like to sell it and have pictures if that would be of assistance. My son-in-law is able to deliver it, if necessary. If there is someone else who should handle this, would you please pass it along? My phone number is 253-564-3882. Thank you for your help and consideration. I’m available to answer questions if need be.


January Meeting: Dinner with Seattle and Program with Joseph Adam and Louis Vierne

Plan to join us on January 20, 2019, at 5:30 PM at Farelli’s Pizza in Parkland for a no-host joint dinner with members from the Seattle chapter. This is a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues we may not see very often from both chapters. The address of the restaurant and other details are in the calendar entry.

Following dinner, we will reassemble at Lagerquist Hall where member Joseph Adam will present a lecture-demonstration on the music of Louis Vierne in celebration of his 150th birthday. Mr. Adam is Director of Music at St. James Roman Catholic Cathedral, Seattle; Resident Organist at Benaroya Hall; and Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington. St. James Cathedral is presenting a recital series of the complete organ music of Vierne over the course of the year 2020, including several performances by Mr. Adam.

The 2019 Christmas Party

Sandy and Dick Tietjen hosted the 2019 Tacoma AGO Christmas party in their beautifully decorated University Place home.

After enjoying a spectacular assortment of holiday food and drink, members were treated to a short performance featuring three very varied manifestations of the musical talent represented. In keeping with our mission, each of the performances involved Fritts Opus 30, a 7-rank house organ.

Wyatt Smith, who serves as the associate director of music and communications minister at Epiphany Parish of Seattle and affiliate artist in organ and harpsichord at the University of Puget Sound, opened the short recital with a selection from Nico Muhly’s O Antiphon Preludes.

Wyatt Smith plays from Nico Muhly O Antiphon Preludes

Satya Jaech organized a pickup choir to perform Puer natus in Bethlehem (Michael Praetorius) accompanied by organ and cello.

Ending the musical review, members Cheryl and Tim Drewes played a set of seasonal music for tuba and organ.

Photo Gallery

Many thanks to Sandy and Dick Tietjen for being wonderful hosts, as always. Thanks also to Rick Jaech for his videography skills.