Category Archives: Articles

New Fall Programs

We are looking forward to a year of interesting programs for 2016/2017. While not all details are final yet, the basic outlines are  settled. Our programs will feature various interesting area organs, lecture-performances on important organ repertory, a presentation on new hymns, an open house at the Pasi shop, and some favorite Tacoma traditions.  In addition to the actual programs themselves, we are incorporating social activities that will allow members to meet and visit with each other.  Here I introduce the first four programs for the fall/winter.   As the program chair, I sincerely thank the wonderful members of the board, whose ideas and support were so essential to this planning!

We begin the year with a visit in September to a wonderful turn-of-the-previous century organ. Cheryl Drewes will introduce the 1905 Jesse Woodberry organ at Spanaway Lutheran Church, where she is organist. We ask you to invite particularly area organists of your acquaintance who are not active in our chapter to this meeting! As further incentive, there will be an after-meeting reception in the narthex/courtyard.

In October, we present the first of two lecture/demonstrations that will feature important organ repertory.  Jonathan Ryan will give a presentation at Christ Episcopal Church on J S Bach’s Clavierübung III, Bach’s monumental setting  of a mass for organ using German chorales.  This complements Mr Ryan’s complete performance of that work on October 9 in Lagerquist Hall as part of PLU’s organ recital series.  Tacoma AGO members will enjoy reduced admission ($10 instead of $15) to the recital.

The November meeting will feature a joint presentation on exciting new hymns by Cooper Sherry, Director of Music Ministry at St. Mark’s on the Narrows in Tacoma, and Shari Shull, Minister of Music at Angus Dei Lutheran Church in Gig Harbor.  They will share their extensive knowledge of church music and new hymnody with us, using the  organ and piano at First Lutheran Church in Tacoma.

Rounding out programs for the fall is our annual Advent/Christmas party,  which will be held this year at the Tacoma residence of Paul Fritts, with beautiful views of the Sound and the enchanting sounds of the Fritts Op 7 house organ.  We are quite certain that our host will be in a celebrating mood as he returns from installing his Op 37 (the largest organ built by his company to date) at the Notre Dame University Basilica in South Bend, Indiana.

The following fall programs will all be held on Mondays at 7:30 pm:

September 19 at Spanaway Lutheran Church:  Cheryl Drewes presents the 1905 Jesse Woodberry organ.  Reception to follow.

October 10 at Christ Episcopal Church, Tacoma:  Jonathan Ryan presents J S Bach’s Clavierübung III (Recital performance on October 9 at 3 pm in Lagerquist Hall, PLU).

November 14 at First Lutheran Church, Tacoma:  Cooper Sherry and Shari Shull present “The Best of New Hymns”.

December 12 at Paul Fritts’s residence in Tacoma:  Annual Advent/Christmas party featuring seasonal organ music and hymns.

New Website Feature: Classifieds

Our new Tacoma AGO website is sporting a new feature–classified ads.  It can be used by AGO members to list their services, and by others who are interested in hiring AGO members.

Any church, organization, or person seeking the services of an organist can post their own classified ad.  There is no need to write one of us to process their request. If you get any inquiries about advertising a church organist position, just direct them to our site.

Ads for Tacoma AGO members who teach or substitute are created automatically from the AGO national site.  If you have indicated on the national site that you are available to teach or substitute (or both), an ad (or two ads) will be automatically created for you on our local site.  Please make sure your teaching and substituting preferences are correct on the national site.  If they are not, change them, and the changes will be reflected locally within a day.

The automatically created ads have minimal information, but do allow the public to contact you without disclosing your email address.  The communication is handled by the website without showing your email address.  If you want to enhance your ad, you may “claim” and edit it as follows.

First, you have to change your password on the Tacoma AGO site and login.  That procedure, announced in the June newsletter, is still available here.

After logging in, choose the Classified Ads menu item located under the fourth full measure of the Quodlibet on the main page (on a standard sized screen).  Find your ad, then choose the Edit link at the bottom.  The system will email you the key necessary to edit your ad.  You may add additional contact info, a biography or other information, and pictures.  Anything you put in your ad will be public, and will be uploaded to search engines within a few hours.  The only way to delete your ad is to go to the AGO national site and uncheck the service you wish to discontinue (teaching or substituting).

AGO Houston 2016: A Brief Review

David Dahl greeting Naji Hakim at the 2016 AGO convention
David Dahl greeting Naji Hakim at the 2016 AGO convention

The American Guild of Organists held its most recent biennial national convention in Houston, Texas, June 19-23. It was a pleasure to hear several outstanding concerts and recitals and workshops. Among standout events were four recitals, three of which took place on organs built by our own local distinguished organ builders.

Pasi organ at the Co-Cathedral of Sacred Heart
Pasi organ at the Co-Cathedral of Sacred Heart

Michel Bouvard from Toulouse, France, played the official opening recital on the large Martin Pasi organ at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Enhancing the superb organ and excellent playing were the highly reverberant yet completely clear acoustics. The large space of the cathedral permitted the entire 1200 of the convention to be seated.

Two other first-rate events took place at St. Phillip Presbyterian Church, home of the superb three manual organ by Paul Fritts and Co.  German organist Ludger Lohman played a very fine program of Bach, Brahms, Chelsea Chen and Liszt. The other recital featured Hans Davidsson, Swedish organist, together with three professional ballet dancers (two of which are Davidsson’s sons) in a stunningly choreographed program using the organ music of Georg Böhm. Colorful registrations from the organ were joined with evocative dancing, all of which made for a most memorable experience.

The fourth outstanding recital (for this reviewer), was played by Daryl Robinson on the Rosales/Fisk organ at Rice University. The large organ housed in a relatively small recital hall is conceived in a French symphonic style. Robinson used the organ deftly with superb musicianship, especially apparent in his performance of the Cesar Franck Chorale II in b minor.

Composers Forum, Houston 2016 AGO convention
Composers Forum, Houston 2016 AGO convention

I also had the pleasure of hearing the premiere of my own commissioned hymn prelude on DUNEDIN as part of a Choral Evensong held at Christ Church Cathedral.

The well organized convention ran smoothly except for a couple of bus snafus, one of which involved an unnecessary two-hour bus ride in the direction of Austin, Texas that should have been only ten minutes. Yes, we missed that recital. Even the three thunderstorms and the humid 90s-degree weather did not dampen our ability to enjoy a great variety of musical treats at AGO Houston, 2016.

David Dahl

The Richard D. Moe Organ Recital Series for 2016-2017

Gottfried and Mary Fuchs organ at Pacific Lutheran University
Gottfried and Mary Fuchs organ at Pacific Lutheran University

The artists for the next Richard D. Moe Organ Series at PLU have been set. While the dates and names of organist for these events have already been included in the calendar on the Tacoma AGO website, this article hopes to give a little more background on the guest artists and/or their planned programs.

The series starts on Sunday, September 11 with an organist who needs little introduction: Nathan Laube. He is Assistant Professor of Organ at Eastman School of Music and has played recitals in many major concert halls and churches all over the world. A world class artist on a world class organ! Don’t miss it!

On Sunday, October 9 we welcome Jonathan Ryan. He is the winner of the First Prize and LeTourneau Prize in the 2009 Jordan II International Organ Competition in Columbus, GA and has appeared in recitals at major venues in the U. S. A., France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. His program will consist of selections from J. S. Bach’s “Clavierübung III”, sometimes also referred to as “The German Organ Mass”, one of the (many) masterpieces by that composer. The title page describes it quite succinctly. Here is part of the translation: “The third Part of the Keyboard Practice, consisting of various preludes on the catechism and other hymns for the organ. For music lovers and especially for connoisseurs of such work, to refresh their spirits, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.”
Jonathan Ryan will also present an AGO chapter program on this topic on Monday, October 10.

The concert on Sunday, November 6 will be given by Kathrine Handford. Ms. Handford is University Organist and Lecturer of Music at Lawrence University’s Conservatory of Music in Appleton, Wisconsin, which houses the 40-stop opus 33 of John Brombaugh. From 2005-2010 she was also Director of Music and the Arts and Organist at the historic Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, Minnesota.
She holds a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance and Literature and the highly coveted Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music, where she is currently completing the DMA.
In 1995 Handford was the winner of the 35th International J.S. Bach Competition held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In the same year, she received first prize in the John R. Rodland Scholarship Competition. She has received many grants and awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The March and April performers are no strangers to the Tacoma Chapter:

On Sunday, March 5 we will hear Jonathan Wohlers in concert. He serves as interim University Organist for the 2016-2017 academic year, replacing Paul Tegels, who is on sabbatical for that year. Jonathan has performed extensively in concerts in the United States, Mexico, Europe, South Korea, and Japan, most recently playing on the prestigious organ concert series at International Christian University, Tokyo and at St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church, Yamaguchi. He is a former Dean of the Tacoma Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, is the Director of Music at Trinity Lutheran Church, Tacoma, and is the newly appointed Artist-in-Residence on the Paul Fritts & Co. organ at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Tacoma. He holds degrees with honors from the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, from the New England Conservatory of Music, and from Southern Adventist University. His teachers include Robert Bates, William Porter, Yuko Hayashi, Judy Glass, Matthew Dirst, and Christina Edelen.

The last concert in the 2016-2017 season will take place on Sunday, April 9 and will be played by Curt Sather. Curt Sather received degrees in organ performance, studying with Robert Clark at Arizona State University and with Russell Saunders at the Eastman School of Music. He has performed across the US and around the world and has served as a church musician for nearly forty years, notably in Scottsdale, AZ; Florence, Italy; and currently as Interim Organist & Choirmaster at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Olympia.
He will perform works of J. S. Bach, Calvin Hampton, and Charles-Marie Widor.

Tickets for these concerts are $15 General Admission, $10 Senior Citizens and Students,
For updated information, visit the website:, or

New AGO Website

In order to expand functionality and flexibility, we have migrated the Tacoma AGO website to the WordPress web framework.  The URL will remain

To Gain Access

  • Navigate to
  • In the login block at the bottom of the menu column on the left, select the “Lost Password” link
  • Enter the email address on file at (the national site)
  • A password change link will be emailed to you
  • If your email address on is not correct, you must change it before you can get access to our chapter site; it takes about a day for the update to propagate locally

Summary of New Features

  • Members will be able to log in to see additional features, such as the membership directory and private locations that are not shown to the public.  Members will also be able to add events to the calendar, submit articles, post classified ads, and participate in forum discussions on various topics.  Your AGO executive committee is working on a plan for editing and maintaining content.
  • Members can log in with either their email address or their national AGO membership number, and the password established at the time of the first login.  Corrections to email addresses, names, addresses, telephone numbers and other preferences should be made on the AGO National site.  They will be automatically propagated to our local site.
  • The calendar will be updated continuously as events are sent to us.  It is possible to subscribe to the calendar so that you don’t have to manually update your own calendar.  Details are available in an article on the site.
  • The newsletter will still be emailed monthly.  It will be a summary of all of the articles posted since the last newsletter, along with the calendar.  You don’t have to wait until the newsletter comes out to see the news.  It will show up gradually on the website.  Check it regularly!
  • The email addresses formerly used to contact officers (such as and submit events and articles are discontinued.  Members can look up other members’ email addresses in the membership directory, which is visible after logging in.  Non-members will use the Contact widget located on the main menu bar.  Members will be able to submit their own events and articles, including pictures.  Instructions will be forthcoming.

Many thanks to Paul Tegels for maintaining an excellent web site for the past four years.  All of the information from that site is being migrated to the new site, including articles and all of the newsletters published since Paul has been archiving them.  They will be indexed and searchable by date or by content.  Paul will be on sabbatical for a few months but, upon his return, will continue to work on web content along with other volunteers.