On Thanksgiving weekend everyone in our neighborhood decided to decorate their houses at the same time, and with all the lights it looks quite festive around our house. And so it is that time of year again and time to celebrate together! Our annual Christmas Party will be at the Tietjen’s this year, when we will gather to enjoy music of the season next Monday. I hope to see all of you there. It is a time of year when music is all around and a great chance to share the wonders of the organ with the community. With a generous offer from the Seattle chapter, this year we are hosting “Organ in the Mall” on Dec. 15, 5-8 p.m. It will be a great opportunity to introduce the organ to Christmas shoppers who might have never seen an organ up close. For this to happen though, we still need some volunteers to play. The suggestion of the Seattle chapter, which has held similar events in the past, is to play something light, such as improvising on well-known Christmas repertoire. If you don’t improvise at all, you might purchase a book of holiday music, or just bring your organ book and sightread, or you can play what you might be planning for Christmas at your church. There are so many ways to show off our instrument, but doing so in a secular setting like this is an especially unique opportunity. Just do what you think is most effective! Be creative! Have fun!! And sign up on the Tacoma Chapter website to make this happen. Thank you for your support and participation, and an early Merry Christmas!
All Saints’ Sunday, Thanksgiving, Advent, then Christmas—WOW! For organists, this is certainly a hectic time of the year. It goes by so rapidly. Even in these busy, busy days, we are greatly blessed by the wonderful music to be made and enjoyed. In the midst of it all, be sure to make time for our next meeting, where we will study “hands-on conducting” with Don Dunscomb assisted by Curt Sather. In conversation at our last gathering, some of you mentioned to me that because you are not conducting a church choir, the next meeting won’t be for you. I said, “No, no, no! Please, come! Please do come!!!” Organists are normally good at sight-singing and are generally good singers. When I was a student, I always liked attending the conducting class that had many organists participating. This should be a fun event for singing and making music with friends, and it will offer a constructive learning opportunity for many of us, if not all. Bring a friend, and I’ll see you all there — Kilworth Memorial Chapel at University of Puget Sound. Parking is always available at night on the same street as the chapel.
Greetings all! Jon and I are hosting my friend Marc Fitze from Switzerland, who is playing a concert at my church today (Oct. 1). We haven’t seen him for over 15 years since we were all students together in Boston, but it feels like nothing has changed, even though many things happened since the last time we met. There is something about the friends whom I’ve met through music that is different from those friends without. Of course, I am not saying it is a better kind of friendship, but knowing where each other is musically, even when our paths were crossing, is so comforting and encouraging. In the middle of my studies at conservatory when I hung out with friends such as Marc, Jon and others, I realized that making the decision of growing through music through the whole of my life was the best decision I could make for my life, and I still think it was and is. What a gift to be able to live with music, to learn, grow and share!
A word of thanks to all involved with our first meeting of the year at the Paul Fritts & Co. workshop in September — a great kickoff for this program year! Not only did we have the chance to see and hear a new and beautiful organ, but we also met many new faces! So exciting!! Our next meeting will take place on October 16 at 7:30 at Christ Episcopal Church with a program on the hymns of the Reformation led by Dr. Samuel Torvend. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about this great body of hymnody in this 500th Anniversary year of Martin Luther.
Invite your friends, and see you there!
Naomi Shiga, Dean
May I say, “happy fall” already? The end of summer always leaves me with mixed feelings of wanting to spend more “summer life” time relaxing, recharging, but also being excited with the possibilities for the newness of things beginning again, new repertoire, new friends, new everything! To all of you, welcome back to the Tacoma AGO season of programs for 2017–2018! To those of you who are new to our chapter, a special welcome to you!! Our chapter is always looking for new learning opportunities and ways of sharing our knowledge, our music, and the fabulous instruments we have here in Tacoma. The planning committee and executive committee have been hard at work this summer planning for this season’s programs, and I know you will enjoy these meetings. Our first chapter meeting for the season will be on Monday, September 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Fritts shop (630 121st St. E., Tacoma, WA 98445). We will have an opportunity to see, to listen, and to play the newest Paul Fritts & Co. organ before it leaves the shop for its future home in Bloomington, IN. Please feel free to invite your friends and be there!
Happy Spring! This is the last Dean’s letter this season, and this month we will close the program year with our annual student recital. Thanks to the students for their participation this year with their busy school schedule. On and off through the year the students performing this month came to our monthly meetings, and I got to know everyone a little better. What interesting, artistic and intelligent people they all are. For this year, organ students from PLU as well as our scholarship recipient, Amy Castle are the only students from the chapter to perform (maybe with some of our members participating as well). I believe that you know them too, but in case you don’t, I would like to introduce them briefly here.
Amy is a senior at Covenant High School, and she has been taking organ lesson from Jonathan Wohlers for several years. From this fall, she will attend Seattle Pacific University. We have observed her musical growth these three years. Wow… what a talent. We will miss her, but I hope that she will come back to join us at AGO whenever possible since her home is here! There are four PLU organists this semester. Charles is sophomore pursuing a music education degree with a choral emphasis. He plays keyboards on Sunday evenings for University Congregation’s praise team. His passion is singing, and he is a part of PLU’s Choral Union. Wendell recently learned he will be a Seattle AGO scholarship recipient. His former life was as a boat captain for 15 years and now he is working on his nursing degree. He studied organ with Doug Cleveland before coming to PLU where he is a music minor. Jayden is junior majoring English literature with a minor in visual art. When you have a chance, ask her to share her art notebook. Just amazing! Her favorite composers are Debussy and Ravel and she enjoys playing piano, but decided to take organ lessons this year because she like the sound. This is her first year taking organ lessons. Chris is a senior in music education graduating this semester. His plans after PLU are to study music therapy. While at PLU he took piano lessons as well as organ. His introduction to the organ was through our POE Tech! Yay!!! He told me how much he enjoyed our POET! All the night meetings and actual work putting that event together—hearing this from him made me feel all the efforts of those in our chapter who worked on the POET really payed off. We made young people get excited and look at Chris, he knows so much about the organ and he plays beautifully. Again, good job and way to go, Tacoma AGO!!
Thanks, student members for providing music, and non-student members. Let’s simply enjoy music! Thanks everyone for your participation for the AGO in 2016–17. Enjoy your summer and see you in the fall with new program year!