Category Archives: Dean’s Message

Monthly dean’s message, shows up on front page under calendar

Dean’s Message October 2023

Perhaps at one of your piano or organ lessons, your teacher presented a composition and said, “I wrote this piece especially for you.” It may have been in your favorite style, or to perfect a certain technique, or a clever combination of both. Composers of all generations have been writing for their students: Bach, Beethoven, Kabalevsky, Bartok, and certainly more. One of my son’s piano teachers wrote a suite of pieces, each dedicated to a student, including Isaac. I know some of you have also written for your students and choirs. I can’t think of a more beautiful measure of support!

What got me thinking about all of this is our October chapter event, featuring the compositions of David Dahl in his collection, “Hymn Interpretations.” Several of us will each demonstrate one piece, as assigned by David, ever the consummate teacher. To Tim, he said, “I think this will be a good one for you.” David didn’t hint at why he assigned my piece, but once I saw the score, it was obvious, and made me smile. I expect the same for the others because David is always thinking about what would be most helpful or encouraging for the developing musician – and no matter what our age or experience, we are always developing musicians.

We encourage you to join us for Hymn Interpretations, at Christ Episcopal Church, Tacoma, on Saturday, October 21, at 10:30am. David will share a bit about each of his compositions, all of them uniquely attractive, and written with specific intention in mind. In hearing these gems, you most certainly will take home insights and ideas for your own interpretations of hymns, all accessible approaches. You might even be inspired to compose an original piece. Thank you, David, for sharing your gifts with us, so that we can make them our own!

On a related note, I encourage you to read Sheila Bristow’s article, “Back to School, for a look at the numerous educational opportunities available to us as life-long learners. There are both in-person and online options covering performance and music ministry topics. Remember also to check our website event page, which is growing longer with great events over the coming months, including our chapter’s new AGO lunch, the first of which is at Cactus Restaurant, Tacoma, on October 13, at noon.



Dean’s Message September 2023

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. For a final getaway, Tim and I escaped to Port Townsend, a favorite haunt of ours. We love the Victorian buildings downtown and the ornate homes in the surrounding neighborhood. Among the architectural gems of the city are First Presbyterian Church, home of the 1887 Whalley & Genung organ, and Trinity United Methodist Church, home of the 1902 Bernard Mudler organ. Both instruments are richly adorned in elaborate stenciling. We performed at First Presbyterian long ago, and what a joy it was to experience such a wonderful instrument! At some point, we hope to get acquainted with the Mudler organ, as well.

As we walked along the nearby beach between Point Hudson Marina and Point Wilson Lighthouse, a heron nabbed a delectable fish, and we savored the sea breeze. It was a quiet opportunity to think about what’s ahead for our churches, both of which are four months into the interim process of calling the next clergy. Indeed, there are currently more than a few colleagues and friends serving congregations in transition. Tim and I approach the unknowns with watchful waiting, while grateful to be included in the ongoing conversation. All things considered, it is reassuring. I hope others find similar reasons to remain hopeful.

Looking ahead, please mark your calendar for our Opening Potluck Picnic, Monday, September 18th, from 4:30-7:30pm, in the beautiful garden of David Dahl and Loi Le. Thank you, both, for inviting us, once again!

Also, keep a close watch on our website event page and your emails for dates and information about our chapter events soon to be scheduled, including a presentation of David Dahl’s “Hymn Interpretations” by chapter members, and our Annual Christmas Party, hosted by Sandy and Dick Tietjen in their lovely home.

Finally, the TAGO Scholarship Program application process is now open, and the required essay and audio recording must be received by October 31, 2023. For more information, please see our website scholarship page.



Dean’s Message July 2023

July is here, with August soon to follow. For the church musician, the liturgical year is far less busy now. Music educators similarly find a welcome change of pace after another full school year. Our membership also includes performing artists, who actually might find themselves busier during the summer. Still others have a regular schedule of work or retirement all year long. Even so, I hope summer brings everyone an invitation to renewal – whether that is the opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues at any number of conventions and festivals, a chance to find retreat in the quiet majesty of the Pacific Northwest mountains, or a simple pause in routine during the glorious long evenings.

In July and August, there is no shortage of compelling events. As I look at the calendar, I see many performances coming up by next-generation artists with significant ties to the Tacoma-Seattle area. What a joy to see young musicians, having charted their own course, come into their own. Bravo!

Two more events of note include:

The Open House at Paul Fritts’ shop on July 23 from 1:00-3:00 to see Opus 43, a new 2-manual 32-stop organ bound for St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Terrace Park, Ohio.

The Tacoma Bach Festival, from July 28-30, under the direction of Dr. Steven Zopfi. I encourage you to see the event listings for more details about the three concerts, which all look wonderful! Also, do check out the TBF website to learn more about the organization, which was founded in 2022.

I look forward to seeing many of you at upcoming events, or as our paths cross. May the summer be a blessing to all!



Dean’s Message June 2023

June is here! The tomato and cucumber plants along the south wall are thriving in the freshly tilled, warm soil. Basil starts are ready for planting, strawberries need picking again, and the blueberries are starting to blush. What a beautiful month to consider the abundant year of TAGO events! I’m so grateful to our board, artists, and presenters who brought such stellar programming to our chapter and the greater community. And to our members and guests in attendance – it’s always great to see you, and we deeply appreciate your participation as we continue to cultivate community and support for one another.

Program planning for the 2023-2024 season will begin soon under the leadership of our sub-dean, Wyatt Smith, and the program committee. We would love to have your ideas for the coming year, as well. What topics interest you? Have you been to other events (beyond TAGO) that you think would work out well for our chapter? As always, your thoughts are welcome!

Looking ahead, while we don’t have an official meeting in June, the board is exploring the possibility of a social event sometime this summer. Please keep an eye on your emails for notification and more information.

Also note the Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, performed by the Seattle Symphony and leading organist, Thierry Escaich, on June 1, 3, and 4. Remember that Tacoma and Seattle Chapter members are eligible for a fifteen percent ticket discount though Seattle Symphony’s Rendezvous Program. Click here for discount instructions. Tim and I are attending this Saturday’s performance, and hope to see a few of you there!



Dean’s Message May 2023

Many people, both long-time Pacific Northwesterners and newcomers, have told me how impressed they are with the local pipe organ scene. The culture here is so vibrant, with a great many splendid instruments large and small, and stellar performances. Everyone plays with such a high level of artistry, professional and avocational musicians alike. So true! And even more – we benefit from a collaborative spirit of support and encouragement among peers, colleagues, teachers, and students such that connections are made, friendships blossom, and there is an almost endless opportunity to engage and grow. As a piano and organ teacher, I’m especially glad to see a few of my students find a place in the community of organists, which almost always starts at the chapter level. And from there, who knows? Maybe one day a student becomes a college professor, a lifelong church musician, an organ builder. Now that the Pacific Northwest weather has finally found sunshine and warmth, we can be encouraged by the garden metaphor to remember what happens when the soil is cultivated, and seeds planted. Abundance grows!

Looking ahead at a couple of exciting events coming up soon!

All-Bach on the Flentrop Organ, at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle, Friday, May 5, at 7:30pm, performed by Nathan Laube, associate Professor of Organ at the Eastman School of Music and International Consultant in Organ Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Tacoma Chapter members are eligible for a ticket discount of 20 percent. Click here to sign up for this discount.

Silent Movie Mondays at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle, May 8, at 7:00pm. Organist Christian Elliott will accompany the comedy, Exit Smiling (1926). It has become a chapter tradition to meet at the Tacoma Dome to travel by public transportation to Seattle, this time by the commuter train in, and bus back. Click here for specific instructions.

One more event, for which you may want to purchase tickets ahead of time:

Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony, performed by the Seattle Symphony and leading organist, Thierry Escaich, June 1, 3, and 4. Tacoma and Seattle Chapter members are eligible for a ticket discount though Seattle Symphony’s Rendezvous Program. Click here for discount instructions.