View of organ in gallery along with audience and woman speaking

Wyatt Smith Presents Program on Margaret Sandresky

On November 10, 2022, Tacoma and Seattle AGO members joined a large audience of residents at Wesley Des Moines to hear Wyatt Smith discuss the life and works of Margaret Sandresky. Wesley is a retirement home and continuing care community located in Des Moines, WA. Wesley is fortunate to have a spacious chapel with a gallery that houses Fritts Organs opus 46. There are few retirement communities that can claim ownership over a world class mechanical action organ in an acoustical setting that was designed to house it.

Woman in yellow jacket standing in the front of a room holding a microphone
Susan McConnell, Executive Directory of the Wesley Community Foundation, welcoming attendees

Residents and AGO members were welcomed by Susan McConnell, Executive Director of the Wesley Community Foundation. In addition to graciously hosting the event, the Foundation provided an elegant reception afterward where chapter members got to chat with Wesley residents.

A woman sits on the bench of a 3-manual tracker organ
Margaret Sandresky, organist and composer

Margaret Sandresky was born in Macon, Georgia, attended schools in Winston-Salem, NC, and graduated from Salem Academy and College. She earned a Master of Music in Composition from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the State Institute of Music in Frankfurt, Germany. Sandresky has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the University of Texas at Austin, the North Carolina School of the Arts, and at Salem College. She has received commissions funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Carolina Arts Council, the Reynolda House, Museum of American Art, and the North Carolina Music Teachers Association. She now lives in a retirement home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and at age 101 still composes every day.

Man standing in gallery in front of organ holding microphone
Wyatt Smith delivering introductory remarks on Margaret Sandresky

Wyatt Smith, Subdean of the Tacoma chapter and member of the Seattle chapter as well, has studied the music of Margaret Sandresky for several years, and is planning a recording project featuring her music. Sandresky has left a sizable set of compositions, eleven volumes to date. In presenting an overview of her work, Dr. Smith chose representative works from various volumes, gave some background information on them, and then played them, ending with Helena’s Wedding March from volume XI.

The handout provided at the event is attached at the bottom of this article.


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