Outstanding presenters have been gathered to provide varied topics for education and inspiration. Time has been scheduled to allow for personal enrichment and professional development. Take advantage of these opportunities for growth and expansion of your professional skills.
Workshop Title: Hymns – Tips, Tricks and Traps
Workshop Presenter: Peter Bates
Workshop Description: With fewer community choruses surviving and even fewer families gathering around the piano at home to sing, some congregations find hymn singing to be a dry and lifeless exercise. However, some congregations experience robust singing of hymns (old and new). As organists in a 21st century ecclesiastical environment, we need to do our part to eradicate lackluster singing from the pews. In this session we will explore ways to energize the “People’s Song” through introductions that entice singing, phrasing and registration that enhance the text, not detract from it, and interludes & modulations that generate an extra bit of energy to keep the congregation singing with enthusiasm.
Presenter Bio: Peter L. Bates has been on the staff of Covenant Presbyterian Church as minister of music and resident organist since June 1997. He holds a Master's degree in Music, specializing in organ performance. His organ instructors include: G. Leland Ralph of Sacramento, Bill Thomson of Thousand Oaks and Lloyd Holzgraf of Los Angeles. Mr. Bates also serves the AGO as Southern California Area District Convener, involving leadership for organists in ten regional Chapters and is Director of the Committee on Sharing Skills and Resources for the American Guild of Organists national organization. He has been honored by The Long Beach Alumnae of Sigma Alpha Iota as a “Friend of the Arts” for his contributions to the musical life of Long Beach.
Workshop Title: Hymn-Based Organ Music: How to Find it on the Web and Elsewhere
Workshop Presenter: Margaret Evans
Workshop Description: This workshop will look at how to find free hymn-based organ music at IMSLP and elsewhere on the web, as well as how to find materials (organ and choral) through the Church Music Institute organ and choral databases.
Presenter Bio: Margaret R. Evans is Professor of Music Emerita at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. Her degrees are from Chatham University, the University of Michigan, and the Eastman School of Music, where she also received the Performer’s Certificate. For 50 years she served various churches as organist/choir director. She currently is compiling the organ database (works based on hymn tunes) for the Church Music Institute as well as teaching various courses on music and philanthropy at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Southern Oregon University. She is Dean of the Southern Oregon Chapter and served 4 years as national vice president of the AGO.
Skye Matthew Hart
Workshop Title: On the Spot: Practical Ideas for Service Improvisation
Workshop Presenter: Skye Matthew Hart
Workshop Description: Improvisation is an invaluable tool for organists, especially in the context of service playing. More than just "filling the gaps" it provides you with your own unique musical voice. Together, we will explore various ideas for simple yet convincing improvisations, using form, pattern, motif, tonal color, and text treatment. Will will also discuss strategies for creative service playing, including hymn introductions, interludes, and final verses. Concepts will be demonstrated at the console, as well as in a written handout for you to take ideas home with you and experiment. Unleash the improvisor within, and give yourself permission to go off the page! Soon, you may find yourself improvising not out of necessity, but because you really enjoy it!
Presenter Bio: An avid musician with an equal love for solo performance and church music, Dr. Skye Matthew Hart has been privileged to perform on notable instruments in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. He is currently Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Maria Goretti Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, and director of the Newman Schola at All Saints Newman Center at Arizona State University in Tempe. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance from Arizona State University, and undergraduate degrees in music and French from Lyon College. Past teachers include Kimberly Marshall, Russell Stinson, Siegbert Rampe, and additional studies with Serge Schoonbroodt, and Sophie-Véronique Cauchefer-Choplin. He has performed with the ASU Baroque Ensemble, the Symphonic Chorale, the Phoenix Symphony, and has served as accompanist for international choir tours. Skye is also a lyric tenor and was featured on The First Printed Organ Music on the Gothic label. Skye recently served as Dean of the Central Arizona Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and was a semi-finalist in the National Competition in Organ Improvisation (NCOI) in Montréal, Québec, and in the International Organ Competition Agati Tronci, in Pistoia, Italy. Skye also enjoys teaching a private studio of talented organists, and has facilitated summer music camps for young organists and string players, including a Pipe Organ Encounter (POE) this past year.
Workshop Title: New Dimensions in the World of Sound: Music for Instrumental Ensembles and Organ in Worship
Workshop Presenter: Jeff Held
Workshop Description: For the past decade, Concordia University has been commissioning substantial, through-composed hymn settings for orchestras (wind orchestra or chamber orchestra) through its New Dimension Fund (www.cui.edu/newdimensionfund). Hear and learn about some of that music performed live on Concordia's Casavant organ by Tom Mueller with a large ensemble conducted by Jeff Held.
Presenter Bio: Jeff Held is the music director of the Concordia Wind Orchestra and the Concordia Sinfonietta, and Assistant Dean in the School of Arts and Sciences. He joined the faculty of Concordia University in 2005 and established most of the existing orchestral instrument program at the university. Dr. Held received the Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education from Boston University. His research interest was comparing learning atmospheres for music majors between large and small universities. He received a master's degree from The American Band College at Southern Oregon University and an undergraduate degree in music from Valparaiso University. In addition, he completed the Lutheran Teaching Colloquy from Concordia University Irvine. Held is known for his innovative hymn festivals for large venues, clever family pops concerts, sacred-theme concerts, implementation of new music for wind band and orchestral music in worship, and engaging lectures about music.
Workshop Title: Healthy Choral Techniques
Workshop Presenter: Marin Jacobson
Workshop Description: Healthy singing creates a pleasing tone that is buoyant, expressive, and free of tension. This session will explore ways to help choir members release tension and discover a more enjoyable way of singing. The techniques experienced in this workshop may be integrated into weekly choir rehearsals to help singers feel empowered to make intentional choices to improve their singing. While some techniques are well-suited to an initial vocal warm-up or voice-building portion of rehearsal, many techniques will also be applied to anthems. Come ready to sing and move!
Presenter Bio: Dr. Marin Jacobson is Music Department Chair, Director of Music Education, and Associate Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Concordia University Irvine where she conducts the Concordia Men’s Chorus and Donne di Canto (women’s choir) and teaches choral methods, secondary methods, vocal pedagogy and literature, aural skills, and voice. Choirs under her direction have toured the western United States, Hawaii and Austria. She hosts three annual educational outreach events: the Collegiate Women’s Choir Festival, the Invitational High School Women’s Chorus Festival and the Elementary/Middle Schools Choral Festival. Dr. Jacobson brings a wealth of experience in collegiate, church, community, school, and studio settings to her work at Concordia. Beyond the university, she leads choral clinics for high school and middle school choirs and conducts and adjudicates choral festivals. Prior to coming to Concordia, Jacobson conducted the Ames Chamber Artists and was founding director of the Mankato Children’s Chorus. Jacobson earned the DMA in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy from The University of Iowa, a MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Minnesota, and a BA in Vocal Music Education from St. Olaf College. Jacobson’s professional activities include scholarship, performance, and composition. Her article “Text and Musical Gesture in the Choral Music of Rebecca Clarke” was featured in the April 2016 issue of the Choral Journal. Jacobson sings with the Pacific Chorale and has premiered several of her compositions with the Concordia University choirs. She is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO).
Workshop Title: Handbell Techniques – What do all those notations mean and how do you ring them?
Workshop Presenter: Nancy Jessup
Workshop Description: We will learn current handbell notations and techniques and will experience them. It will be a fun hands-on class. Come with questions.
Presenter Bio: Nancy Jessup teaches handbells at Concordia University, Irvine, where she is responsible for one of the three handbell choirs, teaches private handbell lessons, coaches the small handbell ensemble, RESOUND!, as well as handbell coaching on all levels. She also teaches the Handbell Methods class. Nancy has been ringing for over 40 years and has taught at conferences and workshops throughout the United States, in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In addition to handbells, Nancy was an elementary classroom teacher for years and has been a University Supervisor for elementary student teachers.
Workshop Title: An Organist Prepares
Workshop Presenter: Frances Johnston
Workshop Description: Ways to make your music integral to the whole worship experience, including selection of voluntaries, segues and transitions, hymn playing, and accompanying a choral rehearsal.
Presenter Bio: Frances Johnston has been a professional church organist continuously since she was 16 years old. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance from the University of Southern California where she studied with Ladd Thomas. Additional organ studies have been with James Hurd and Esther Jones.
In 1991, Ms. Johnston became the organist of Trinity United Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana, and more recently her position expanded into the fulltime role Organist/Music Associate. With her love for and facility in a broad range of musical styles, she has been key in facilitating the successful transformation of the church’s worship style from traditional to blended, thereby enabling a new generation of worshippers to find beauty and meaning in organ music, hymnody, and traditional choral works. Her bridge-building includes composing organ voluntaries customized to particular services, some based on traditional hymns, and others based on contemporary praise songs.
As Music Associate, Ms. Johnston serves on the planning team for the blended services and frequently offers organ/worship lecture-demonstrations to people of all ages, from children through senior adults. She is also the graphics designer for the screen used in the blended services, artistically guiding worshippers through the meaning and progression of the service elements and themes.
For 24 years, Ms. Johnston served as the choral and handbell teacher and Fine Arts Department chair of St. Matthias High School in Downey, California. She continues to use her varied skills for the advancement and achievement of the Trinity choral program: as a gifted accompanist/director, vocal coach, choral arranger, and orchestrator.
Ms. Johnston is Past Dean of the Pasadena Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and currently serves as Registrar of the Orange County Chapter. She is in demand as a freelance keyboardist, playing for choirs, orchestras, soloists, musical theater productions and workshops throughout Southern California.
Workshop Title: Masterclass on the four manual, 82 rank Aeolian-Skinner (Opus 1141) in the Arboretum on the campus of Christ Cathedral
Workshop Presenter: Tom Mueller
Presenter Bio: Dr. Tom Mueller is Assistant Professor of Church Music and University Organist at Concordia University in Irvine, California, where he directs academic programs in keyboard, composition, and jazz. An award-winning church musician, he serves as the Associate Organist at St. James’ Church in Los Angeles, where he accompanies the acclaimed Choir of St. James’ under the direction of James Buonemani. He is an active recitalist, clinician, and adjudicator.
In 2014, Mueller was awarded first place in the Schoenstein Competition in Hymn-Playing, held in conjunction with the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Boston, Massachusetts. He was honored by The Diapason as a member of the inaugural “20 Under 30” list of influential figures in the world of organ and church music in 2015.
He maintains an active concert schedule, and has performed at universities and churches across the United States. In 2010, he performed the complete organ works of J. S. Bach in a series of seventeen concerts in his native state of Maine. He has received numerous commissions for new choral and liturgical works, and performances of his compositions have been broadcast on national radio and television. Mueller is also an accomplished guitarist, and toured the country as a member of The Muellers, a nationally-recognized family bluegrass band. Their fourth album, The Muellers, was released in 2009.
Research interests include the early organ and keyboard works of J. S. Bach, the performance practice of organ continuo playing in the classical-era concerted sacred music of Germany and Austria, and the American reception of the nineteenth-century opera star Jenny Lind. He has presented workshops, masterclasses, and lectures for numerous organizations, including several chapters of the American Guild of Organists, and has served as a faculty member for the Guild’s Pipe Organ Encounter (POE) program for young organists. He currently serves on the national Committee for Continuing Professional Education (CCPE) of the AGO, as a regional president for Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and chairs the organ study grant program of the Orange County chapter of the AGO.
Mueller earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with David Higgs. He also holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame (M.S.M. in organ), and the University of Maine at Augusta (B.M. in jazz composition and piano), where he graduated summa cum laude. His former teachers include Craig Cramer, Alan Wingard, William Porter, Frank Mauceri, and Steve Grover, and he has performed in masterclasses with Stephen Tharp, Isabelle Demers, Ken Cowan, Alan Morrison, Michael Bauer, and Diane Meredith Belcher, among others. He resides in Orange County with his wife and two daughters.
Workshop Title: Mid-Career Survival Skills
Workshop Presenter: Gregory Norton
Workshop Description: Grand ambitions and sky-high dreams may have propelled us through degree programs and the launching of music careers. The realities of parish life, a rapidly changing culture, and the limits of one’s own preparation may catch up with us as the years pass. What are the sources of professional development after the diploma is framed? Come share thoughts and practices about living as a lifelong learner pursuing new goals and skills.
Presenter Bio: Gregory Norton began keyboard and violin studies at age eight and has spent a lifetime as a musician of wide-ranging interests. For over thirty years he has conducted choirs and orchestras in community and church settings in California and Colorado and is also active as an organist, presenter and liturgist. His performing life has led him from the adobe churches of Santa Fe to the cathedrals of England, and choirs under his direction have toured Germany, Austria and Mexico. Recordings of his choirs have been heard across the U.S. on the public radio programs Pipedreams and With Hearts and Voices and his compositions and arrangements are published by H.T. FitzSimons and Emerson Music.
Greg serves as Minister of Music at First United Methodist Church in Pasadena and recently concluded a 25-year tenure as Music Director of The Claremont Chorale. Prior appointments include seven years at Westwood United Methodist Church in Los Angeles and fifteen years as Minister of Music at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. His choirs have led worship at regional and national conventions of the American Guild of Organists and Greg has served in the leadership of the Guild’s Denver, Pasadena and Los Angeles chapters. From 2004 to 2008 he served as National Chaplain. In that capacity he contributed a monthly column to The American Organist journal and was invited by local chapters to teach, preach and lead worship. Currently he is the West Region’s Coordinator for Professional Development.
A native of Redlands, Greg holds degrees in conducting from Chapman College and the University of Southern California and the Colleague (CAGO) diploma from the Guild. He attended the Iliff School of Theology in Denver and is an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church. www.gnortonmusic.com
Workshop Title: An Organ in Every Home: Digital Technology Revolution for Organists
Workshop Presenter: Charlie Raasch
Workshop Description: You can practice at home - it makes such a huge difference. Modern technology has brought organ cost down to a point where it is affordable for all serious organists. We will also discuss the importance of digital sampling, how technology's progress has made this possible, and its impact to our craft.
Presenter Bio: Charles F. Raasch is a long time resident of Orange County. He has been active in music here for over 35 years. He has played for Lutheran, Catholic and Presbyterian churches over the years, and has substituted at churches and venues throughout the area. He is currently the organist for the St. John's, Orange concert series, playing literature and composing new works which often find their debut at these concerts. He is also Past Dean of the Orange County chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He has studied with Esther Jones and Michael Burkhardt and is currently studying with Dr. Tom Mueller.
Charles is an electrical engineer by trade, and in addition to a passion for playing organ music, is involved in developing hardware and software for digital organs. He has built several digital organ consoles in use by himself and his colleagues, and has sampled many local pipe organs which are sold worldwide on the Hauptwerk software platform. He currently is employed as an electrical engineer at Spireon in Irvine. He lives with his wife Leslie and dogs Alice and Olive in Foothill Ranch, California.
Leslie Wolf Robb
Workshop Title: Growing the Next Generation of Organists
Workshop Presenter: Leslie Wolf Robb
Workshop Description: Want to help grow the next generation of organists? Not all of them are under 18, and some of them are already accomplished pianists. In this interactive workshop, we’ll discuss determining readiness for organ lessons, encouraging college and adult pianists to expand their skill sets via organ study, motivating students to practice (and where to find the organs and organ shoes to make it possible!), mentoring, and resources.
Presenter Bio: Leslie Wolf Robb received her B.A. in music from San Diego State University with an emphasis in organ and music education, and has done extensive graduate work in keyboard pedagogy there as well. She holds a Colleague’s Certificate from the American Guild of Organists and was awarded a D.H. Baldwin Fellowship. Leslie has serves as Director of Music Ministries for St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School and also teaches piano and organ.
Leslie has served on the board of the San Diego chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) in many capacities, worked on both the 2001 and 2015 conventions, and was involved in the planning and production of each of San Diego AGO’s six Pipe Organ Encounters. She currently chairs the chapter’s Education Committee. At the national level, she served as director of the Committee on Regional Conventions and the Committee on Regional Competitions for Young Organists, and was AGO Councillor for the West Region from 2010-2014. She served as director of the AGO's National Nominating Committee from 2010-2014 and is now the director of the Committee on Pipe Organ Encounters.
She has presented workshops on teaching young organists, developing scholarship programs, chapter development and leadership at the local, regional, and national levels for AGO, and writes occasionally for The American Organist. Her materials for organ instruction are published by Wayne Leupold Editions.
Workshop Title: Choral Reading Session
Workshop Presenter: John Romeri
Workshop Description: Enjoy the latest from EC Schirmer, Gallaxy and Morningstar Music Publishers in a fast-paced reading session with Morningstar's Cathedral Series editor, John Romeri. Receive a music packet which will include the newest publications as well as some best selling chestnuts.
Presenter Bio: John A Romeri in December 2015 became the Director of Music and Organist for Christ Cathedral in the Diocese of Orange California. John serves as the first Music Director for this newly formed Cathedral Parish where he will develop the cathedral music program and assist the parish as they prepare to move into the former Crystal Cathedral building. He is the conductor of the newly formed Cathedral Choir, Vietnamese Cathedral Choir, Diocesan Children’s Choir and the Diocesan Adult Choir. He is also the host of the radio program, “Music from the Tower” featuring the very best in Sacred and Classical Music, available on the radio each Saturday evening or on the website, ChristCathedralMusic.org. The cathedral organ is the fifth largest organ in the world and is being restored by the Ruffatti Pipe Organ Builders of Padova, Italy. The Diocese of Orange is the 8th largest diocese in the United States. John served in similar positions in the dioceses of Philadelphia, St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
Dr. Romeri earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance, Magna cum Laude, from the Conservatory of Music, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey. He also holds the Choirmaster and Associate Certificates from the American Guild of Organists. In 1998, he was presented an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Lindenwood University in Saint Louis.
He has served as chair of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians’ National Board of Directors and was named “Pastoral Musician of the Year” by that organization in 2003. The Missouri Choral Directors Association voted him the “Outstanding Choir Director for 1998- 1999,” the same year he was the coordinator and conductor for the Papal visit to St. Louis.
He is a past Dean of the Saint Louis and Philadelphia Chapters of the American Guild of Organists. In 2010, Dr. Romeri and his wife Karen were honored by the Saint Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists with their highest distinction, the Avis Blewett Award, for their significant contributions to the musical life of the Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis Region. That same year they were presented with the “Great Music Award” by St. Louis Cathedral Concerts. John serves on the Liturgy Committee of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. In May 2015, at Commencement Weekend, John received the Westminster Choir College Alumni Merit Award for “distinguished contributions to the Field of Sacred Music.” In 2019, John will be the recipient of the Paul Creston Award, presented each year in New York City by St. Malachy Parish, The Actor’s Chapel.
Choirs under his direction have performed throughout the United States, Canada and on many European tours. He frequently conducts the annual Epiphany Children’s Choir Festival in Rome Italy. Participating are hundreds of young singers performing with the famed Sistine Choir for a Papal Mass on the Feast of the Epiphany.
John is the editor of the Cathedral Choral Series and the Cathedral Organ Series from Morning Star Music Publishers. Christ Cathedral will now be featured on the cover of the series. He has released a dozen CD’s with his choirs and as an organist.
John is a Commander with the Order of St. John and a Knight Commander with Star in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. John and Karen Romeri have two children and four grandchildren.
Workshop Title: Tax Implications for Organists
Workshop Presenter: Emily Sang
Workshop Description: Many music and arts professionals face challenges when preparing their taxes. Under the leadership of Emily Sang, a Los Angeles-based certified public accountant, this workshop will address common questions encountered by church musicians in freelance, part-time, and full-time positions. Topics will include work and salary classifications, deductions for travel and expenses, investment planning, and health care and retirement planning.
Presenter Bio: Ms. Sang has over 18 years experience as a CPA. She started her career working for one of the largest accounting firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and then moved on to WSRP CPA firm for a number of years in Utah. After moving to California, she worked for Walt Disney Company as an accounting manager and then as a controller for William O'Neal Company, a leader in global equity market information. She started her own CPA practice eight years ago. She specializes in helping entertainment clients in tax planning and preparation, as well as bookkeeping and management consulting. She is passionate about empowering people to reduce their financial stress, improving tax efficiency and increasing profit through education, individualized planning and execution.
Emily is a Certified Public Accountant in State of California and a financial advisor. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Brigham Young University and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Utah State University.
Emily is a member of California Society of CPAs and a board Member of Chinese American CPA Association.
When she has free time, Emily enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, and traveling.
Workshop Title: A Beginner's 'How To' Guide for Continuo Playing
Workshop Presenter: Carole Terry
Workshop Description: This workshop offers resources for new or semi-experienced continuo players on how to get started, the basics of reading figured bass, and what to look for and consider in already-realized figured-bass scores (what to fill in, what to leave out), using examples from Handel and Telemann trio sonatas and easier arias and choruses from Handel’s Messiah that are easier to grasp and achieve instant success.
Presenter Bio: Dr. Terry has appeared at The Bamboo Organ Festival, Manila, Philippines, the Attersee Barock Akademie in Austria, and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in Germany. She has been featured at the International Summer School for Young Organists in Oundle (Britain), the Mount Royal College Organ Academy and International Summer School in Calgary and the McGill Summer Organ Academy (Canada). In September, 2004 she was the first American organist to perform on the new Glatter-Götz organ in the concert hall of Perm, Russia. She has performed and served on the panel of jurors for the Musachino Organ Competition in Tokyo, the Tariverdiev International Organ Competition and the St. Albans International Organ Festival and Competition in England.
In the United States, Dr. Terry has been featured as performer and lecturer at the San Anselmo Organ Festival (California), The Historical Organ in America (Arizona), the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Montreat Festival of Worship and Music (North Carolina) and, most recently, at the 2008 Organ Historical Society Convention in Seattle and the 2015 AGO regional convention in San Diego.
From 2000-2003, Carole Terry was Resident Organist and Curator for the Seattle Symphony where she helped to inaugurate the new Watjen Concert Organ built by C.B. Fisk in Seattle’s acclaimed Benaroya Hall. In that role she performed numerous solo recitals, organ concerti, and other works for organ and orchestra. Her 2008 recording on the Loft label was made on this instrument. Her other recordings are found on the MHS, CRI, and Crystal labels.
Carole Terry is represented exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.
Workshop Title: Update from AGO National Headquarters
Workshop Presenter: James Thomashower
Workshop Description: AGO Executive Director James Thomashower will provide updates on major issues facing the national organization including the implementation of the Guild’s three-year strategic growth plan, the AGO’s zero tolerance policy with respect to sexual harassment, and the work of the Task Force on Inclusivity.
Presenter Bio: James Thomashower has served as executive director of the American Guild of Organists since January 1998. Overseeing a budget of $2.2 million and 11 staff, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Guild’s national headquarters in New York and provides support for the National Council, its committees, and task forces. In 2017 he was designated by the Federal Trade Commission as the AGO’s antitrust compliance officer.
Mr. Thomashower entered association management in 1983 as the manager of research and communications for the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. He served as NASBA’s executive director from 1988-1994 and as executive vice president of the National Society of Accountants from 1995-1997 before joining the AGO. Mr. Thomashower has also served as president of the Philipstown Reform Synagogue and the Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards, chairman of the N.Y. Sierra Club Photography Committee, and on the boards of directors of the National Music Council, Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce, and Examination Services Corporation. Most recently Mr. Thomashower served on the Capital Campaign Committee of the Episcopal Church of St. Mary in-the-Highlands.
Mr. Thomashower earned a B.A. in English from Columbia University in 1973. He was awarded the Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives in 2000.
A native New Yorker, Mr. Thomashower resides in the Hudson River Valley with his wife, Penny M. Brickman. They are proud parents of their daughter, Sarah.
Workshop Title: Introduction to Carillon Playing
Workshop Presenter: Melissa Weidner
Workshop Description: Carillonneur Melissa Weidner will introduce carillon technique and mechanics with hands-on demonstrations at Christ Cathedral’s practice carillon. An overview of carillon history and repertoire will also be presented.
Presenter Bio: Melissa Weidner holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Theory degree from the University of Oregon and a Master of Music in Sacred Music degree (organ performance specialization) from The Catholic University of America. Primary organ instructors were Barbara Baird and Robert Grogan. Weidner began her carillon study at The Catholic University of America with Robert Grogan, and later continued her carillon studies with Todd Fair and Carol Jickling Lens at the University of Denver.
In 2009, Weidner passed the carillonneur advancement examination at the annual congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA), held at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. Since that time, she has given carillon recitals nationwide, including performances at Yale University and Princeton University.
For the past six years, Weidner has been the organist and principal musician at Faith Lutheran Church, Capistrano Beach. She also plays the carillon at Christ Cathedral, Garden Grove, for the annual Easter carillon concert series and for other special events. She currently spends most of her time as a piano tuner/technician, servicing the pianos at Chapman.
Workshop Presenter: James Welch
Workshop #1 Title: California Pipe Dreams: Residence Organs in the Golden State
Workshop #1 Description: Who among us has not dreamed about having an organ of our own in our home, where we could practice and play without having to drive over to a dark, cold church? For many a practical solution is an electronic organ. But there are surprising number of pipe organs as well in homes around the state, from the very modest to the grandiose, from recycled instruments to organs newly built, and many other creative configurations. Each one of these organs has a story as interesting as the owners who have acquired them. Come hear about some of these unusual homes and instruments and the people who play them. Who knows, you may be next to live the dream!
Workshop #2 Title: Richard Purvis, California’s Most Prominent Organist
Workshop #2 Description: Richard Purvis was Organist and Master of the Choristers of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral from 1947 to 1971. As a Southern Californian studying organ as a teenager, I practically wore out my LP recordings of Purvis’s music. Described sometimes as “movie music for the Episcopal Church,” it possessed color, drama, and registrations that caught my imagination and inspired my career as a concert organist. Every musician who heard Richard Purvis play a service at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco remembers the distinctive “Purvis Sound.” But how many know that years earlier Purvis was also in the service, writing music in his head, from foxholes and as a prisoner of war in Stalag 13, the notorious Nazi camp that was a model for the TV series "Hogan's Heroes"? This is only one of the surprises I encountered while researching the life and work of the legendary "Master of Grace." A San Francisco boy with a full-ride scholarship to Curtis, he achieved a level of immortality in his own time as a performer, composer, and teacher. In this workshop, rare photos, recordings, and anecdotes will provide insights into the life and personality of this iconic California organist!
Presenter Bio: James Welch is University Organist at Santa Clara University and Organist at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Palo Alto. He received his DMA in organ performance from Stanford, with further studies in France and Austria and a concert career including recitals at Notre Dame Cathedral, the Leipzig Gewandhaus, National Cathedral, and the Mormon Tabernacle. He has also performed and taught in Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Jerusalem. A specialist in Latin American organ music, he received a Fulbright award to perform and conduct research in Brazil; he has also concertized in Mexico and edited three volumes of organ music by Mexican composers. The author of a major new biography, Richard Purvis, Organist of Grace, he has performed at conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the International Congress of Organists, written extensively for The American Organist and The Diapason, and released numerous CDs recorded on a variety of organs.