60th Anniversary Season Kick-Off!

NSAGO Dean Andrea Handley
NSAGO Dean Andrea Handley

Andrea Handley

Well, we’ve said goodbye to another summer, schools are starting, choirs are starting, and we’ll all be in full swing hurtling toward Christmas before we know it. And our 2017-18 North Shore 60th Anniversary season of programs begins this month, too!

We are very excited about this coming season. Every one of our programs will focus in some way on our 60th anniversary as a chapter. (Scroll down to see our entire season of programs) To kick off, on September 24 at 7pm, we will celebrate with a worship service at First United Methodist Church in Evanston. The service will include organ, choral music, and hymns written by composers largely from the history of our chapter, including Thomas Matthews, Austin Lovelace, Morgan and Mary Simmons, and Adrienne Tindall.  WFMT’s own Carl Grapentine will be the host and commentator for this special event. Chapter organists who will be playing include William Aylesworth, Brian Schoettler, and Christine Kraemer. We will also install NSAGO officers and board members at this service, and a reception will follow the service.

NOTE: Please consider joining your voice to the choir for this service – rehearsal from 6:00-6:40pm that evening. The pieces needed are “the Lord Is My Shepherd by Thomas Matthews, “Eternal Light” by Leo Sowerby, and the Peter Lutkin “The Lord Bless You and Keep You”.  If you need copies, contact Brian Schoettler (brian@nullfaithatfirst.com), organist at First United Methodist Church, Evanston.

Andrea Handley, Dean

July 2017
End of a Season, Start of Another

NSAGO Dean Andrea Handley
NSAGO Dean Andrea Handley

Andrea Handley

We’ve completed our last program of our 2016-17 season, had our final board meeting saying goodbye to retiring board members and welcoming new ones.  And we have a fantastic season to look forward to next year – our 60th anniversary as a chapter!

We have a great line-up of programs, beginning with an Installation Service for officers and board members, and a reception on Sunday, September 24 at First United Methodist Church in Evanston. (For those of you who picked up our program brochure at the June 5 event, note the time change for this event – it will be at 7pm, not 4pm, as listed in the brochure.) Each of our programs this next season will emphasize our history together as a chapter. In September we will celebrate music written by chapter members, featuring Austin Lovelace, Thomas Matthews, Morgan Simmons and Richard Webster. As an added treat, Carl Grapentine of WFMT will be our narrator!

On November 10, we will be treated to a recital at Millar Chapel by Janette Fishell, who was a student of Richard Enright’s. The recital will be a memorial recital in his name, followed by a master class the next morning, November 11.

On January 5 we will celebrate Epiphany at our fourth annual Epiphany party – a warm time of fellowship and fun for all. We will toast our 60 years together!

On March 4, we will gather at Church of the Holy Comforter in Kenilworth for a wine-and-cheese reception and fireplace panel discussion about the changes in the past 60 years in organ design, teaching, and practice.

On April 29, we will culminate our 60th season celebration with a Deans’ Recital at First Presbyterian Church of Evanston, the site of the very first program of the North Shore Chapter in October of 1958, which was a recital by E. Power Biggs.  It is also the 60th anniversary of the Aeolian-Skinner organ at First Pres Evanston, as well as the 150th anniversary of the church. We will follow up the recital with a gala banquet, including a slide show of pictures and memories of our chapter through the years.

Then on June 2, we will gather again for a chapter picnic at board member Judy Kohl’s house in Lake Forest. It will be the end of a wonderful season of celebration and memories!

Please scroll down for our full brochure for more details, and be sure to download all the programs to your phones from our calendar. Have a wonderful summer, and see you all in the fall.

Andrea Handley, Dean

July 2017
Closing Members Recital and Gala Reception – a Gift of Rarely Heard Compositions

Console at St. Giles

On June 5, the North Shore Chapter AGO closed the 2016-2017 season with an exciting Members Recital and Gala Champagne Reception at St. Giles Episcopal Church in Northbrook, featuring various composers writing of music in the time of “War and Peace”. An array of various compositional styles ranging from Sweelinck to the contemporary Denis Bedard were played by Phillip Kloeckner, Richard Clemmitt, Alan Hommerding, Todd Gresick and Derek Nickels on the 1993 Hellmuth Wolff tracker organ.

Back: Alan Hommerding, Richard Clemmitt, Philip Kloeckner Front: Todd Gresick, Derek Nickels

This was a program of excellent playing of some very rarely heard compositions with this unique theme. Immediately following this program all those in attendance greeted the artists with a champagne toast and a wonderful assortment of hors d’oeuvres. What a great way to celebrate yet another year of Chapter programming!

Robert Woodworth

Robert Woodworth, board member

July 2017
Thank you North Shore Chapter!

Adrienne Tindall

I have a wonderful family, which has filled my life with much joy: husband Jack, daughters Jackie, Jenny, Julie, Jill, ten grandchildren, and now four great grandsons. Music has been a wonderful added enrichment, and as I write this I am realizing how significant a part the AGO, especially the North Shore Chapter, has played.

I joined the Chapter in May of 1958 (our founding year!). It must have been the next fall when the Board had an open meeting which I visited. I remember that Dean Tom Matthews** said they needed a Publicity Chairman…. No one spoke. I asked what was involved. He described it and asked…. and I said well, okay. I think I also served thus when Jack Goode** was Dean.

Austin Lovelace** was on the Board, and I approached him about organ lessons. He said no, and recommended Margaret Budd**.  I remember being able to practice organ at St. Augustine’s; Bill Bottom** set that up. I took lessons from Margaret; each lesson included ten hymns so I could learn my denominational Christian Science Hymnal.

By the middle 1960s I had gotten a three rank (unified) organ for home, put together from old parts by Joey Banahan of Central Organ Service. Friendship with Margaret and Barbara Bennett** was great! We sometimes played Bach trio sonata movements together, me sitting in the middle, playing the pedal part.

Another wonderful AGO friend is Maggie Kemper**, whom I met when she played for a workshop with André Marchal in Lutkin Hall at Northwestern. I was impressed with her superlative playing! Years later she played all four of our daughters’ weddings, plus granddaughter Darcey’s wedding in 2008. Maggie played accompaniments for a CD of 12 of my solos.

When I told Leo Heim, the organist at my church, about a big event, he said he’d heard at school…. What school, I asked. American Conservatory he said. I didn’t know you were down there, I said. “’Down there?’ I’m the Dean!”

I had started organ, from scratch, at Vassar, studying with Donald Pearson (Eastman). And in 1965 I started work on an MM degree at American, finishing in 1969. Grammar school “covered” the daughters then, and I spent Thursday mornings at the Conservatory, taking most courses via tutors. The “L” rides were my main (and only) study halls. Organ lessons were with Bob Lodine**. In the 1970’s I had lessons with Wolfgang Rúbsam** so I could play for Donald Spies’s* wedding on a tracker.

Regular jobs were at three Christian Science churches: Palatine (1965-70), Deerfield (1973-74) and Glenview (1974-2012). Because of the organ at home, we started having Christmas carol parties for neighbors and church friends. Leo, Maggie, Bill Aylewsorth**, Bob Lind**, would help accompany the carols. DARCEY PRESS published Christmas Carols for Friends and Families in 1975.

I had written 2-1/2 solos when my church soloist, Joan Welles, asked (often!) if I had written any more. This led to writing more, and having Jack Goode** critique them as I sat beside him at his piano.

When I learned to create music pages using “Score”, I started planning solos for my volume III, and told Austin if he would write some solos I would publish a book of them. His 15 solos were ready before I could write six…. Austin critiqued solos for me, and supported innumerable DARCEY PRESS projects for almost 50 years…. Many times I requested compositions. (Austin, I need a set of variations on “Wer nur den lieben Gott lässt walten!”)

“New Songs for New Singers” was a special project. Austin, Bob Powell*, Jack Goode, and I wrote songs for “young” voices. Kathy Heetland** made accompaniment CDs for the two books.

At one AGO program (or Regional?), George Shorney passed out complimentary copies of Ecumenical Praise (published 1977), a book of new hymns AGAPE published, with Austin, Erik Routley, and Alec Wyton as editors. It woke me up to the wonder of hymns themselves! I took Morgan Simmons’s** class on the 1965 Methodist Hymnal, and then Doug Peterson’s** class on The Hymnal 1940. And I went to Erik Routley’s two week class at Garrett that summer, which led to an amazing three year correspondence with Erik (See Encounter with Erik Routley).

DARCEY PRESS’s most recent effort is “In Melody and Songs”, 103 hymns using “lost” texts of Isaac Watts. See Jonathan B. Hall’s review in “the American Organist” (December 2014, pp. 85-86), and David Music’s review in “The Hymn” (Fall 2015, pp. 37-38). Morgan Simmons, a great musical friend, was a phenomenal Consulting Editor for the collection!!!

DARCEY PRESS continues, although the web site needs help, and I should get help with marketing (Watts should be shared effectively!!!). My love of church music is still strong, and I am realizing that this North Shore Chapter, AGO, has been a huge factor.

* = AGO members; ** = North Shore members

Adrienne Tindall

July 2017
Treasurer’s Corner

We close out our program year in great shape.  We had $828 of income in June, a result of dues from 17 members as well as donations.  We thank Alan Hommerding, Derek Nickels, and Joyce Robinson for their donations to both the scholarship and chapter funds.

Expenses for the month were a tad over $1,500 as I paid expenses for our web design and support, the reception for the Member’s Recital and expense from the Hymn Festival.

Our checking account balance is$2,653.50.

Our scholarship fund has a balance of $5,301.18 and our saving account has $32.012.62.  That means our accounts have a total of $39.967.30.

Next month I will report on the income and expense in our scholarship account.  I’m glad to report that I will be spending some money in July!!

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!!

Laurie Stivers headshot

Laurie Stivers

Laurie Stivers, treasurer

June 2017
Happy Summer!

NSAGO Dean Andrea Handley
NSAGO Dean Andrea Handley

Andrea Handley

Happy summer! Finally, after enduring cold and windy weather for what felt like forever, we have some gorgeous sun and perfect temperatures.  Appreciate, because as we all know, soon enough we’ll be sweating and turning on the AC….

We have four new board members to welcome this month, and a board-member-become-officer to welcome as well. Welcome to Richard Clemmitt, Judy Kohl, Beth Naegele, and Richard Spears as board members. We look forward to working with all of them in the next few years! And thanks and welcome to Richard Leasure for taking over as Secretary. Our biggest challenge in this transition will keeping our ‘Richards’ straight. We will be having a combined board meeting at the end of June to say thanks and goodbye to our outgoing board members, and to welcome and our new ones and put them to work!

Please join us for the closing program of our season on Monday, June 5 at St. Giles Episcopal Church in Northbrook! We’ll be hearing an excellent recital by members Phillip Kloeckner, Richard Clemmitt, Alan Hommerding, Todd Gresick and Derek Nickels. The theme of the recital is “War and Peace”. Following the recital, we will have a gala reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres.

We are very, very excited about introducing our 2017-18 season of programming! It will mark the 60th anniversary of the North Shore chapter, and we will celebrate the entire year! Each program will include some remembrance of our history together.  Brochures will be available at the program next Monday, and will be rolled out in the July Overtones as well.

Hope to see many of you on June 5, and have a relaxing and delightful summer!

Andrea Handley, Dean

June 2017
Shout for Joy! A Review of our April 30 Hymn Festival

Winnetka Congregational Church was the light-filled setting for North Shore Chapter’s Hymn festival on Sunday afternoon, April 30. About 50 members and friends gathered for “This Joyful Eastertide,” led by organist David Cherwien and poet Susan Palo Cherwien.

Before the service, David rehearsed a choir of 14 (AGO members, a professional quartet, and members of the National Lutheran Choir), who led the singing of nine hymns. Susan offered spoken reflections in alternation with the hymns.

True to their strong backgrounds liturgy and church music, David and Susan chose hymns and texts which led us through a liturgy highlighting Easter themes:

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain

In Deepest Night (text: Susan Cherwien, tune: David Cherwien)

O Blessed Spring (text: Susan Cherwien, tune: Robert Farlee)

Now the Green Blade Rises

Out of Deep Unordered Water

Lord Whose Love Through Humble Service

This Joyful Eastertide

Abide with Me

David displayed much enthusiasm and skill in his introductions, interludes and accompaniments, showing off the vast tonal resources of the Martin Pasi organ. He demonstrated how to enhance the experience of singing hymns: verses for choir alone, verse for organ alone, all in unison, choir or all in harmony, verses for men alone or women alone, choir leading a canon, and choir voices accompanying with an ostinato. Susan’s spoken words were meaningful pauses, giving us time to reflect (and rest from vigorous singing). There was much variety in mood, tempo, texture, and color, a mix of familiar, lesser known, and newer hymns.

David Cherwien is Artistic Director of the National Lutheran Choir and Cantor at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. He holds DMA and MA degrees from the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in music education and organ performance from Augsburg College. He studied at the Berlin Church Music School for two years.

Susan Palo Cherwien studied church music and voice at Wittenberg University and voice in Berlin for five years at the Hochschule der Kunste. She holds a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Mundelein College. Two of her books are “Crossings: Meditations for Worship” and “From Glory into Glory-Reflections for Worship.”

Our thanks go to the Cherwiens, Winnetka Congregational Church and their organist Elaine Clemens, the Festival Quartet and Choir, and North Shore board members Rich Leasure and Philip McPeek, who organized this inspiring event.

Christine Kraemer

Submitted by Christine Kraemer

June 2017
Swell Shades and Open Wood

Todd Gresick

As a 9-year-old choirboy, my curiosity was piqued by the movement of the Swell shutters behind the façade pipes of the 1925 Austin organ in the loft at St. Peter Catholic Church in Steubenville, Ohio. How was Mrs. Gilligan controlling that from the console, which looked to me like the cockpit of a jet plane? And what was the deep, ominous sound that caused the floor under my wooden chair to vibrate? Later when I actually had the chance to see all of the pipes and wind chests hidden behind those dummy pipes, I learned that it was low C of the wooden 16’ Open Diapason. That was it – I was hooked! I had to learn more about the instrument and the wonderful music that floated through the reverberant acoustics of the church. When Sister John Berchmans, our choir director, found out that I was taking piano lessons, I was asked to audition for her, and was assigned to play a hymn at the school Mass the following week.

The thrill for me was like nothing I had ever experienced, and I soon began taking “real” organ lessons, eventually driving to Pittsburgh each Saturday to study with Stanley Tagg during my senior year in high school. Mr. Tagg encouraged me to pursue my organ studies in college.  He had recently returned from an organ conference at the University of Michigan, where he heard a recital by Robert Glasgow. He convinced me to audition for Dr. Glasgow, requiring me to prepare my repertoire from memory, something that was new to me.

I was accepted in Dr. Glasgow’s studio and completed the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees with him as my mentor. Not only did his teaching address the most fundamental technical skills of organ playing, but his students were challenged to think about music making by non-organists – singers, conductors, pianists, string and wind players, and so on. His approach to organ playing always had a relationship to physical breathing, or perhaps how a string player might employ bowings in order to articulate a musical passage. He introduced his students to recordings of the finest musical “poets” of his generation – Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Sviatoslav Richter, Alicia de Larrocha, David Oistrakh, Régine Crespin, Walter Gieseking, and many others. In my years as a church musician, I have tried to apply those listening experiences in my work with singers and instrumentalists, and in playing solo organ repertoire.

It has been gratifying as a church musician knowing that the gifts God has given me can touch people in ways words alone cannot express.

Todd Gresick