First things first: Our final 60th anniversary celebration event is coming up soon! On Sunday, April 29, we’ll gather at 4pm at First Presbyterian Church of Evanston for a dean’s recital. This recital will not only celebrate the 60th anniversary of our chapter, but the 60th anniversary of the organ at First Presbyterian (an Aeolian-Skinner) and the 150th anniversary of the church! Following the recital, we will walk a short 2 blocks (there will be a car available if you prefer) to the Crystal Ballroom for a celebration banquet. In the program that follows, we will highlight our 60 years together in spoken word and in pictures – you may see yourself on screen in one of the archival pictures we will present in a slide presentation! We will honor long time members and officers, say goodbye to outgoing board and officers and welcome new ones. You will also be the first to see the roll out of our 61st season of programming! If you haven’t already made your reservations for this memorable event, please do so at the link below. (Note that the deadline for RSVPs has been extended to April 20!)
Once you’ve RSVP’d for yourself (and hopefully family members as well!), please think of an organist you may know who is NOT a member of our chapter, and consider inviting them to be your guest at this banquet. It’s a wonderful way to introduce new people to the chapter. If you would like to do that but the price is too steep to bring a guest, know that there are funds available to cover up to 15 guests, donated anonymously by a member. If you have a guest who has agreed to come, and you want to take advantage of those funds, just email email@example.com so that I can keep track of numbers. I will then forward your guest’s name to the member who has graciously offered these funds, and they will RSVP for your guest with the appropriate credit card.
Secondly, it’s election time again! Below is the slate of new officers and board members that the nominating committee has brought to the board. Read bios below and vote by clicking here by April 20.
JUDY KOHL received a Bachelor of Music degree from Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Organ Performance in 1979. In 1981, she received a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University in Church Music where she studied with Richard Enright and Wolfgang Rubsom. She has held many music positions in the Chicago area, most recently as the Director of Music at Christ Church Lake Forest, planning all the services as well as overseeing the vocal choirs, bell choir and service ensembles. Presently she substitutes in churches and synagogues around the North Shore as well as other music opportunities, including playing with the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra as well as being the accompanist for different local school events. She also enjoys writing and performing some of her own pieces. Having launched four children, she sees this time in life as a whole new adventure. She owns a fair trade store in Lake Forest called The Mustard Seed where they give back all of their profits to those who are less fortunate. In the same vein, this seems like the time in life to give back musically, so she is honored to be considered to serve on the North Shore AGO Board for the coming term.
RICHARD CLEMMITT is the Organist and Choirmaster of Christ Church, Winnetka, where since 1992 he has managed an RSCM program that includes participation by children, teenagers, and adults. Working together with Organ Associate Jay Peterson, he and the Christ Church Choir not only provide music for services at home but also tour yearly, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. Richard earned his BM in organ performance from New England Conservatory as a pupil of Yuko Hayashi and his MM in choral conducting from Westminster Choir College as a pupil of Joseph Flummerfelt. In addition to playing and conducting, Richard enjoys composing and has music published by GIA, Hope, and H.T. FitzSimons. He and his wife, Elizabeth (also a musician), live in Wilmette and have two sons, Ethan (20) and Adam (17). In addition to music-making, Richard and his family love hiking in the Colorado Rockies.
RICHARD LEASURE attended Westminster College (Pennsylvania) and Northwestern University where he earned his B.M. and M.M. in church music with an organ major. He is organist at The Presbyterian Church of Barrington where he has played since 2007, and is a dual member of the Fox Valley and North Shore AGO chapters. Prior to 2007, he held organist and organist/director positions at churches in Chicago and the northwest suburbs, as well as substituting at over 30 churches in the Chicagoland area. He recently retired from a full-time IT career, and is enjoying his newly-found freedom. Richard has a son and daughter, both of whom live and work in Chicago.
Most of the early musical life of RICHARD SPEARS was spent in church, school, and university choirs, piano lessons, and a start on the organ. He recalls “Vocal Camp” at Westminster Choir College during John Finley Williamson’s leadership as a “life-changing” experience. As a undergraduate, he began working part-time in organ tuning, service and installation for the Reuter Organ Company, and studied linguistics in graduate school at Indiana University while also operating his own part-time organ service business. Richard later joined the Northwestern University Linguistics faculty (phonetics, acoustics), and after 26 years left the University for a related job in lexicography (dictionary compiling) at McGraw-Hill Professional. He retired from in 2001, having authored about 400 dictionary editions.
Board members fulfilling terms:
PAT RADOSAVLJEVIC knew that church music was for her when she was willing to get up at dawn to play for 6:00 A.M. Mass while in 5th grade. She has been playing every week since. She received a Bachelor’s in Organ/Church Music from the American Conservatory of Music as a student of Dr. Robert Lodine. During her time at American she met George Radosavljevic who helped her through modal counterpoint. They have been married for 36 years, and have a son, Leo, who received his Bachelor’s and Master’s from Juilliard in Opera. Pat has been organist/choir director at Carter-Westminster Presbyterian Church in Skokie since 1982. This is the same church that once employed Elizabeth Naegele and Andrea Handley, and she feels honored to follow in their footsteps. In addition to musical life, Pat has worked in ophthalmology since 1984, and is currently assisting Frank LaFranco, M.D., a retinal specialist in Skokie.
Pianist for the Chicago Symphony Chorus since auditioning as a college student in 1978, SHARON PETERSON continues as Rehearsal Pianist for the CSC as well as Accompanist at Northwestern University, North Park University, and North Shore Choral Society. Sharon served as Accompanist for several years for Chicago Symphony Singers and CSC’s ensembles. She was recently the Score Reader for the filming of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, performed by the CSO and CSC. During the seven years spent living in Sweden and Norway, Sharon developed a specialty in Scandinavian Piano Repertoire and worked as Staff Accompanist at The Royal Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway. Studying with Elizabeth Buccheri at North Park College, BM degree, and Robert Weirich at Northwestern University, MM degree, Sharon accompanied the Lyric Opera Chorus for eight seasons, was Music Director of the Lyric’s “Opera In the Neighborhood” touring production of The Magic Flute, and she worked as Ballet Accompanist for LOOC’s 2014 production of Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito.” Having served as Staff Accompanist at Roosevelt University, and Accompanist in the studios of soprano Maria Lagios and saxophonist Frederick L. Hemke as well as regularly performing with singers Kathleen and Peter Van De Graaff, saxophonists, and CSO Principal Trumpet Chris Martin. Since completing many years as Organist at North Park Covenant Church in Chicago, IL, Sharon current serves as Interim Organist at St. James Cathedral in Chicago. She coaches voice privately, specializing in Swedish and Norwegian languages and repertoire, is Organist at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, and serves on the board of the North Shore Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
JILL HUNT has been a part of the music ministry staff at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest since 1995. She is currently Organist/Director of Handbells and will be retiring at the end of the summer. Jill grew up in Oklahoma and earned degrees in piano and organ performance from Oklahoma City University. She holds a Master’s degree in organ performance from Northwestern University, studying organ with Karel Paukert and Dr. Richard Enright. She is a past Dean of the North Shore Chapter of the American Guild of Organist and currently serves as Secretory. Jill has two sons, Bryan (Rebecca) of Vail, Colorado, and Jason (Beth) of Evanston, Illinois, and three grandchildren, Levi, Katherine, and Stevie.
Three-year board terms:
EILEEN BAUMGARTEN is a resident of Northfield, Illinois, and currently is a member of Winnetka Congregational Church where she serves on the Music Committee and sings in the choir. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Organ from the University of Oklahoma where she studied with Mildred Andrews. Eileen moved to Chicago in the 70’s, is married to Randy Baumgarten, and has 2 sons, a daughter-in-law, and 2 grandchildren. She recently held the position of organist for St. Peter Community Church in Northfield until their merger with Northfield Community Church. She is currently subbing at various churches and playing frequently at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Palatine. Eileen has served on the board of the North Shore AGO previously and looks forward to doing it again.
RICH SPANTIKOW is the Minister of Music at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Glenview. There he directs the Parish, Jr., and Handbell choirs, selects all the music for worship, and plays the Buzard Opus 27. His 30-year plus career as a church musician has allowed him to serve congregations from Streamwood, Elgin, Evanston, West Dundee, Western Springs and Arlington Heights. Rich was previously a member of and served on the board of the Northwest Suburban Chapter of the AGO until they merged with the Fox Valley Chapter. He was also on the workshop committee for the 2006 Chicago AGO National Convention. When Rich isn’t busy doing church things, he enjoys spending time with his rescue dog, fitness activities, reading, and cooking.
BRIAN SCHOETTLER serves as Minister of Music & Organist at First United Methodist Church in Evanston, Illinois where he directs their Chancel, Handbell, Gospel, and Children’s Choirs and plays their recently restored Austin organs (IV/80, II/15). He earned his Master of Music degree in Organ Performance and Composition from Westminster Choir College and his bachelor’s degree in Organ Performance, Church Music, and Instrumental Music Education from Carthage College. He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music where he studies organ with David Higgs. For more information, visit: www.brianschoettler.com