Past ‘Meet a Member’ Articles

March 2018
No Sound More Beautiful

Alan Hommerding

“There is no sound more beautiful than people singing God’s praise.”

These words, instilled in me by my first organ teacher and choir director, Ann Celeen Dohms, have become a life-long mantra.

Before I sang in her boys’ choir or was her organ student, I... Read More ...

February 2018
A Circuitous Journey

Phillip Kloeckner

My life as a musician, organist, conductor, and harpsichordist has been much more enjoyable and rich than I could have ever imagined when I set my sights on this path in earnest, some thirty years ago.  Above all else, I value the opportunity... Read More ...

January 2018
When You’re Good You’re so Good, and When You’re Bad You’re so Bad!”

Eileen Baumgarten

I got my start playing the organ when I was in 7th grade in Powhattan, Kansas, and was a member of Zion Lutheran Church.  The elders decided that they needed some new blood at the organ bench and asked my friend and me... Read More ...

December 2017
I Never Dreamed....

Kay Sutton

My first experience hearing a pipe organ live happened when I attended the graduation of the Medical School at the University of Michigan as a child.  We were in Hill Auditorium when all the newly minted medical doctors, including a family friend,  stood... Read More ...

November 2017
Open Sea Reflections

Judy Kohl

I recently celebrated a birthday – not one of those that slips by and you hope no one notices. With this one, I am standing on the cusp of a new decade and for some reason, those decade birthdays have been very significant... Read More ...

October 2017
A Musical Journey

John Hopkins

It seems a lifetime ago that I was a grade school kid at St. Francis Xavier in Wilmette. At that time, the school offered free music lessons…students would leave class and walk across the parking lot to the convent. My piano teacher, Sister... Read More ...

September 2017
My Life as a Beginning Organ Student: Highlights and Confessions

Richard Spears

As with so many others, my obsession with the pipe organ began when I was a child. When I was eight, the families of the adult choir were enlisted to relocate organ pipes and parts from the sanctuary to the parlor while the... Read More ...

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... Read More ...

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... Read More ...

May 2017
Detours Make Life Interesting

Brigid Cantagallo

As with all of us, the path to where we end up is often winding with many detours along the way. It does make life interesting!

Growing up in rural Minnesota, I was blessed to have been taught for 10 years by my dear... Read More ...

April 2017
Building Community

Richard Clemmitt

My wife, Elizabeth, and I moved to the North Shore in 1992. Although we came here primarily for my job as Organist and Choirmaster of Christ Church, Winnetka, we also were drawn by the thriving arts community and great schools. Elizabeth has worked... Read More ...

March 2017
It's Been a Great Ride!

Bill Aylesworth at the Scottish Rite Cathedral console with a young Mayor Daley looking on!

I grew up in Aurora. My dad sang in the choir at our church, Fourth Street Methodist, where his dad had been the minister from 1919 to 1926.... Read More ...

February 2017
“Soli Deo Gloria!”

Bill Crowle

I believe that it is through us and our music that God speaks to people every bit as much as through the spoken word. As a musician in church and in the synagogue, I am always reminded of how my playing touches the... Read More ...

January 2017
A Double Life

Susan Klotzbach

I joined the North Shore AGO chapter a year or so ago, when I began serving as organist at Kenilworth Union Church.  Unfortunately, my work in Bloomington has prevented me from attending AGO events in Chicago.  But, it is almost January, and that... Read More ...

December 2016
A Midwesterner Comes Home

Brian Schoettler

I recently joined the NSAGO this past summer after I began my new position as Minister of Music and Organist at First United Methodist Church in Evanston. My wife Annastasia and I are both from Kenosha and we were excited to move back... Read More ...

November 2016
Kraft, BMW, and AGO

Christopher Urban

I started taking organ lessons in 7th grade.  I was involved with music at church from a very early age and was always fascinated by the sound of the organ and all the buttons!  I started taking piano lessons in 2nd grade and... Read More ...

October 2016
An Inevitable Accident

Robert McConnell

“And when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,... Read More ...

September 2016
Time Flies!

Tomoko Shibuya

I never thought about myself living in the United States for 30 years when I first arrived O’Hare airport in August, 1986. Time flies. After 30 years, I work as a music cataloger at Northwestern University Libraries, and play the organ every Sunday... Read More ...

July 2016
Computers, Organs and Chicago

Rich Leasure

Computers, organs, and Chicago! I never expected any of it. Well, to be truthful, I guess the organ part was to be expected.

Visiting my aunt and uncle in suburban Pittsburgh when I was growing up was always a treat. Along with helping my... Read More ...

June 2016
Beyond the Biography

Julia Brueck

When I moved to the North Shore in 2010, recently married and freshly hooded from the University of Iowa with a DMA in Organ Performance and Pedagogy, I immediately sought NSAGO membership. After a summer spent interviewing for church jobs, an issue of... Read More ...

May 2016
Full Circle

Peggy Massello

First, thank you for inviting me to share my story with fellow members of the NSAGO, an organization near and dear to my heart.

The church has always played an important role in my life, particularly First Presbyterian Church in Wilmette. I was baptized,... Read More ...

April 2016
Life Lessons

Kathy Roderer

Sometimes I marvel at the twists and turns of my path in music, considering that no one else in my family really reads music. I grew up in Toledo, Ohio and began in third grade with $1 piano lessons! In sixth grade, I... Read More ...

March 2016
A Journey to Full-time Church Musician

Dan Dauner

I am the Director of Worship and Music at Trinity Lutheran Church in Evanston where I direct three adult vocal and handbell choirs, play the organ/piano for all worship services and the choirs, and do worship planning in consultation with the pastor and... Read More ...

February 2016
Getting to Know Our AGO Friends

Michael Gagne

My interest in music began at an early age, while growing up in Deerfield. My late grandmother was my first piano instructor. She and my grandfather brought me to weekly services at Trinity United Church of Christ in Deerfield, where I first heard... Read More ...

January 2016
Architect and Organist

Robert Woodworth

Growing up on a farm in a small community in Central Illinois (Paxton), I was very fortunate to have excellent teachers and mentors who helped to foster my love of architecture and music. All throughout grade school and high school I played... Read More ...

December 2015
A part-time musician speaks out

Evan DuVall

I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the North Shore board effective November 2015.  I have served as organist for Trinity United Church of Christ in Deerfield since March 2015. 

Originally from western Arkansas, I was relocated to the North Shore... Read More ...

November 2015
From Player Piano to Organist

Bev Sheridan

Music has been a part of my life since I started taking piano lessons at the ripe old age of five. The piano that I had was a player piano, so pumping the pedals was a lot of fun – I loved... Read More ...

October 2015
Generations of Music-Makers

NSAGO Dean Andrea Handley

Andrea Handley

I was doomed to start piano lessons as a child. My great-grandmother and grandmother were both piano and organ graduates of music schools – Cincinnati Conservatory and Julliard, respectively.

When people asked me what I wanted to be as a child, I said I... Read More ...

September 2015
Dancing on the Pedals

Kirstin Synnestvedt

The AGO has been important to all of us for a variety of reasons. It presents concerts and workshops, and it also gives us an opportunity to participate in them.  Church work can be a lonely occupation (I have done it for... Read More ...

August 2015
Story of a Newcomer

Philip McPeek

Although my first piano lessons were sometime in kindergarten, I’m a relative newcomer to the organ world — I’ve only been playing for about four years now. Between lessons and band rehearsals, music was an integral part of growing up. As a... Read More ...

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