Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
founded 1949

Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists- History

1949-1999 - A half century of services to the community

(Deans List at bottom)

A Short History of the Worcester Chapter

The American Guild of Organists ratified a petition and granted the formation of the Worcester Chapter on March 14, 1949. This resulted from the initiative of eight Worcester organists. Officers elected were Frederick Kinsley, Dean; Clifford Fowler Greene, Sub-Dean; Bertis H. Adams, Secretary; Luke H. Richard, Treasurer; Arvid C. Anderson, Auditor.

The following are some of the highlights gleaned from the 1984 Worcester Chapter Yearbook and other sources:

1955 Virgil Fox recital at Worcester Memorial Auditorium
E. Power Biggs illustrated talk on "European Organs, Old and New"
1956 George Faxon recital at All Saints
1957 Virgil Fox recital at Worcester Memorial Auditorium
Pierre Cochereau, Organist at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, at All Saints
1957 There were 60 members.
1958 Claire Coci recital at Worcester Memorial Auditorium
1960 42 members were added when the Worcester Association of Church Musicians voted to disband and join the Worcester Chapter.
Membership dues were $5.
Choral program by forty Chapter voices performed Bach Cantata No. 140 at Trinity Lutheran. Dr. John King, director; Barclay Wood, Accompanist
1961 Chapter members were playing weekly recitals at Worcester State Hospital on the concert Hammond
1962 David Craighead, organist, at First Baptist
1964 First Pastor-Organist Banquet held at Congregational Church, Holden
1965 Young Organists' Recital
Music by Worcester composers at First Unitarian
Alexander Shreiner, organist, at First Baptist
Gertrude Neidlinger on "Musical Mishaps"
Pastor-Organist Banquet with Raymond Morin, speaker
Festival Evensong. Asylum Hill Motet Choir, First Baptist Choir,
All Saints Boys' Choir. World premiere of Psalms II and III by Jean Langlais
1966 Organ recitals by Barclay Wood, Douglas Risner, Cal Lindblad, Henry Hokans, J. Franklin Clark
1967 Pierre Cochereau, recital and organ workshop
1968 Daniel Pinkham on contemporary musical composition
1969 National Organ Competition
Jean Langlais, recital and workshop
1970 Youth Concert Choir at All Saints
1973 Pastor-Organist Banquet with Raymond Morin, speaker
1974 Sixth Annual Organ Competition
Pastor-Organist Banquet with Rev. Peter Gomes, speaker
Salisbury Consort. Rev. Lamothe, Director
Messiah Sing. Stephen Long, Director
1975 Mechanics Hall Organ Committee formed with Charles Davis,
Stephen Long and Barclay Wood representing the Chapter
Worcester area organ crawl
Thomas Murray at Worcester Memorial Auditorium in "Celebration of Pipes" commencing the Chapter's fundraising to restore the Mechanics Hall E. & G.G. Hook organ. The week of Sep 21-27 was declared WORCESTER GREAT ORGAN WEEK by the Mayor of Worcester
1976 Douglas Butler at Worcester Memorial Auditorium in second
"Celebration of Pipes" which brought Hook Organ Fund to $5,633.
1977 Mechanics Hall "Come and See Tour" with Julie Chase Fuller
1978 Alan Laufman with slide-tape program of historical organs
William Czelusniak lecture on organ maintenance
1979 News on the Mechanics Hall Hook organ -- of the $50,000 having been received and $135,000 needed
Peter Planyavsky at Trinity Lutheran
Newsletter announced the Executive Board wanted to host the 1983
New England Regional Convention in cooperation with the Organ
Historical Society's annual convention
1980 "The Art of the Organ" hosted by Henry Hokans and Joyce Hokans on WICN
Robert Glasgow Masterclass at All Saints
Executive Board voted on the above joint convention June 26-30, 1983
1981 "The Art of the Organ" continues with Robert C. Dickinson, host
First "Fall Crawl" organized by Stephen Long and William Wallace through Lancaster, Athol, Phillipston, Baldwinville
"Cantata Sing" at St. Paul's Cathedral. Joseph Policell, Director; Gilbert Lay, Organist
1982 Twelfth Night at Higgins House -- "The Sacred and The Profane"
Andre De La Varre, Jr., pianist and fillmmaker at Mechanics Hall to benefit the Hook organ Rededication of 1864 E.&G.G. Hook organ at Mechanics Hall
Sep 25 and 26 with Chapter members participating -- Henry Hokans, Brenda Fraser, Stephen Long, Barclay Wood, Stephen Hermes, Richard F. Jones, Donna Merrill, Gilbert Lay, LeRoy Hanson, Ronald Stalford and Malama Robbins.
1983 Chapter Organ Competition at All Saints. Paul Roy, winner, to compete in Region I Competition
Hymn Festival Weekend included an organ concert at St. Peter's Church. David Lasky, Suzanne Davis and Lucia Clemente-Falco, organists
Chapter membership is 156. Dues, $28
AGO Region I/OHS National Convention. 625 registrants.
Stephen Long and Joseph Policelli, co-chairmen. Held June 26-30 with headquarters at Assumption College
Open House at Mechanics Hall -- new address for the Chapter
1984 Worcester Chapter celebrates its 35th anniversary with a festival service and banquet at All Saint's. Speakers were Barbara Owen, Chairwoman of the New England Region, Daniel N. Colburn, Executive Director at National Headquarters, and Richard F. Jones who gave a talk on the Chapter's history.
Membership is at 200.
Worcester Memorial Auditorium Kimball Organ Committee meets.
James David Christie, organist with Boston Symphony Orchestra
since 1978 and named a visiting professor at Holy Cross College, in recital at Mechanics Hall
Gillian Weir of England in concert on the W.W.Kimball organ at Worcester Memorial Auditorium
1985 "It's An AGO Spring!" included a Patriot's Day Organ Crawl through N. Grosvenordale, Thompson, Uxbridge and Milford;
"Brian Jones: A Romantic Organ Workshop" at St. Cecilia's Church, Leominster; and Simon Preston in concert with the Worcester Orchestra at Mechanics Hall
Paul Roy at the Walker organ at Pakachoag Church is featured in a Worcester Cable TV documentary celebrating the anniversaries of Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, and Schutz. Also interviewed were Dr. Michelle Graveline, Joseph Policelli, Leroy Hanson and Stephen Long.
"A Choral Workshop: Everything You've Always Wanted to Know about a Volunteer Choir, Vol. II" led by Brenda Fraser
Caldwell and Joyce Hokans at Trinity Episcopal Church, Shrewsbury
1986 "Service Playing: Suggestions and Solutions, Vol. II" led by Barclay Wood
"A Bach Weekend" included a recital and masterclass by Robert Clark at Assumption College and a "Bachathon" at Trinity Lutheran
1987 "Cuckoos & Valkyries" - a program of orchestral music transcribed for "The King of Instruments" performed on the J.W. Walker organ at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels by Charles H. King, Mark Dwyer, Lois Toeppner, Barclay Wood, Ronald Stalford, Paul Roy, Michelle Graveline, Lucia Clemente-Falco. Program was dedicated to the memory of Jean Marchant Davis.
"Worcester Composers Night" at Wesley Methodist Church with compositions of David Lasky, Parouhi Boyajian, Will Sherwood, Stephen Long, Henry Hokans, Barrie Mosher performed.
"Ice Cream and Organ Pops" organ recital by Earl L. Miller at Worcester Memorial Auditorium to benefit the Kimball Organ Fund.
Memorial service for Gilbert H. Lay at Mechanics Hall
1988 Pastor-Organist Banquet and "Hymn Festival" at St. John's Lutheran Church in Sudbury
1989 "Pipe Organ Encounter '89", a summer organ institute for high school students, co-sponsored with Pakachoag Church. Faculty included James David Christie, Michelle Graveline, Stephen Long, Paul Roy, Peggy Kelley Reinburg and Barclay Wood.
1990 "Jehan Alain Festival" held
Vesper Service, dinner and annual meeting at Emanuel Lutheran
1991 Tenth Anniversary "Fall Crawl"
William Self's autobiography "Mine Eyes Have Seen"
Special Service Award to Charles Paquette
Scholarship Fund established
1992 Mini-Convention held at Assumption College
Saturday Seminar by Wilma Vander Baan on "Hymn Playing"
"Fall Crawl" of Worcester organs
Kick-off Fundraiser at Worcester Memorial Auditorium
1993 Mme. Durufle recital at Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Assumption College
Worcester Chapter By-laws amended
Worcester Chapter salary guidelines compiled by Joyce Hokans.
Fire in the building at Assumption College housing the Worcester Chapter music library. Minimal loss. Library moved to Pakachoag Church
"Fall Crawl" in Southern Vermont
Richard Coffey workshop at Pakachoag
Renea Meadows selected to perform at AGO National Convention in Dallas
1994 Robert C. Dickinson Memorial Concert held at Spencer Congregational Church
Richard F. Jones hosts "The Art of the Organ" on WICN
1995 Renee Meadows was the winner of the Region I Young Organists
Competition held during the Region I Convention hosted by Merrimack Valley
Scholarship recipients this year were Renee Meadows, Gerald Senechal, Samuel Schmitt and Brett Maguire
Worcester Chapter is awarded 1999 Region I Convention.
Fall Crawl to Blackstone River Valley organized by Judith Ollikkala
Frank Corbin's dedicatory recital on the Chabot Memorial Pipe Organ at Assumption College "knocked their socks off"
1996 "Planning Music for the Church Year" program at Trinity
Lutheran Church with Richard Wyble, Lois Toeppner, Ronald Stalford, Peter Krasinski, Joseph Policelli and Kyle Martin as presenters
"World's Largest Organ Recital" in observance of the Centennial Anniversary of the AGO was held. Hundreds of recitals were held all over the country including recitals in Fiskdale, Fitchburg, Leominster, Littleton, Paxton, Spencer, Sudbury, Sutton and Worcester
AGO '96 Centennial Convention held in New York City - a performer was Renee Meadows
Saddened with the passing of Honorary Life Member Stephen E. Long.
Students Becky Ford, Gerald Senechal, Catherine Sumner and Haley Morrison attend Pipe Organ Encounter at Yale University
Fall Crawl to Sutherland, Montague, Northfield and Shelburne Falls organized by Judith Ollikkala
Worcester Chapter co-sponsors Sowerby Festival
1997 1999 AGO Region I Convention Steering Committee begins meeting.
"House Organ Tour" program to raise funds for the Competition Fund with hosts William Ness, Will Sherwood and David Hagberg.
A Hiring Guide for Religious Institutions Seeking Musicians is published
Sean Redrow is winner in 1997 AGO Region I competition and heard at Convention hosted by the Berkshire Chapter
16th Annual Fall Crawl to Narragansett Bay/Newport organized by
Judith Ollikkala
Worcester Chapter and 1999 Region I Convention web site is created by Will Sherwood at address of www.bershad.com/ago
1998 A Worcester Chapter Certification Program for Worship Services
is held for six weeks
Olivier Latry, organist at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, Master Class held at First Baptist Church
Lois Toeppner, organist (and Coordinator for the 1999 Region I Convention), performs at St. Joseph Church
Worcester Chapter Music Collection is dedicated and permanently housed at Holy Cross Music Library
Passing of Honorary Life Member William Self
Passing of Charter Member Allen A. Boutwelle
Fall Crawl to Hartford CT organized by Judith Ollikkala.
Member of first Worcester Chapter Executive Committee
F. Theodore Hopkins is made an Honorary Life Member

1999 Region I Convention Held in Worcester - Huge Success


2001 Passing of former dean, LeRoy K.Hanson

         Deans of the Worcester Chapter

Frederick Kinsley
Clifford F. Green
Richard Taylor
Henry Hokans
Luke Richard
Irene Burnham
Norman J. Roy
Barclay Wood
LeRoy K.Hanson
Douglas S.Risner
William E. Nierintz
Judith Jepson
Robert C. Dickinson
The Rev.DonatLamothe
Stephen E. Long
Joyce Hokans
Gilbert H. Lay
Joseph R. Policelli
Richard F. Jones
Lucia Clemente-Falco
Stephen E.Long
Michelle Graveline
Richard F. Jones
John C. Da Silva
Joseph R. Policelli
Patricia Snyder
Malcolm Halliday
Sean Redrow


Worcester Chapter Organ Scholarship Fund

From the By-Laws: A Scholarship Fund has been made available to students of Worcester Chapter members who wish to pursue the study of the organ during the next academic year and need financial assistance.

Please consider contributing to this fund. Checks payable to
Worcester Chapter AGO may be mailed to the chapter Treasurer