June 2016 Newsletter


June 2016


In This Issue


By Kari Miller

There are many ways to listen to music. The music student taking a dictation exam listens in a very different way from the casual listener enjoying a favorite piece at the end of a long day. We bring different ears to a new or challenging work than we might to a familiar pop tune. Our listening can be active or passive, critical or curious. We can listen intently for certain things or we can wait for something to catch our attention. We can focus on the details or bask in the big picture. We can let ourselves be taken beyond the sound to those memories and associations which sometimes rise up spontaneously and unexpectedly.

None of these listening modes is right or wrong in itself, but it is important, and certainly useful, to be aware of how we are listening and to be able to change our way of listening if it is not appropriate to the occasion. This can be harder to do than one might think. As trained musicians, many of us have spent so many hours and so much effort learning to fully engage our critical listening that we seem unable or unwilling to turn it off even when it gets in the way. We spend our days teaching, practicing and rehearsing. We can get stuck - comparing and measuring, noting every irregularity, suffering over every deviance from our “ideal,” sometimes feeling very intelligent and superior even as we deprive ourselves of whatever listening pleasure might be had.

It would be sad to think that the uneducated listener enjoys music more than most of us do. Yet sometimes it seems to be so. It can be so very hard to let go, to lighten and loosen up, and to just allow a performance or a piece of music be what it is and take one where it will. I once worked with a wonderful musician who became irate after a performance when I told him that I “enjoyed it.” He considered that to be a woefully inadequate response. He wanted a blow-by-blow rundown of his specific superlative qualities; he wanted me to wax poetic about his tone and phrasing and articulation. Stupid me – I thought my “enjoyment” was a big part of what it was all about. He just thought I hadn’t been listening very carefully.

Don’t take me wrong: I am not suggesting that we should abandon our discriminating standards, give up hoping to hear that “perfect” performance or pretend things are great when they are not. But until we can learn to listen with an open mind and generous heart there is faint chance we will ever experience music as in these beautiful lines from T. S. Eliot’s The Dry Salvages: “…music heard so deeply /That it is not heard at all, but you are the music/While the music lasts.”

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Save the Date for September Workshop

The first chapter event of 2016-2017 is a Hauptwerk Workshop on Saturday, September 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The event starts at the home of Ed Clark and Joan Pritchard where you will be introduced to the magical technology and sounds of the virtual organ. Lunch will be served. Then it is on to Grace Episcopal Church in Windsor where Mark Child will demonstrate a church installation of Hauptwerk. It’s a busy time of year, so get this on your calendar now.
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Annual Meeting Showcases a Thriving Chapter

By Joan Pritchard

Forty people gathered at Avon Old Farms Hotel for the annual dinner and meeting on Monday, May 23 and heard plenty of evidence that our chapter is bubbling along with excitement in both big and small ways. Following a tasty cocktail hour and dinner, our dean, Kari Miller, emceed the annual meeting ritual of reports and votes. Throughout the evening we heard from various people about what’s been happening. Some steps of progress include these small but mighty victories:
  • A hospitality committee of four has been established. Joanne and John Coghill, who have graciously supplied the yummy treats for so many events, now have much-needed help.
  • The Professional Concerns Committee has been revived after former chair Jason Charneski left. Now called Professional Development by the AGO, it will be led by Jerry Davidson who has considerable AGO experience.
  • The website will be maintained by chapter member Alison Barone. She is a junior at Farmington High School and organist at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Bristol.
  • The chapter has added some new members and seems to be more active.
We also learned about some larger initiatives that are quite exciting:
  • The Jolidon Fund is at $861,961 as of May 20th and has held up through some market downturns.
  • The chapter budget approved for next year is $52,270 which is significantly more that the days prior to the Jolidon bequest.
  • The Jolidon Subcommittee has two noteworthy projects in the works. The first is a collaboration with the Connecticut Science Center that is still in development. The second is the creation of a program to provide financial assistance to people who want to learn to play the organ.
  • Vaughan Mauren will be heading up a Hartford Chapter POE to be held next summer, July 16-21, at Trinity College.
In addition, the much anticipated revealing of next year’s program did not disappoint. Subdean Peter Niedmann said the chapter board aimed for something different. Events include:
  • Hauptwerk music technology workshop
  • Pipescreams at First Church of Christ in Glastonbury
  • Members organ recital at Trinity College
  • Organ recital by Benjamin Straley followed with a talk the next day about what life is like as the musician of the Washington National Cathedral
  • Choral conducting workshop with Jeffrey Douma
  • Concert for organ and cello with Chelsea Chen and Joseph Lee.
  • Next year’s annual meeting and dinner will take place at the Pond House, Elizabeth Park, West Hartford.
Check out all the of next year’s program details at this link.

Cheryl Duerr, our regional AGO councillor, brought us up to date on wider AGO events that are generating interest, in particular the next regional convention in Montreal. The Montreal Organ Festival, to be held July 2-6, 2017 (with extra convention events on the 1st and 7th), is a joint event of the Northeast Region AGO and the Royal College of Canadian Organists (RCCO). Cheryl said that they are expecting 500 to 1000 people based on surveys and will be opening registration in the next few weeks so that hotel blocks can be determined based on need. Keep an eye out if you want to go! Taking a cue from this adventure, Cheryl has been talking with the Portland, Maine chapter about possibly locating the 2019 regional convention in the Maritime Provinces. Going north for fun seems to be a trend.

As expected, but not to be taken for granted, were the election of officers and the recognition of volunteers. New to the chapter board will be Doug Duca and Dr. Alan MacMillan. Stepping down from their roles are Amy Vinisko, secretary; Ron Coons, member-at-large; and Jim Gower, chair of the Jolidon Subcommittee. Others recognized included John and Joanne Coghill for hospitality and the newsletter editors Ed Clark and Joan Pritchard. David Mangs, Adam Mangs and Anne Harney were thanked for their help in managing our financial affairs. Jim Gower received a certificate of appreciation for doing a great job paving the way as the first chair of the Jolidon Subcommittee. Bon Smith made a personal presentation of a painted and stenciled façade pipe to Ed Clark on his 51st year in Farmington. The pipe came from the old Johnson organ that Ed listened to as a child at Second Church in Westfield, Mass.

The evening was a satisfying coda to a successful program year and an affirmation that all is well in the Greater Hartford Chapter AGO.

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A Workshop Success Story

Back in January, on a snowy day, Jackie Harris-Stone attended a chapter-sponsored workshop designed to introduce pianists to the organ. Inspired by a previous experience playing an electronic keyboard for a church in Mexico, she had already been working on her piano skills to prepare for getting a church job. The workshop proved to be the lift that she needed to make a go of it. Not only did she learn about organ shoes, instruction books and where to find a teacher, but she also tried her hand at the keys of a large pipe organ for the first time and was thrilled. She has now had about seven lessons with Ed Clark and is starting to feel comfortable playing the pedals. Plus, she is eagerly pursuing auditions at churches with the hope of earning enough money to continue her lessons. She recently joined the AGO and is one of the newest members of our chapter.

Jackie has a bachelor’s degree in music from Wheaton College, Illinois and a master’s degree in bass trombone from Juilliard. She played for seven years in OSUANL, the professional orchestra of Monterey, Mexico. She now lives in Unionville with her two children and teaches students in brass instruments and piano. As a brass player, she said she missed the breadth of sustained sound from the piano. The organ has amply filled that need, and of her journey so far she says, “It’s been a joy!” The workshop gave her the confidence to pursue her goal and, she says, has been life-changing. We wish her well on her new journey as an organist.

If you know of an interesting story about a chapter member, contact Joan at jmpritch@snet.net.

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See you next September

There will be no newsletters during July or August. The deadline for submissions for the September issue is August 20. Remember to check the website for any new job listings over the summer. You can submit your event listings anytime, the sooner the better.

The Tool Box

By Mike Foley

  1. Did you tackle any of the long standing or irritating issues with the organ this year?   
  2. Did you make a set of organ service keys so your techs will have each one they need during service calls?
  3. Did you see that all that miscellaneous stuff was cleaned out of the blower room? 
  4. Did you be sure the blower and its motor got lubricated?
  5. Is the area under the pedalboard nice and clean?
  6. Did you contract to have your tech install better chamber lighting?
 It’s just the beginning of the month. There’s still time.
See you in the fall.

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View Online Calendar to see chapter and other local events

Event Calendar
Submit your event with our online form by clicking on the button below or from our chapter website.
Submit Event
Job Listings are now available on our chapter website. To post a job opening, contact kari.magg@snet.net   
Job Listings
Chapter Board

Dean - Kari Miller

Sub-Dean - Peter Niedmann
Secretary - Douglas Duca

Treasurer - John Coghill
Registrar - Mark Child
Alan MacMillan
Mary DeLibero
Vaughn Mauren

Newsletter Editors
Edward Clark
Joan Pritchard

Job Listing Service
Kari Miller


Amy Vinisko

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