This page is intended to include biographies of past Deans. Look for updates as data becomes available.
Special Thanks to Barbara Owen, Carson Cooman, Carl Klein, Louise Mundinger, and Leo Abbott of our Chapter, Gail Dow from Methuen Memorial Music Hall, and Todd Sisley, editor of The American Organist magazine for their help in researching these Deans.
1905-08 George A. Burdett *
The New England Chapter’s first Dean was the versatile George A. Burdett. He was born in Boston June 17, 1856 and came from a musical line, his father having been in his youth organist at the historic “Bulfinch” Church at South Lancaster.
At Harvard Mr. Burdett came under the wing of J. K. Paine, graduating summa cum laude in music. He was editor of the Harvard Crimson and helped revive interest in Greek plays. Following college he spent several years in postgraduate study, a portion of the time with Haupt in Berlin, continuing with Fischer in Dresden.
Immediately upon his return to this country, he accepted a call as organist and choirmaster at Harvard Church, Brookline, where his twenty years of service developed the musical ministry into great and ever-growing significance and all-around worth. In 18895 he went to Central Church. Boston, where he was enabled to put into practice many of his high ideals for worship music. After sixteen years in this position, he returned to Harvard Church in 1911, retiring a few years later to devote himself to composition and his publication interests. He was a Founds of the Guild (A.G.O.) and was one of the committee of three (with S. B. Whitney and Henry M. Dunham) appointed from Headquarters in New York to arrange illustrative services before New England had a Chapter. He was appointed to organize and to be Dean of the New England Chapter, the second in the Guild. Several years later (1920-1922) he again was elected to head the group.
1908-09 Hamilton C. MacDougall *
Hamilton Crawford Macdougall of Wellesley College, Wellesley, Mass., was born October 15, 1858, in Rhode Island. His education was acquired in the Providence schools, music teachers in this country and in England. Teacher of music and organist at Providence ; professor of music
at Wellesley College, 1900; Associate Royal College of Organists, London, 1883. Author of “Studies in Melody Playing,” “The National Graded Course,” 7 books ; ” Graded Material for the Left Hand ; ” also famous songs and anthems. Writer for musical periodicals. Honorary degree of Mus. D. at Brown University, 1901.
1909-18 Walter J. Clemson *
Walter John Clemson, M.A. (Cantab.), F.R.S.A., served as Dean of the New England Chapter for nine years, longer than any other person before or since. As the records of the Chapter are incomplete, it is impossible to determine the actual date of his first election, but it is quite certain that he began his term of service on September 1, 1909. On December 13, 1909, the Chapter reorganized in compliance with the new charter at Headquarters and elected the officers noted on the previous page. Evidently these were the same officers elected at the annual meeting the spring before.
Mr. Clemson was a native of England and came to this country in 1885 as organist-choirmaster of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Taunton, where he served the remainder of his life. He was a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians in London and became one of the Founds of the Guild in Boston. He was a real “gentleman of the old school.” In talks with present-day Guild members, he is described as “extremely dignified and well-bred.” Meetings of the Chapter in the days of Mr. Clemson’s deanship were chiefly characterized by their formality. The men always wore full-dress suits to Guild events. Alfred Brinkler, F.A.G.O., of Portland, Maine, recalls board meetings those days in which Dean Clemson “…used to entertain us royally at the old St. Botolph Club.” Mr. Clemson, believing as he did in the furtherance of compositions by American composers, instituted an award beginning in 1897 for the best composition of the year to be judged by a committee of Guild members at Headquarters. The prize took the form of a gold medal and the “Clemson Medal” was awarded up until 1920. The H. W. Gray Company later added a prize of fifty dollars to the award.
1918-20 Everett E. Truette *
Mr. Everett E. Truette was born in Rockland, Mass. in 1861. In 1881 he graduated from the New England Conservatory, in organ, piano, harmony, theory, counterpoint, and the art of conducting. Two years later he graduated from the Boston University with the degree of Bachelor of Music, after which a period of nearly two years was devoted to further study in Berlin, Paris, and London, with Haupt, Guilmant, and Best. Returning to Boston he was engaged for nearly ten years as organist and choirmaster of three prominent churches, playing between five and seven services each week. For seven years he was editor of the organ department of The Etude and for three years conductor of the Newton Choral Association. Besides giving over four hundred organ recitals in New England and New York State, he was engaged to give two recitals in Festival Hall at the World’s Fair, St. Louis, three recitals at the Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, and two inaugural recitals on the memorial organ in Grace Church, San Francisco. He is one of the original founders of the American Guild of Organists, was, for several years, Local Examiner, and was secretary of the New England Chapter at its organization in 1905.
Mr. Truette is one of the most famous concert organists in the country and has given recitals from coast to coast. The San Francisco Examiner said: ” Mr. Truette is the best organist that ever came to our city.” The Boston Herald: ” Mr. Truette is one of the best players who understands the use of the organ as a concert instrument. Guilmant, Batiste, Oscar Wagner, Merkel, Bach, and Best were all represented in Mr. Truette’s program of notable works, and the good taste, admirable skill and scholarly ability of the player was fully shown in his presentation of the several numbers.
1920-22 George A. Burdett *
George Burdett served as the first Dean of the Chapter. Twelve years after he left office, he again assumed the deanship, succeeding Mr. Truette.
1922-26 John H. Loud *
John Hermann Loud, F.A.G.O, A.R.C.M., was born in Weymouth on August 26, 1873. He was a direct descendant of Elder William Brewster, of the Mayflower. John Hermann Loud studied in Paris, and was the last living pupil of Alexandre Guilmant of La Trinite, generally considered the greatest of French organists, and Cesar Franck of Ste. Clothilde, one of the greatest of French composers. For almost his entire working life, he was organist of the Park Street Church in Boston, and was one of the city’s best recitalists.
Mr. Loud graduated from Thayer Academy in South Braintree, went on to the New England Conservatory of Music as a student in 1889-1890 and studied in Germany, France and England in 1893-1895. “Who’s Who in America” lists Mr. Loud in its columns, stating that his repertoire consists of “… more than 1000 compositions.” He received his Associate certificate from the Royal College of Music in London after his study there. He served for a period as organist and director at the Newton Centre Baptist Church until he came to Park Street to serve with the eminent Dr. A.Z. (Arcturus Zodiac) Conrad. Park Street Church is located at “Brimstone Corner” of the early Colonial days and is the church where Samuel Francis Smith’s hymn “America” was first sung in this country.
Mr. Loud had a keen sense of the responsibilities of the office of Dean of the New England Chapter and was aware of his goals. More native talent was used for recitals than today, as more and more the Chapter seeks for the “big-name” artists. A combination of both is probably ideal. Mr. Loud served four terms as leader of the Chapter.
1926-30 John P. Marshall *
John Patten (or Patton) Marshall was elected to his first term as Dean of the New England Chapter in May 1926 and served until 1930, the same length of service as his predecessor, Mr. Loud. In this respect he became the last Dean to serve longer than three years in that office.
Mr. Marshall was born in Rockport on January 9, 1877. He began to play in church at the age of 12. From his first position at the First Congregational Church in Rockport, he went to the Universalist Church in Gloucester, then for one year at the Winthrop Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Roxbury. The next ten years were devoted to the music at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Roxbury Crossing, a church devoted to the cultivation of plainsong and congregational singing. His love for Gregorian chant must have begun at this time. He served as organist of the First Church in Boston (Unitarian), Berkeley and Marlborough Streets, from 1910 to 1926, becoming organist-emeritus when the church merged with the Central Congregational Church. He succeeded Arthur Foote at First Church, and in turn was succeeded by William E. Zeuch.
Mr. Marshall studied piano with Edward A. MacDowell and with Benjamin J. Lang. He was also a pupil of George W. Chadwick and Homer A. Norris. For ten years he was director of music at the Middlesex School, Concord. His connection with Boston University began in 1902 when he was appointed lecturer on music. In 1928 he became the first Dean of the new College of Music at that University. He also served as “official organist” for the Boston Symphony Orchestra for many years. While he was Dean of the Guild, Holy Cross College in Worcester conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Music.
Several outstanding events occurred during his tenure as Dean of the Chapter. Louis Vierne of Paris came to America and played at Holy Cross College under Guild auspices.
1930-33 Raymond C. Robinson *
Raymond Robinson, Mus.B., Mus.D., F.A.G.O., served as Dean of the New England Chapter for three terms. He was a graduate of the Worcester Classical high School and an honor graduate of the New England Conservatory. He studied piano with B. J. Lang and composition and orchestration with George Chadwick. His organ teachers were Wallace Goodrich and Joseph Bonnet. His experience as a teacher included the position as instructor in music at Wellesley College from 1919 to 1932, instructor in organ, harmony, and harmonic analysis at the New England Conservatory since 1920 and instructor in music at Boston University since 1918. He became professor of organ at the latter institution in 1930. He received his Mus. Bac. Degree from the University of Toronto and the Mus. D. from the New York College of Music. His positions as church organist included: All Souls’ and Brace Church, Worcester; The First Parish Unitarian Church of Concord; the Central Congregational Church of Boston, where he remained eight years, and King’s Chapel, Boston since 1924. He passed away in the spring 1945.
1933-36 Frederick H. Johnson *
Frederick H. Johnson, A.B., F.T.C.L., F.A.G.O., became Dean of the New England Chapter on September 1, 1933 and served three terms. He was born in 1883 and passed away suddenly early in 1949. He studied piano with Mme. Helen Hopekirk and George E. Whitney and organ with Everett Truette. He was a graduate of Harvard University. He became director of the music department at Bradford Junior College, Bradford, Massachusetts in 1913. He served as Dean of the church music section of the Wellesley Conference in 1928. He became an instructor in organ at Boston University in 1934. In 1928 he became organist and choirmaster of the Church of the Advent, Boston, and lent distinction to that office for many years. In 1947 he became organist and choirmaster of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, remaining there until his sudden death two years later. Mr. Johnson served as the chairman of the examiners for Trinity College, London, examinations in this country. Mr. Johnson resigned as a member of the Guild in November 1942 because of a misunderstanding with officials at Headquarters over the results of one of his pupil’s examinations for the Associateship certificate. He resignation was accepted by the Executive Committee.
1936-37 William E. Zeuch *
William E. Zeuch was born in 1867 in Chicago, Ilinois; he was a graduate of Northwestern University, and went on to study organ with Alexandre Guilmant in Paris, France. Returning to the U.S., in addition to playing for various churches in Chicago, and giving recitals, he became a sales representative with the Aeolian Co. of Garwood, New Jersey, the premier maker of residence organs.
In 1917, Ernest M. Skinner hired Zeuch as vice-president to assist with sales and development of the Skinner firm then located in Dorchester, Massachusettes. Zeuch continued in this role for 38 years, through three different corporate identities (Ernest M. Skinner, Skinner Organ Company, Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company) before retiring in 1955. He also kept up his work as a recitalist, he was Sunday afternoon recitalist at First Church (Unitatian) for 28 years (1930-1958). He died 2 June 1963 in Boston.
1937-39 Homer P. Whitford *
Homer Whitford, Mus.B., Mus.D., F.A.G.O., was born in Harvey, Illinois in 1892. Mr. Whitford entered the Conservatory of Music at Tarkio College, Missouri and was graduated in organ and theory in 1910. He then went to Oberlin for work in organ and composition, receiving the Mus. B. degree in 1915. He took the Associate examination of the Guild in 1914 and the Fellowship in 1915. He was at the First Presbyterian Church of Shelbyvillle, Indiana and at the Shelby School of Music in 1915-1917 and from there went to the Church of the Good Shepherd, Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was director of the U.S. Army Band for the one year while he was in the military forces during the First World War. In May 1919, he went to the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Utica, New York. In the fall of 1923 he went to Dartmouth College as organist and instructor of music.
Mr. Whitford spent the summer of 1924 in France studying organ with Widor and Vierne and conducting with André Bloch. In 1934, he organized the Vermont-New Hampshire Chapter with Mr. Whitford as first Dean, in which office he served for two terms.
He came to Boston shortly thereafter and served as organist at the First Church in Cambridge, Congregational. At this time he studied composition at Harvard University. He became active in the New England Chapter in Boston, serving as Sub-Dean under Mr. Zeuch, and in May, 1937 was elected Dean, thus becoming the first person to serve as Dean of more than one Chapter in New England. Tarkio College awarded him its honorary degree of doctor of music in 1950.
Dr. Whitford has been interested in the subject of music therapy for the ill and has done notable work in this field with his center of activity chiefly at the McLean Hospital in Waverly, Massachusetts.
At the first Executive Committee meeting held in September, 1937, the Dean was authorized “…to appoint a committee to study the situation regarding the ethics of visiting organists playing for wedding and funerals. Also, the use of the organ by an organist’s pupils and by strangers.”
It was during Mr. Whitford’s tenure that the name of the Chapter, appropriately, was changed to “Massachusetts.” Because several new chapters in New England had come into being, it was felt that the new name would serve to distinguish the parent chapter better.
1939-42 Homer C. Humphrey *
Homer Humphrey was born in Yarmouth, Maine on August 1, 1880. His early studies in piano were with E. A. Blanchard. In 1899 he came to Boston as a student at the New England Conservatory of Music from which he graduated in 1901, taking his soloist’s diploma in 1902. He was an organ pupil of Wallace Goodrich and later studied with Joseph Bonnet in Paris. At the Conservatory he took theory with Louis C. Elson, counterpoint with George W. Chadwick and piano with Alfred de Voto.
He has been a member of the faculty of the Conservatory since 1904 as a teacher of organ. He has won several prizes in composition including the Paderewski prize in 1927 and the National Chamber Music prize for his trio for violin, bello and piano. Also he won the Conservatory Alumni Song Contest in 1930 for his work, “Give Me of Thy Delight.” Mr. Humphrey served as director of the Fall River Choral Art Society from 1920 to 1924. He was organist of the Second Church in Newton from 1910 to 1916, three years at the Second Church in Concord and for over twenty years was organist at the Second Church in Boston, Beacon Street and Park Drive (1924-1947). From 1952 to 1956 he served as organist of the West Somerville Congregational Church.
Mr. Humphrey has been active in the Guild in Boston ever since its formation in 1905, in fact the early records state that he was present at the first public service of the Chapter held at Emmanuel Church, November 20, 1906. He served for two years as Sub-Dean under Mr. Whitford and was promoted to the deanship on September 1, 1939.
1942-44 William B. Burbank *
William Belknap Burbank, a modest, self-effacing man who was greatly beloved by all who knew him, became Dean of the Massachusetts Chapter on September 1, 1942. He brought to his duties a background of solid musicianship. He was both a church musician and educator. For twenty-five years he had been supervisor of music in the schools of the town of Brookline and for a long period served as organist and choirmaster of St. Paul’s Church there. His untimely passing, so soon after the death of this lovely wife, in June 1944, came shortly after his announced retirement as Dean of the Chapter and was a great shock to his host of friends.
There were eight events held this season, three recitals, two services and three socials. The effect of wartime abstinence plus gas rationing was felt in these times.
1944-47 Harris S. Shaw *
Harris Shaw was born at Thomaston, Maine in December 1883. He was educated in the local schools and began playing the organ at age 12. In his boyhood he was the accompanist and organist for the Maine Festival Chorus. In 1903 he moved to Boston to make a career, studying music and supporting himself. For a number of years he accompanied Max Heinrich, Stephen Townsend, Willard Flint and server of the Boston Symphony Orchestra soloists. He studied piano with Carl Baermann and Edward Bowman in Boston and later with Leopold Godowski in New York. His organ teachers were Wallace Goodrich and Everett Truette and in Europe he did work with Widor in Paris and Alfred Hollins in Edinburgh. His theoretical work was largely with George Chadwick, Loeffler and Louis Elson. His close association with Emil Mollenhauer in his study of conducting is one of his prized memories.
Mr. Shaw’s official position have been so many that it must suffice to enumerate only a few in these pages. He served as heard of the piano and organ department at the University of New Hampshire for three years; as organist and choirmaster at the Universalist Church in Boston for fifteen years; at Harvard Church, Brookline for four years, and since 1923 he has been organist and choirmaster at Grace Episcopal Church, Salem. He was music director at the Harvard Summer School in 1914-1915; director of music at Middlebury College, Vermont in 1917-1918; past-president of the Music Manuscript Club of Boston; past-president of the Pianoforte Teachers’ Society of Boston 1933-1940; past-president, New England Choir Directors’ Guild 1940-1942; and Sub-Dean of the Massachusetts Chapter of the A.G.O. under Dean Burbank 1942-1944. Mr. Shaw succeeded Mr. Burbank upon the latter’s death in June 1944, having been elected at the annual meeting on May 22nd for the term beginning September 1st. Dean Shaw served for three memorable years from 1944 to 1947. The Spring Festival sponsored by the Chapter in April 1947 was the high point of the season and a fitting climax to Dean Shaw’s three years’ tenure.
1947-49 Gerald Foster Frazee*
Gerald Frazee became Dean of the Massachusetts Chapter on July 1, 1947, succeeding Harris Shaw. He had served on the Executive Committee from 1932 to 1935 and again from 1938 to 1940. The Chapter was fortunate to secure his services as Dean. He was born in Wilmington, Massachusetts in 1896, graduated from the new England Conservatory of Music in 1916 and was a Navy bandsman in World War I. Mr. Frazee has been organist and choirmaster in various suburban churches of Boston, and for a considerable period at Auburndale Congregational Church. In recent years he has been organist and choirmaster at the First Baptist Church, Newton Centre. He succeeded Raymond Floyd at this church (former Treasurer of the New England Chapter of the Guild). Mr. Frazee was formerly the head of the music department at Dean Academy, Franklin, and was associated with the Frazee Organ Company of South Natick, Massachusetts.
The first meeting of the 1947-1948 season was one that was largely attended, due in no small part to the announced collation to be given by the Seiler Company, well-known Boston caterer. The evening of music, however, also justified the large turnout and everyone present enjoyed himself thoroughly. The meeting was held in the church hall of the Eliot Church, Newton Corner. The music of the evening was a demonstration of the facilities of the Baldwin electronic organ with a talk by A. Thorndike Luard of the Baldwin company. Three members of the Chapter gave short programs on the instrument: Margaret Reade Martin of the Second Church in Dorchester, Leo G. Brehm of Sacred Heart Church, Newton Centre, and Samuel T. Walter, organist of Eliot Church.
Ruth Barrett Arno/Phelps (October 21, 1899 – August 30, 1980) was an American organist whose career included both theatre organ and church performance.
Ruth was born on October 21, 1899 in Albany, New York. She was a pupil of Lynnwood Farnam. In 1926 she was a resident organist at the Colony Theatre in New York City. She moved to the Cameo Theatre in 1928. While in New York she performed concerts of classical music at Aeolian Hall.
In January 1949, the Chapter was exceedingly fortunate to have available her services of as successor to Sub-Dean Elwood Gaskill who had resigned. Ruth had been active in the Chapter since coming to Boston in 1934 as the successor to Claude Saunier at the First Church of Christ, Scientist (The Mother Church). Mrs. Arno’s teachers in organ have been Lilian Carpenter, Lynnwood Farman, Ernest Mitchell and Fritz Heitmann. Her theoretical work has been with Clement Gale (harmony and counterpoint), Frederick Schlieder (improvisation), and Frank La Forge (accompanying). She attended the Guilmant Organ School in New York and the American School of Music at Fontainebleau, France. She has given Town Hall recitals.
That she is a sensitive musician and highly successful as organist of the Mother Church can be judged by her continuing tenure there, as a rotation of organists had usually been the practice in this and other churches of that denomination. In March 1950, Mrs. Arno married Lawrence I. Phelps, organ architect and custodian of organs at the Mother Church. The new 4-manual Aeolian-Skinner instrument installed in June 1953 is the largest church organ in this country (235 ranks and over 147 speaking-stops). It was designed by Mr. Phelps.
During 1949-1950 when Mrs. Arno was Dean of the Massachusetts Chapter, Guild classes were started for the purpose of stimulating and promoting interest in the Guild examinations. During these years the classes were well-attended and the Choir Master examination was held for the first time in Boston. Also a joint meeting with the New England Choir Directors’ Guild was held on April 11, 1950. Another “first” is the fact that Mrs. Arno was the first woman to become Dean of the Chapter
Ruth Barrett Phelps died on August 30, 1980 in San Mateo, California.
1951-52 Theodore N. Marier *
Theodore Norbert Marier (October 17, 1912 – February 24, 2001) was a church musician, educator, arranger and scholar of Gregorian Chant. He founded St. Paul’s Choir School in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963, and served as the second president of the Church Music Association of America.
A graduate of Boston College, he was director of band music there from 1934 to 1942. In 1940 he received a master’s degree from Harvard, and over the course of the years he was also a choir director or lecturer at Emmanuel College, Newton College of the Sacred Heart, and Boston University.
Theodore Marier, F.A.G.O., Ch.M., served two terms as Sub-Dean of the Massachusetts Chapter, succeeding to the Deanship on July 1, 1951. He was born in Fall River in October 1912. He was educated at Boston College (A.B., 1934) and Harvard University (M.A. in music, 1940). He served as director of music at Boston College from 1937 to 1942 and has been organist and choirmaster at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, Harvard Square, Cambridge, since 1934. For several years he served as conductor of the Schola Cantorum Society of the Archdiocese of Boston. He has been church editor for a number of years for the McLaughlin & Reilly Company, music publishers in Boston. He was on the summer-school faculty of the Pius X School of Liturgical Music in New York.
The Chapter Bulletin was commenced under Dean Marier’s leadership in September 1951, with David Ashley Cotton serving as Editor. Announcements of all the Guild events for the coming month are included as well as many notices of musical services by members of the Chapter. This bulletin is now an integral part of the Chapter’s service to its members.
After his 1986 retirement from St. Paul’s, Marier became Justine Bayard Ward Professor and faculty adviser of the doctoral program in liturgical music and Director of the Center for Ward Studies at The Catholic University of America. He was also a member of the board of directors of the Institut für Hymnologische und Musikethnologische Studien, Maria Laach, Germany; and a fellow of the American Guild of Organists.
Marier also studied at Cambridge University, England, and made recordings with the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa. He edited two hymnals: Cantus Populi (1954) and Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Canticles (two editions, 1975 and 1983)
1952-54 Grover J. Oberle *
Grover J. Oberle, FAGO, was born in New York City, Mr. Oberle received his early musical training as a chorister at St. Thomas Choir School, and studied with T. Tertius Noble, Philip James, and Pierre Monteux. During his long career, he held positions as organist and choirmaster at Holy Trinity Church, Westport, Conn.; St. Thomas Church, New York (assistant); St. John’s Church, Lafayette Square, Washington; Emmanuel Church, Boston; and Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Norfolk, from which he retired in 1989 after 30 years of service. Mr. Oberle founded and directed the Cantata Chorus of Norfolk, which presented a Brahms concert in his memory, Allen Shaffer, AAGO, conductor. During World War II, Mr. Oberle served as a chaplain’s assistant at the USNR Midshipmen’s School at Columbia University, and before coming to Norfolk was on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory of Music and Emerson College. He had been vice president the Boston Conservatory of Music and Emerson College. He had been vice president of the American Guild of Organists, past dean of the Boston and Norfolk AGO chapters, a member of the board of directors of the Harvard Musical Association, and a music critic for the Ledger Star newspaper. He died in Norfolk, Virginia in 1997.
1954-55 George H. Faxon *
George Faxon was a noted organist, teacher, and choirmaster for many years in the Boston area, he had been E. Power Biggs’s assistant at the Longy School of Music and had taught at other schools in the area. He was artist in residence at Old South Church at the time of his death. Born in Portland, Oregon, Mr. Faxon grew up in Conway, N.H. He graduated from Bentley College in 1934, after which he studied organ with Albert W. Snow at the New England Conservatory. He then moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., becoming assistant to Palmer Christian. After service in World War II, he returned to Boston in 1946 to become organist at the Church of the Advent. He joined the faculty of Boston University in 1956, teaching there until 1978. He also taught at Brown University and during summers at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He served as organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston from 1949 to 1954, then succeeded Francis Snow at Trinity Church, where he instituted such changes as a mixed choir where there had previously been only a mens’ and boys’ choir and the use of instruments with the organ. He often performed arrangements and compositions by his wife, Nancy Plummer Faxon, to explore the full range of his musical forces. A voracious reader, he was a mountain climber, and played piano and trumpet in local bands. He was also a jazz pianist and theater organ player. He died in 1992 and is buried in Walnut Hills Cemetery, Brookline.
1955-56 Eleanor P. Jackson *
Eleanor Packard Jackson graduated in 1928 from the New England Conservatory, studying organ with Homer C. Humphrey and piano with F. Motte-Lacroix. For many years she was the organist at First Baptist Church in Boston. The History of the First Baptist Church of Boston mentions that Eleanor was organist (with a separate choir director) during the pastorate of Rev. John U. Miller (1949-1956), who wrote: “”Mary Nevery, director of music and soloist par excellence, who, together with Eleanor Jackson, organist and president [sic – obviously meant Dean] of the American Guild of Organists, created church music of incredible beauty and inspiration. No pastor and congregation were never more blessed not more deeply moved. The massive organ and the cavernous character of the sanctuary made the music echo with divine overtones.” (Pretty high praise from a minister!) Eleanor is mentioned as organist/pianist at many church, civic and cultural events in the Boston area in the 1950’s. As Dean, she presided over the festivities in 1955 for the Chapter’s Golden Anniversary (50 years). She served only 1 year as Dean.
1956-58 Herbert Irvine *
Mr. Irvine was a native of Lynn, Massachusetts. He had a brilliant career as a musician, becoming a Colleague of the AGO at the age of 19, and earning the AAGO certification at the age of 20, one of the youngest people in the country to earn the certifications at the time. After studying under teachers in Boston and Lynn, Mr. Irvine studied under Charles-Marie Widor and in 1925 received the Diplome d’Execution (Performance) at the Conservatoire Américain . In 1929 he returned to the Fontainebleau Conservatoire in France for further studies in piano with Isadore Phillipe. He has been a concert artist since the age of 20. He served in various churches in the Boston area and in the Swampscott School System. He died in 1981.
1958-60 Mary Crowley Vivian *
Mary Crowley Vivian was a graduate of the Curtis Institute, where she studied with Alexander McCurdy, and of Radcliffe College, where she studies at the Longy School of Music. Her teacher these was E. Power Biggs, and she became known as his protegee.
A well-known recitalist in her time, Vivian was a fellow of the American Guild of Organists and performed at several AGO conventions. She made her home in the Boston area, where she was active as a teacher and a church musician we well as a recitalist. She was Dean of the Boston AGO chapter from 1958 – 1960 and taught both at Boston University and Wellesley College. Vivian died November 10, 1988 (from Notes on Mary Crowley Vivian by Donna Arnold)
1960-61 Max B. Miller *
Max Miller served on the faculties of the School of Music and the School of Theology at Boston University for forty-two years until his retirement in 1991. He was simultaneously University Organist, Director of Music at Marsh Chapel, Director of the Master of Sacred Music program, conductor of the Seminary Singers, and Professor of Organ in the School of Music.
He taught organ not only to majors in that instrument but also to those studying within the MSM program. For Max every student was his student, whether they could play the most difficult of Reger’s Phantasien or more modest repertoire. He guided all of them to develop their musicality to the highest level possible. Probably he did not often say to a student “don’t you think that’s too difficult for you.” All of his students remember him with the greatest affection.
Max Miller began his study of the organ in his native California. While studying Arnold Schoenberg’s difficult Variations on a Recitative, he received coaching from the composer. (Max published a reminiscence of this encounter, a copy of which is kept the Arnold-Schoenberg-Archiv in Vienna.) Max and his wife Betty lived in Vienna for several years, while Max studied with the eminent Austrian virtuoso, teacher, and composer, Anton Heiller. Max received his Ph.D from Boston University and was a Fellow of the American Guild of Organsts.
Max was dedicated to his role as church musician. Over the years, his Chapel assistants enjoyed a unique apprenticeship in how to run a choir rehearsal and in the fine art of service playing. For decades Max was in demand as a workshop presenter at organists’ conventions.
For many years he wrote an “Ask Uncle Max” column for The American Organist, the national publication of the American Guild of Organists. His columns were always the perfect blend of erudition and good musical sense. His interests were very wide, encompassing theology, literature, and much else.
His knowledge of the organ repertoire was impressive, and he was the guiding spirit in the founding of The Organ Library, located in the School of Theology. This has grown to be one of the largest collections of organ music in the world, accessible through a searchable database. The Organ Library awards the biennial Max B. Miller prize to outstanding books devoted to organ literature and performance.
1961-63 John R. Ferris *
John Ferris was born in 1926 in East Lansing, Mich. He took piano lessons as a child as well as a few organ lessons, and heard the latter instrument played in local movie theaters. He was drafted at 18 and stationed at Fort Riley, Kan. As he described in an interview with the Globe, “It was a cavalry post and we were supposed to learn how to work with horses and mules for combat in Burma. To keep from going crazy, I started to take organ lessons again, and before long I had been invited to take over as post organist, and because at that age you don’t realize what you don’t know, I took on the choir as well.”
After the war, he attended Michigan State University, where he focused on music, and later did graduate work at Union Theological Seminary’s School of Sacred Music. He held a position for eight years as organist and choirmaster at a church in Red Bank, N.J., but by age 31, he was offered the same post at Harvard’s Memorial Church.
At Harvard, John Ferris conducted the Harvard University Choir from 1958 to 1990 and taught hymnology in the Divinity School. John Ferris’s interest in 17th-century music deepened and he became a devoted exponent of the music of Heinrich Schütz, paving the way for a citywide burst of interest in H. Schütz’ music
John Ferris was one of the first Boston-area musicians to focus intensely on early music, and he was particularly acclaimed for his interpretations of J.S. Bach. Beyond H. Schütz and J.S. Bach, Ferris was also praised as an excellent interpreter of George Frideric Handel.
After retiring from his post in 1990, John Ferris traveled widely as a guest lecturer. He also took over the directorship of the choir at the Congregational Church in Colebrook, Connecticut., close to his home in the Berkshires. Over the years, he performed as a concert organist throughout the USA and made his European concert debut in 1978 at La Basilique du Sacré Cour in Paris.
John Ferris died in 2008.
1963-64 Marion Boron *
Marion Boron was an assistant professor of fine, creative, and performing arts at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown, MA where she had taught since 1983. She had previously been a professor in the music department of Boston State College for 20 years. Born in Springfield, MA, Miss Boron had received a BA degree in music from Boston University and an MA degree in music from Smith College. Before joining the staff at Boston State, she was a teacher at Harford College and the Hartford Seminary Foundation Schools. She studied with Nadia Boulanger at the Longy School during World War II and became organist and choir director at Christ Church, Cambridge, in 1949, a position in which continued for 19 years. She was later organist of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Weston, and most recently at Church of Our Savior (Episcopal) in Brookline. A composer, she was a member of the College Music Society and the American Association of Higher Education, as well as of the AGO. Miss Boron served as Dean of the Boston AGO Chapter, 1963 – 1964. She died in 1987 after a long illness.
1964-65 Daniel Pinkham *
Daniel Pinkham was born in Lynn, Massachusetts. He studied organ and harmony at Phillips Academy, Andover, with Carl F. Pfatteicher; then at Harvard with A. Tillman Merritt, Walter Piston, Archibald T. Davison and Aaron Copland (A.B. 1942; M.A. 1944). He also studied harpsichord with Putnam Aldrich and Wanda Landowska, and organ with E. Power Biggs. At Tanglewood he studied composition with Arthur Honegger and Samuel Barber, and subsequently with Nadia Boulanger.
Pinkham has taught at Simmons College, Boston University, Dartington Hall (Devon, England), and was Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University (1957-58). In 1950 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and in 1962 a Ford Foundation Fellowship as a choral conductor. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was on the faculty of the New England of Conservatory of Music where he is senior professor in the Musicology Department.
Pinkham was Music Director Emeritus of historic King’s Chapel in Boston where he actively served from 1958 until 2000. He was the recipient of six honorary degrees: Litt D., Nebraska Wesleyan University, 1976; Mus. D., Adrian College, 1977; Mus. D. Westminster Choir College, 1979; Mus.D., New England Conservatory, 1993; Mus.D., Ithaca College, 1994; Mus. D., Boston Conservatory, 1998.
Pinkham was a prolific and versatile composer whose catalog includes four symphonies and other works for large ensembles; cantatas and oratorios; concertos and other works for solo instrument and orchestra for piano, piccolo, trumpet, violin, harp and three organ concertos; theatre works and chamber operas; chamber music; electronic music; and twenty documentary television film scores.
Pinkham’s orchestral works have been played by major orchestras in the United States including the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, The Buffalo Philharmonic (which he conducted in the premiere of his Organ Concerto Number One), the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of John Williams and by the composer himself, the Portland Symphony Orchestra, the Louisville Symphony Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico and many others. In May 1997 Ray Cornils premiered his Organ Concerto Number Three with the Portland (Maine) Symphony Orchestra.
In 1990, Pinkham was named Composer of the Year by the American Guild of Organists. In 1996 Daniel Pinkham received the Alfred Nash Patterson Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the Choral Arts. Mr. Pinkham died in 2006.
1965-67 Jack B. Fisher *
Jack Fisher, AAGO, CHM , a native of Texas, received his BM degree from the University of Texas and his MSM from Union Theological Seminary’s School of Sacred Music. Dean of the Boston Chapter, 1965-1967, he was especially involved in preparing members to take the Guild examinations. Before coming to Boston, he was active in the Twin Cities Chapter, and he also participated in the activities of the Organ Historical Society.
A frequent recitalist in many parts of the country, he was closely associated with the Walcker organ at the Methuen Memorial Music Hall, of which he was a trustee, and the large E. & G.G. Hook organ, Opus 322, 1863, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Boston’s South End, where he became titular organist in 1977.
A dedicated organ teacher, Jack Fisher was associated with Boston University for almost eighteen years, also serving for briefer terms at Bradford Junior College and Pine Manor Junior College. He was organist and choirmaster at Emmanuel Church in Boston from 1960 to 1966, and since then had served at the Union Church in Waban. Jack died on June 14, 1980. Since many of his Boston friends were attending the National Convention at the time of Jack Fisher’s death, a brief service was held there with former students playing the Eleven Chorale Preludes of Johannes Brahms at St Mark’s Cathedral. In September, the Boston Chapter sponsored a Guild Memorial program, featuring the Mozart Requiem and the two Mozart Organ Fantasias. – Article by Max Miller
1967-69 Rosamond D. Brenner
Rosamond Drooker Brenner has been playing piano since age 5. She is an accomplished keyboard artist, composer, and teacher. She is a graduate of Radcliffe College (1953, AB) and of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1954, Masters). She was awarded a 2-year Fulbright Fellowship (1954-1956) and studied organ and harpsichord in Vienna, Austria. In 1959, she was awarded a professional certificate in organ in Geneva, Switzerland. She received her PhD in Music History from Brandeis University in 1968. She taught piano to children and adults for 35 years and was an organist and choir director at various churches and temples. She served as Dean of the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. She was a frequent organ soloist and member of the American Musicological Society. She taught Music History and Literature, Form and Analysis at the Boston Conservatory of Music.
She feels in a different world when she plays the piano, one filled with joy and exaltation. She became a Baha’i in 1971 and the writings of the Baha’i faith have inspired her original compositions. The manner in which describes the relationship between the specific writing and the piano composition is quite remarkable. The Baha’i texts that she refers to are printed on the covers of her recordings.
Martin Steinmetz has been an AGO member since 1960. He first served the Boston chapter as treasurer beginning in 1965, then became sub-dean/program chairman in 1970, Dean in 1971, and Associate Chairman of the 1976 national convention. He was the author of the booklet The Work and Compensation of the Church Musician, updating it periodically for 15 editions, and organized a new Chapter placement service. For 30 years he recorded and was executive producer of the chapter’s radio program broadcast over WCRB (now part of WGBH). He was voted to become an honorary member of the chapter and serves on the Library Committee and coordinates the SPAC group.
Martin graduated from Yale University, where he studied music and engineering. He was employed for 45 years at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, doing radar research. With his wife, Ruth, helped raise 2 daughters and now has 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
For 54 years he was Minister of Music at the Allin Congregational Church in Dedham. He worked consecutively with 5 Ministers, who supported the music program which included all-volunteer choirs. During this time period it is estimated that he played for 2,500 Sunday services, 300 funeral/memorial services and 150 weddings.
The organ at the church is a 55 rank 1912 Skinner instrument which came from Harvard University’s Appleton Chapel. It was installed at Allin Church in 1938 and subsequently had some tonal alterations and a new console. Martin retired after 54 years at the Dedham church and was named Minister of Music, Emeritus, with a brass plaque mounted in the narthex of the church.
1973-75 Barbara J. Owen
I was born in Utica, NY of Welsh parents and grew up in New Haven, CT, where my family attended a church with a good music program. I sang in choirs there from the Third Grade on, took piano lessons, and began organ lessons when I was in High School. Earned my MusB in Organ at Westminster Choir College in 1955, studying with Alexander McCurdy. Attended my first AGO convention in 1956, and many others since. Was organist of First Church, Portland, CT and joined the Hartford AGO chapter; later went to First Baptist Church in Fall River and joined the Boston chapter. Moved to the Boston area to do graduate work at Boston University, where I earned my MusM in Musicology in 1961, with minor in organ with George Faxon. Finally settled down just north of Boston, where I worked for C. B. Fisk, Inc. 1962-79, and was music director at First Religious Society UU in Newburyport from 1963 to 2002, followed by St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Lowell 2002-2006, and a continuing string on the substitute list. I have held various offices in the Boston Chapter: Sub-Dean 1971-73, Dean 1973-1975, and served as Region 1 Councilor 1975-79, during which time I earned the AGO’s ChM degree. I have served on committees that planned Boston-based National and Regional conventions, and also as Dean of the Merrimac Valley Chapter where I am a dual member, and since 1998 have been chair of its annual Mini-Convention committee. In the 1980s I was one of the founders of the AGO Organ Library, and its Librarian until 2012. I have been an active member of the Organ Historical Society since its inception in 1956, having served twice as its President, and am also a Trustee of the Methuen Memorial Music Hall. I have published six books on the history and literature of the organ, edited several collections of organ music, and have served as an organ consultant to a number of churches over the years. But as far as the organ and its music are concerned I still consider myself a lifelong student.
1975-77 Marshall S. Wilkins *
Marshall Sumner Wilkins, born on June 10, 1925 and raised in Milton, MA where he was a graduate of Thayer Academy and Harvard University. Marshall served in the U.S. Army and was a Veteran of World War II. Marshall was the owner and President of Bay State Mailing and Dooley Press in Stoughton, formerly in Boston, for the past 65 years. An accomplished musician who studied with Dr. Snow at Trinity Church and had his first appointment of a music director at age 15 in Milton. He served several churches but spent the majority of his career as a music director and organist at Central Congregational Church in Newton where he developed a choir that brought him great joy. Marshall was also a past Dean of the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Marshall was an active member of Trinity Church of Boston, the 100 Club, the Harvard Club of Boston, St. John’s Lodge of Boston, the American Guild of Organists and a lifelong friend of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
He died in 2016
1977-79 Beverly Jerold Scheibert
Beverly Scheibert, AAGO (a/k/a Beverly Jerold), attended the Eastman School of Music, Syracuse University, and Boston University, receiving B.Mus., M.Mus. and DMA (ABD) degrees in organ; minor in musicology. Organ study was with David Craighead, Arthur Poister, and George Faxon; harpsichord with Daniel Pinkham.
She held various organist/director positions in the Boston area, including a decade at Christ Church Cambridge, where she directed a concert series of vocal and instrumental music. In 1976, an 1805 chamber organ by William Gray of London, on loan from the Fogg Art Museum, was restored to working condition by C. B. Fisk and installed in the gallery of Christ Church, where originally an organ by John Snetzler stood. With the publication of Jean-Henry D’Anglebert and the Seventeenth-Century Clavecin School (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1986), she came to the attention of the wider world of harpsichordists. Further books are:
The Complexities of Early Instrumentation: Winds and Brass (Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). Instruments’ limitations before modern times and composers’ lack of knowledge about them.
Music Performance Issues: 1600-1900 (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon, 2016). A reprint of 19 articles.
In press: Disinformation in Mass Media: Gluck, Piccinni and the Journal de Paris, RMA Monographs. Ruthless power unleashed by the first commercial daily paper.
A selection of her articles includes:
“Distinguishing between dotted notes and notes inégales, The Musical Times 161/1950 (Spring 2020): 61-76.
“Tartini and the Two Forms of Appoggiature,” Eighteenth Century Music 16/1 (2019): 83-86.
“Reichardt’s Review of Handel Concerts in London,” Handel News 71 (Jan. 2018): 14-19. Rpt. The Diapason (July 2018).
“Performance conditions, standards and Bach’s chorus,” The Musical Times 158/1941 (Winter 2017): 55-70.
“Zukunftsmusik/Music of the Future: A Moral Question,” Journal of Musicological Research 36/4 (2017): 1-25.
“Quantz and Agricola: A Literary Collaboration,” Acta Musicologica 88 (2016/2): 127-42.
“The appoggiatura breve in Domenico Scarlatti’s Sonate,” in The Early Keyboard Sonata in Italy and Beyond, ed. R. Stewart-MacDonald (Turnout: Brepols, 2016), 281-96.
“Diderot (Part I) — Authorship and Illusion,” [and] (Part II) —Temperament and Expressive Intonation,” Music Theory & Analysis 1/1&2 (2014): 38-60 and 2/1 (2015): 69-93.
“The Bach/Scheibe Controversy: New Documentation,” BACH, Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute 42/1 (2011): 1- 45.
“Glimpses of the American Organ, 1820-1850,” The Tracker 53/4 (Fall 2009): 14-22.
“Good Vibrations,” The Strad 116 (March 2005):44-49.
She is presently (2020) a writer and freelance musician near Princeton, NJ (bvjerold-at-gmail.com). Her profile at www.earlymusicamerica.org includes a more complete list of publications since 2000.
1979-71 Richard J. Griffin *
Richard J. Griffin received his BA and MA from Yale University. After moving to Boston he taught for over 25 years at Milton Academy where he was Music Chairman (appointed 1959) and taught Glee Club in addition to Mathematics. Richard was the organist and music director at St. Paul’s, Dedham. After retiring from Milton Academy, he resided in Hingham, MA.
1979-81 Carl S. Fudge *
Carl Fudge studied at the Connecticut Conservatory of music , receiving Mus.B and Mus.M degrees. He also received a Masters of Sacred Music from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He was an organist at many Boston Churches, including Old North Church and Church of the Good Shepherd in Waban.
The history of St. John’s church in 1959, describes Carl Fudge as a “memorable organist and choirmaster, (who) came to our church in the Fall on 1956. Not many who witnessed his arrangement of Noye’s Fludde (June 8 and 9, 1959) will forget this special, non-traditional medieval miracle play, written by the British Composer Benjamin Britten, as a one-act musical vehicle for children. In 1961, Carl left St John’s temporarily upon winning a Fulbright Fellowship for a year’s study abroad. He spent that time at the Conservatory of Music, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He subsequently resumed his duties at St John’s. In 1964 he experimented with a mens’ and boys’ choir; the former female members were retired. He left this post in 1964.”
Carl Fudge was a master craftsman of fine reproductions of historical keyboard instruments such as clavichords, virginals, and harpsichords. His shop was in Winchester, Massachusetts. Fudge’s Winchester workshop specialized in building and refurbishing harpsichords, clavichords and fortepianos. All the instruments are reproductions of 18th and 19th century pieces. All the harpsichords used by the BSO in 1977 were built by Fudge, and he traveled to Tanglewood three times each summer to tune his instruments before performances.
Sources: The Berkshire Eagle Aug 16, 1977;
Margaret “Peggy” Krewson (1930–2018) was born in Wadsworth, Ohio and began working as a church musician at age nine. Active as an operatic soprano as well as a choir director/organist, she was a licensed pilot and raised six children while holding church positions in several states before settling in Boston, Massachusetts. She was a colleague of Arthur Fiedler and John Williams. In Boston, she appeared in regional opera productions and served as section leader soprano in the choir at Trinity Church. In 1991, Krewson became music director at First Congregational Church on Nantucket, Massachusetts, where she directed an active music program and oversaw the restoration of the church’s Steere organ. In 2006, she retired back to the mainland and spent the rest of her life in Charlton, Massachusetts, assembling and directing a choir in her retirement community until a few years before her death on January 20, 201.
I grew up in several small western Pennsylvania towns, and played French horn in high school and college. Organ teachers included Reed Jerome, Fenner Douglass and Finn Viderø. I hold a B.A. degree in Music from Oberlin College and M.M. in Organ from the Yale School of Music. I taught Music for four years at Emma Willard School in Troy, NY, attained the AAGO certificate and joined the Organ Historical Society, along with the planning group for the 1967 OHS convention in upstate New York.
The OHS experience was a revelation. It directed me toward organs that speak clearly into their space and often have mechanical action. Lively sound in a supportive acoustic is exhilarating and it was highly formative musically and emotionally, much like falling in love.
In 1967, I moved to Boston. For several decades, the Boston chapter of 800 members was the nation’s largest. I served in several capacities including those of Recording Secretary, Registrar, Newsletter Editor, and Sub-Dean before becoming Dean in 1983. I served on the program committees of the 1976 and 2014 National Conventions in Boston.
In late 1983, the Chapter was devastated by losses of Charles Fisk and Bob Lahaise; I found that Dean’s message very hard to write. But overall, I delighted that two great anniversary years lay ahead: the 150th of Brahms in 1983 and the 300th of J. S. Bach, Handel, and Domenico Scarlatti and 400th of Heinrich Schütz in 1985. A student degree recital of Brahms’ organ works occurred on the Hook at Immaculate Conception Church, Boston. In 1985, events abounded, the largest being the Old West Organ Society’s all-day “marathon” on the splendid Fisk by six performers. This event drew busloads from Rhode Island, New Hampshire and elsewhere, and aligned the word “marathon” with extravagant organ event. A “Bach Bash” tradition evolved on the Friday at Trinity series. First Lutheran has since taken up the marathon concept with all-day programs on organ, harpsichord, a children’s concert, Vespers, and German luncheon.
I was active in both the Old West Organ Society (OWOS) and the OHS. With OHS, I played programs for twenty-one conventions, and served four terms as a National Councillor, chairing the Governing Board of the OHS Archives during two terms. I am also a member of the Harvard Musical Association.
In my favorite church positions, I have played organs built by E. & G.G. Hook and Charles Fisk and have been instrumental in the restoration of some Hook organs. In 1987, I received the OHS Distinguished Service Award for helping to protect the magnificent 1863 Hook organ/enlarged 1902 by Hook & Hastings in Immaculate Conception Church, following intentional vandalism to the church interior.
Other performances include: programs for AGO chapters in Richmond, Indianapolis and New England; local programs at Methuen, Old West, Trinity, Advent, Immaculate Conception, and the Mary Keene chapel in Enfield, NH; group performances at Holy Cross Cathedral; recitals at the Old Church, Portland, Oregon, St James Church, Chicago; and the dedication recital for the Bozeman-Gibson organ at St. Paul’s, Brookline. I have also played four recital tours in East Germany (fascinating) before the Wall came down (1989); a four-week tour in 1994 in West and the former East Germany; and recitals in Italy, Ireland, and the Azores. I played for a gallery opening on the 1830 Appleton organ in the Metropolitan Museum, NYC highlighting the work and times of Charles Wilson Peale.
I created and chaired the Chapter’s Organ Advisory Committee, which is available to meet with music committees about quality and condition of pipe organ, choir placement, building acoustics, etc.
Sincere thanks to the Boston AGO for the privileges of membership and participation.
Jim Hejduk (Hay-dock) ascended to the deanship of the BAGO after a number of years on the Executive Committee. At the time of his deanship, he was Director of Choral Music and Chapel Organist at Milton Academy and Organist-Choirmaster at The Congregational Church of Needham. His deanship was curtailed by the opportunity to take a one-year fill-in position as Director of Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln at the urging of former classmates Quentin Faulkner (Westminster Choir College) and George Ritchie (Indiana University). Oddly, that one year turned into twelve during which he jumped through the various tenure and promotion hoops. While in Lincoln, he was a member of the Lincoln AGO Chapter and served as organist at Second Church of Christ,Scientist. He returned to the Boston area in 1998 to accept a position as Music Department chair at Belmont Hill School and, miraculously, returned to The Congregational Church of Needham. One of his fond memories of those years was playing on a Past Deans’ Recital at Wellesley Hills Congregational Church. In retirement, he returned to Lincoln owing to its much lower cost of living and very lively classical music scene. He became organist at First Church of Christ, Scientist (a promotion pehaps?) and was a great fan of the music program virtually next door at First-Plymouth Congregational Church. In “small world” miracle, Tom Trenney was appointed Director of Music at F-P. Tom had grown up in the town next to Jim’s hometown of Madison, OH and Jim’s sister had been Tom’s high school geometry teacher! Jim served two terms as the Lincoln AGO chapter’s Sub-Dean and several more years on its Executive Committee.
1986-88 Victoria R. Sirota
Victoria Ressmeyer Sirota, organist, priest, lecturer and author, was Dean of the Boston Chapter from 1986 – 88. The Coordinator for the 1990 Boston National AGO Convention, she worked with a superb team of volunteers from the Boston Chapter. Unique to this convention was the decision to include liturgies from Festival Services that sacred musicians could never attend, such as Christmas and Easter. Also, due to the serious concerns of the LGBTQ community around HIV-AIDS and other issues of health and wellbeing in churches and synagogues, sessions were added to address these issues openly, as well as an AIDS Healing Service at The Church of Saint John the Evangelist on Bowdoin Street and a performance by The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus as a concluding event.
Victoria Sirota earned her B.Mus. from Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Organ and Music Theory, and her M.Mus. and D.M.A. in Organ Performance from Boston University. Teachers included Garth Peacock, David Boe (harpsichord), George Faxon, Gustav Leonhardt (Amsterdam, 1971-72) and Andre Marchal (Paris, 1969, 1971-72). Her doctoral thesis was on The Life and Works of Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1981), with gratitude to Barbara Owen for the suggestion of this topic.
Dr. Sirota was a Teaching Associate in Organ and Music Theory at Boston University from 1983-1992. Her position as Organist and Choir Director at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in Dedham, Massachusetts from 1985-1990 had a profound impact on her spiritual life. Saint Paul’s became her sponsoring parish for ordination to the Episcopal priesthood. Further studies included an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School in 1992. She was an Assistant Professor of Church Music at Yale Divinity School and Yale Institute of Sacred Music from 1992-95, and an Adjunct Professor of Sacred Music at The Ecumenical Institute of Theology of Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore from 1997-2002. She was Vicar of the Church of the Holy Nativity in Baltimore (1995-2005), Canon Pastor and Vicar at The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine (2007-2016), and is currently Rector of Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Getty Square in Yonkers, NY.
The Rev. Dr. Sirota was National Chaplain for the American Guild of Organists from 1998-2002, and her columns “From the Chaplain” in The American Organist magazine became the inspiration for her 2006 book, Preaching to the Choir: Claiming the Role of Sacred Musician (Church Publishing). She has spoken and preached at numerous AGO chapter meetings and conventions, and has given concerts and recitals in the United States and Europe.
The wife of composer Robert Sirota, Victoria has written texts for his choral works and premiered most of his organ compositions. During her time in Boston, she instituted the Festival of Contemporary Organ Music for the Boston Chapter. Her recordings include Celestial Wind: Organ Works by Robert Sirota (Albany Records TROY 1502). Her son Jonah Sirota and daughter Nadia Sirota are both professional violists. Jonah is also a film composer, and Nadia a Creative Partner for the New York Philharmonic.
1988-90 Nancy B. Granert
Nancy Granert received her undergraduate education at Oberlin College, studying organ with Garth Peacock and harpsichord with David Boe and William Porter. She received her Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, studying under Yuko Hayashi. She also spent three summers in Castello d’Empuries, Santiago de Compostela and Salamanca in Spain, pursuing scholarly studies of Iberian organ music with Montserrat Torrent, and she has participated in the International Organ Festival held in Nagoya and Shirakawa, Japan. Nancy spent 34 years as organist-in-residence at the Memorial Church, Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She chose Adolphus Busch Hall for her farewell to the Harvard community. During her many years in Boston, she also served as organist at both Boston’s Emmanuel Church and the Central Reform Temple. In addition to her musical degrees, Nancy has a degree in Finance, and was a Director of Finance for 17 years. She served as dean of the Boston Chapter, American Guild of Organists from 1988-90.
1990-92 John P. Whiteside
Dr. John Whiteside is a native Bostonian who showed a predilection for music at a young age. He started piano at age 4 and moved on to the organ, finding a lifelong delight in the large console and pipes of that instrument. He has studied organ with John Ferris, Max Miller, and Anton Heiller and conducting with J. Julius Baird and the late Robert Shaw, and has received a Doctorate in Organ Performance. After all these years he is pleased that he has finally figured out how to make choirs sound their best, and is honored to have been making music with the St. Stephen’s Community since March 2009.
1992-94 Victoria L. Wagner
Victoria was introduced to the AGO while an undergraduate at SUNY Fredonia, whose student chapter she served as Secretary and President. She joined the Boston Chapter in 1978 as an incoming graduate student at the New England Conservatory; she was soon elected Recording Secretary. For eighteen consecutive years Victoria held various offices: Chair of Professional Concerns, Sub-Dean and Dean, Co-Chair of workshops for the 1990 national convention, and Regional Councillor for chapters in New England and Argentina. After three terms on National Council, Victoria was nominated for the offices of national Vice-President and President. Years later, coming out of “retirement” to serve as chapter Dean again, she was delighted when Ray Cornils accepted her invitation to be Coordinator of the Steering Committee for the 2014 national convention, and she happily served as advisor to that committee.
The majority of Victoria’s career was devoted to being the Director of Music for Trinitarian Congregational Church (UCC) in Concord, Massachusetts. She was honored to play in recital series at Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Trinity Church, Old West Organ Society, Harvard’s Memorial Church and Adolphus Busch Hall, Church of the Advent, and for various AGO chapters. She presented workshops and recitals at conventions of the AGO and OHS, and she performed in Montreal, Reykjavik, Paris and Heidelberg. Hers were the assisting pair of hands (and feet) in the critically acclaimed recording of Holst’s Planets, transcribed for organ by Peter Sykes, to whom she was married for thirty five years. The duo performed this piece together for many years, from coast to coast.
For most of her life, Vickie lived in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. In her free time she loved gathering with “vintage dance” enthusiasts from North America and Europe to recreate the social dancing of the 19th and early 20th centuries. She enjoyed dancing quadrilles, the polonaise and mazurka, the tango and foxtrot in Newport mansions, at Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel and the Biltmore estate, and in historic ballrooms here and abroad. An avid learner of the Italian language, she spent several weeks each year in Italy with her fellow students and their teacher. Vickie was a life-long Protestant who found deep nourishment in Benedictine spirituality. Silent retreats at Benedictine monasteries in New Mexico and Idaho, with the Sisters of Atonement in Assisi, and in Cape May with the Sisters St. Joseph became a regular part of her continuing education as a church musician.
1994-96 Jennifer A. Lester
Jennifer Lester is a choral conductor with special interest in new music, creating programs that seek to connect the great works and traditions of the past with the music of the present. Church musician (organ and conducting) with 30 years’ experience in large music programs in Boston area parishes.
1996-98 David Carrier
David Carrier holds graduate degrees in choral conducting and organ performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.
In addition to his work with the Newton Choral Society/Commonwealth Chorale, Mr. Carrier is Director of Music at the Wellesley Congregational Church and Temple Shalom of Newton, both of which have extensive music programs. He has served on the choral faculties of both the New England Conservatory and the Boston Conservatory. He has also been a choral clinician for workshops sponsored by the Boston and Rhode Island chapters of the American Guild of Organists and the St. Dunstan’s Conference of Sacred Music in Newport.
In addition to his choral work, Mr. Carrier plays organ recitals in the Boston area and manages a recital series at the Wellesley Congregational Church. He is a past Dean of the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. He has also participated in judging competitions for organists, choruses, and singers.
A prizewinner in numerous organ playing competitions, he has been heard in concert throughout the United States and in England; and in master classes with Arthur Poister, Marie-Claire Alain, Joan Lippincott, and Gillian Weir.
From 1989 through 2005, he served as Organist and Director of Music at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston and was Music Consultant for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. From 2005 through 2012, he was Director of Music and Lay Associate to the Rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Salem, Massachusetts. During his time at Grace Church, he founded the Choir School at Grace Church, a Royal School of Church Music oriented program for boys and girls.
Prior to his appointment to St. Paul’s Cathedral, he served churches in Louisiana, Mississippi, Kansas, and Long Island. He has served as a leader for church music conferences, clergy conferences and retreats, and youth and collegiate gatherings at the local, provincial, and national levels.
A native of New Orleans, Mr. Engelhardt received early music training in piano and as a chorister in his parish church, forming his first boychoir at the age of 16. He earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Organ Performance at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, studying with Richard Heschke. Further organ study has been with James Higdon and Peter Sykes. From 1986 through 1989, he served as organist and assistant conductor for the Long Island Philharmonic Chorus conducted by Gregg Smith. He was a student at the intensive Overseas Course of the Royal School of Church Music in England and has maintained an active career, conducting volunteer and professional choirs including Choirs of Men and Boys, Junior and Senior High School Choirs, Girls Choirs, Women’s Choirs, Mixed Adult Choirs, Popular Ensembles, and a Gospel Choir.
Upon leaving St. Paul’s Cathedral, Mr. Engelhardt formed “MagnificatBoston”, a choir of 25 singers drawn from parishes throughout the Diocese and beyond with the sole purpose of singing choral Evensong once per month in a church or chapel of the Diocese.
He has been heard on the American Guild of Organists Sunday morning radio broadcast, and was heard regularly on the “Sunday at St. Paul’s” broadcast every Sunday on Boston’s Classical station WCRB. He appears as solo organist and choral director on the recording “Author of Light” of the professional choir and unique double organ of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, and is the organist on two recordings of music for organ and trumpet, performing with internationally-known trumpet player, Chris O’Hara; and with “Illumine”, a trio of soprano (Sarah Moyer), trumpet (Chris O’Hara) and organ and harpsichord.
Mr. Engelhardt has served as Long Island Representative of the Royal School of Church Music, and Subdean of the Greater Kansas City Chapter, Dean of the Suffolk (NY) chapter and Subdean and Dean of the Boston Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
He frequently appears as a leader or presenter for conferences on church music, and as a composer, Mr. Engelhardt has been commissioned to write several works for liturgical performance. A setting of the hymn “The Church’s One Foundation” was composed for the installation of the present Bishop of the Diocese of Mississippi, and subsequently sung at the consecration of the Right Reverend Shannon Johnston as Bishop Coadjutor of the Diocese of Virginia.
2000-03 Glenn Goda
Glenn Goda received his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Organ performance from Boston University as a student of Max Miller. Active in the American Guild of Organists, he holds the Associate’s Certificate (AAGO), is past Dean of the Boston Chapter, and co-chaired the Young Organist Initiative. Glenn Goda was Organist and Music Director at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also known as the Mission Church) in Boston for many years. Mr. Goda is a frequent recitalist in the Boston area.
2002-04 Laurence Carson
Laurence Carson received his Bachelor of Music from Boston Conservatory. His teachers include Phillip Steinhaus, John Skelton, and John Ogasapian. He has held music leadership positions in several churches, including First United Baptist Church of Lowell, Hancock Church of Christ in Lexington, and St. John the Evangelist in Wellesley. He is currently (2020) the principal organist at the Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Mission Church) in Boston. Mr. Carson is an international recitalist, and a frequent performer in the Boston area.
2004-06 Margaret Angelini
Margaret Angelini was born in 1964 in Natick, Massachusetts, the oldest of 8 children. Her father was a lover of Beethoven, and her mother was also an organist and member of the Boston Chapter. Margaret fell in love with the piano at an early age, studied piano with Virginia Brault of Hopkinton, and was fortunate enough to attend the Boston University Tanglewood Institute one summer with Maria Clodes. Soon after that she discovered the full potential of the organ while attending the St. Dunstan’s Summer School of Church Music with her mom.
Margaret majored in music at Wellesley College, studying organ with Frank Taylor and playing the college carillon when not practicing on C. B. Fisk Op. 87 in the chapel. She went on to complete a Masters in Organ at New England Conservatory with William Porter. Margaret has held many church positions in the greater Boston area, and now serves as Music Director at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sharon. She has also been active as a teacher, serving on the faculties of St. Paul’s Choir School and Stonehill College, and now as the faculty coach for the Wellesley College Guild of Carillonneurs. Other musical activities included playing harpsichord for the early music groups Ensemble Soleil and La Donna Musicale, and singing in Seraphim Singers.
In 1987 Margaret attended her first regional convention in New Haven and made some life-long friends there. She became active in the Boston chapter around that time, serving as recording secretary with Dean Victoria Wagner, then on other committees, and eventually serving as Sub-Dean 2002-04 and as Dean 2004-06. During that time she also served on the board of the Old West Organ Society, eventually succeeding Yuko Hayashi as the Executive Director. She has also been active with The Guild of Carillonneurs of North America, where she has served on several committees and on the board of directors.
A native of Denmark, Heinrich Christensen came to the US in 1998 and received an Artist Diploma in Organ Performance from the Boston Conservatory, in addition to degrees from conservatories in Denmark and France.
He was appointed Music Director of historic King’s Chapel in the year 2000, after serving as affiliate organist under the direction of Daniel Pinkham during the final two years of Dr. Pinkham’s 42-year tenure at the church.
Heinrich was a prizewinner at the international organ competitions in Odense and Erfurt and has given solo recitals on four continents. He has performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Ballet, Handel & Haydn Society, and numerous choruses in the greater Boston area.
An avid proponent of contemporary music, he has premiered works by Daniel Pinkham, Carson Cooman, Graham Gordon Ramsay, James Woodman, and several others. He has recorded several organ and choral CDs, and Daniel Pinkham’s works for solo voice and organ with Florestan Recital Project.
In addition to being a past dean of the Boston Chapter, Heinrich served on the steering committees of the 2009 regional and 2014 national conventions of the American Guild of Organists.
2008-10 Lee Ridgway
Lee has been active as an organist, harpsichordist and choral conductor in the Boston area for more than 40 years, most notably at First Parish in Lexington for 25 years and Trinity Episcopal Church in Topsfield, MA. Lee has a bachelor’s degree from the U. of Oklahoma with Mildred Andrews and master’s degree in harpsichord from the New England Conservatory where he studied with John Gibbons. He has performed on many historic organs in Europe, North America, and Mexico.
2010-12 Victoria L. Wagner
2012-14 Dan McKinley
Raised in Borden, Indiana, Daniel Jay McKinley received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organ and church music from the Indiana University School of Music, and was awarded its prestigious Performer’s Certificate. He played tuba in the IU marching band and was named the Outstanding Bandsman, but alas, never got to the Rose Bowl; for 27 years he attended every IU home football game.
Dan has held full-time organist-choirmaster positions at First Christian Church, Columbus, IN, 1978–1997; Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis, 1998 (interim assistant); Christ Church of Hamilton and Wenham, MA, 1998–2009; and Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church, Danvers, MA, since 2009.
In Columbus, he began and ran a weekly noontime recital series at the church, led a 10-year project to create a new hymnal for the church, served as president and treasurer of Columbus Pro Musica/Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and was a music critic for The Republic. An avid IU basketball fan, he attended five NCAA Final Four championships.
Since coming east, he has been dean, sub-dean, and registrar of the Boston chapter, American Guild of Organists. He served on the executive committee for the 2014 AGO national convention, and was a member of the BAGO Special Projects Advisory Committee (SPAC). He was dean and sub-dean of the Merrimack Valley chapter, and served seven years on the Liturgy and Music Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
With conductor David Bowden and the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, he has performed organ and orchestra works of Dupré, Elgar, Guilmant, Jongen, Poulenc, Rütti, Saint-Saëns, Strauss, and Widor. Their recording of Dupré’s music for organ and orchestra was released in 1998 on the Naxos label. Performances have been broadcast on the syndicated radio programs Performance Today, Pipedreams, and With Heart and Voice.
Dan is married to Tess, a teacher and professional actress. He shares her love for theater and serves as music director for productions she directs. They hope to attend all the Shakespeare plays; he has two more to go.
2014-16 Peter Edwin Krasinski
Peter Edwin Krasinski is broadly recognized as a motivating consultant for the pipe organ community, and as a conductor, organist and music educator, whose imaginative and energetic performances elevate and inform audiences. Well respected in both secular and sacred genres of his field, he has taught the enchantment of music to both public and private institutions in the greater Boston area for many years. His silent film performances have been hailed in the press as “a great marriage of movie and music.”
Specializing in the art of live silent film accompaniment, worldwide, some of his many appearances have included such venues as The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, (Nashville), Riverside Church, (NYC), Coral Ridge, (Fort Lauderdale), Irvine Auditorium, (University of Pennsylvania), Trinity Wall Street (NYC), Wanamaker’s-Macy’s Greek Hall (Philadelphia), St Joseph’s Cathedral (Hartford), Old South Church (Boston), National City Christian Church (Washington, DC), St Joseph’s Oratory (Montreal), The Kotzschmar Organ, (Portland), The Great Organ at Methuen Music Hall, and major concert halls in the cities of Yokohama, Fukui, Miyazaki and Kanazawa, Japan.
A multiple prize-winner, he is the recipient of the First Prize in Improvisation from the American Guild of Organists National Competition. A seasoned performer, he has played recitals at Notre-Dame Cathedral (Paris), the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, (Los Angeles), Holy Name Cathedral, (Chicago) and Mikael Agricola Church, (Helsinki).
Past Dean of the Boston Chapter AGO, Mr. Krasinski is House Organist at the Providence Performing Arts Center and Organist at First Church of Christ, Scientist in Providence RI. He recently presented Master Classes at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland. He holds both a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education and Organ Performance, and the Master of Sacred Music Degree from Boston University.
2016-18 Robert Barney
A resident of Littleton, MA, Robert Barney maintains an active musical career as a choral director, performer, teacher, and church musician. He has served as Director of Music for Trinity Episcopal Church in Concord, MA since 1994, and has taught piano, organ, and voice for more than 30 years. Mr. Barney has performed organ recitals in the United States and Europe and for conventions of the Organ Historical Society, The American Guild of Organists, and the Association of Anglican Musicians, focusing his attention especially on historic instruments. Mr. Barney was elected as Subdean/Dean of the Boston Chapter AGO from 2014-2018. He has held positions as Artistic Director for the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus from 1985-1997, Associate Conductor (1999-2004), and Interim Artistic Director (2004-2006) for the Treble Chorus of New England, and in September 2009, was appointed Artistic Director of Youth pro Musica, the Boston area’s oldest choral program for young singers. Also an accomplished tenor, he has given solo performances at Wellesley College and the Connecticut Early Music Festival and he is a founding member, and artistic advisor for, the Seraphim Singers. Mr. Barney holds degrees from Concordia College and The New England Conservatory of Music.
2018-20 Louise Mundinger
Louise Mundinger is an organist, conductor and composer living in the Boston area since 1980. As a church musician, recitalist, and teacher she delights in the many and different doings that come with being an organist. As music director at the Cathedral of St. Paul, Boston, she is directing a program that uses Anglican repertoire past and present to reflect liturgical practice as well as the specific needs of the St. Paul’s congregation.
Since 2014 she has been the music director for MagnificatBoston, a choir of choristers from throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, specializing in the promotion and singing of Evensong services. MagnificatBoston sings at the Cathedral and throughout the Diocese. She has given organ recitals on both U.S. coasts and numerous places in between. She has been on the music faculty of Milton Academy, where, In 2008, she was awarded the Talbot Baker Award for Teaching. From 1994 – 2013 she helped found and coordinate a music exchange between Milton Academy and Le Conservatoire de Persan in Persan, France which resulted in ten exchange trips. This endeavor was supported by the Florence Gould Foundation. As a composer she has been commissioned by the American Guild of Organists (AGO) for both national and regional gatherings and the American Composers Forum. Among her recent works are two musical plays. “AMB” looks at the life of Anna Magdalena Bach through her musical notebook which served the Bach family in their musical instruction. The production of this play was supported by the Special Projects Fund from the American Guild of Organists, Boston Chapter. “The Young Shepherds’ Tale” is a musical play for Christmas scored for choir, congregation and organ which uses traditional carols to recount the Christmas narrative .
Louise co-headed the New Music Committee for the Boston 2014 AGO National Convention and is now the head of the AGO national New Music Committee which coordinates four commissioning funds. She has planned the WIM (Women In Music) Fest from 2016 – present for the Boston Chapter of the AGO, and presented at the first Musforum conference in Manhattan in June 2015. Louise likes to think of music in this way: “Music creates a connection when listeners listen, singers sing and players play.”She attended New England Conservatory and Valparaiso University, with additional study in Freiburg, Germany in 1985-86 during which time she played recitals, studied new music for the organ and learned to conduct a choir in German.
2020 – present Jeremy S. Bruns
Jeremy S. Bruns is the Associate Organist & Choirmaster at The Church of the Advent in Boston MA. He also serves as an assisting organist at St. Mark’s Episcopal School in Southborough MA. Mr. Bruns has previously served as Organist & Master of Choristers at The Parish of All Saints-Ashmont (2001-2004), and served three years as Associate Organist of Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where he worked with the late John Scott and the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. He has also served as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches TX. Mr. Bruns has been featured on the nationally syndicated radio show Pipedreams and has accompanied the Saint Thomas Choir for regular broadcasts on BBC Radio, as well as recordings on the Pro Organo label. He has also been featured at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston SC, and has performed numerous recitals with engagements including St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, Canterbury Cathedral, Washington National Cathedral, St. James’ Cathedral in Toronto, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Methuen Memorial Music Hall, St. Paul Cathedral and Heinz Memorial Chapel in Pittsburgh, Adolphus Busch Hall (Harvard), and the Fasor Reformed Church in Budapest, Hungary.