Monthly programs for 2019 – 2020

Here is the lineup of AGO meetings for this season, 2019-2020. Our meetings take place at various venues throughout the area and are typically the third Monday evening of the month although there are certainly exceptions. We generally begin with a punch bowl and social time at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m.  

The cost for dinner is $15 and to encourage attendance by younger members the board has underwritten the cost of meals for all AGO members and guests under the age of 30.  The cost of these meals will come from a dedicated fund that has been recently established for this purpose.

The program portion of the meeting follows at 8:00 p.m. and all programs are open to the public. On occasion free-will offerings will be accepted at the conclusion of some evening programs.

Dinner reservations are requested by the Wednesday prior to the meeting and members will be called by the Executive Council. You may also make your reservation by emailing or calling our Treasurer, Errol Shewman at 616-307-7241.

Monday, September 23, 2019
6:30 p.m.  Punch Bowl
7:00 p.m.  Dinner
8:00 p.m.  Dinner

Calvin Christian Reformed Church
700 Ethel Street S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Hymn Workshop featuring Dr. Huw Lewis

Dr. Huw Lewis of Hope College in Holland gave a fascinating presentation on the subject of hymn playing for a good sized group of our members and guests. He told of his personal background in hymn playing from beginning in a Welsh Baptist Church through experience in the Anglican tradition to his present-day position at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Detroit. He emphasized that it is important to meet the congregation’s expectations and not just try to impose your own ideas upon them. The essential result should be that the congregation feels inspired to sing and are able to do so easily. He demonstrated differences in legato and detached playing, pointing out the importance of being observant of the text. It was overall a very engaging presentation by an entertaining expert in his field.

Monday, October 21, 2019
7:00 p.m.  Concert

Mayflower Congregational Church
2345 Robinson Road S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Organ Concert by Wolfgang Rubsam

The German-born American organist, pianist and pedagogue, Wolfgang Rübsam, first studied organ with Erich Ackermann in Fulda from 1963 to 1967. He then took up studies in church music at the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt am Main, which enabled him to join the organ class of Helmut Walcha. A period of study at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where his organ teacher was Robert T. Anderson, culminated in 1971 in the degree of Master of Music. On his return to Germany he joined the master-classes of Helmut Walcha for a year and completed his organ examinations in Frankfurt. The years from 1971 to 1974 were spent in Paris as a pupil of Marie-Claire Alain. In the course of his studies, he was successful in a number of competitions. In 1970 he won first prize in the National Organ Competition at Fort Wayne in Indiana. In 1972 he won two third prizes in international competitions at Nuremberg and Avilain Spain. In 1973 he won the Grand Prix d’lnterpretation at Chartres.

In 1974, Wolfgang Rübsam was appointed as professor of Church Music and Organ at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In addition, he also served as University Organist at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel at the University of Chicago from 1981 until 1997. Since 1997, he has been professor of organ at the Hochschule für Musik Saar in Saarbrücken, Germany From 1998 until 2003; he was also artist in residence and university organist at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Wolfgang Rübsam has made extensive tours as organ virtuoso, and he performs frequently in major international festivals and concert halls, including the Los Angeles Bach Festival; Wiener Festwochen, Vienna; Lahti International Organ Festival, Finland; Royal Festival Hall, London; Alice Tully Hall, New York, and others. He conducts master-classes in Europe and the USA, both in interpretation of early and romantic organ repertoire, and interpretation of the keyboard music of J.S. Bach. He has served on the juries for international competitions, such as the Grand Prix de Chartres and the Lahti International Organ Competition in Finland.

Wolfgang Rübsam is internationally known through his highly acclaimed recordings of organ works from the Baroque and Romantic periods. He has published more than 130 recordings, including two recordings of the complete organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach, the complete organ works of Dietrich BuxtehudeFelix Mendelssohn-BartholdyCésar Franck, Louis Vierne, and Jehan Alain, as well as recordings of Franz LisztJohann Pachelbel, and Max Reger. Currently, he is completing a recording of the 20 organ sonatas of Josef Rheinberger. In addition, he has recorded a major part of the keyboard works of J.S. Bach on modern Bösendorfer pianos. 

Monday, November 18, 2019
6:30 p.m.  Punch Bowl
7:00 p.m. Dinner
8:00 p.m.  Recital

Westminster Presbyterian Church
47 Jefferson Avenue S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Organ recital featuring Quimby Young Organist Competition winner Noah Klein

From Northfield, Minnesota, Noah Klein begin studying the piano at age 6 and the organ at age 11. He began accompanying church services at age 15. Following high school graduation, Noah attended school and lived with a host family for one year in South Korea as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange program. He currently is a Premier Young Artist Scholar at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where he studies organ performance with Dr. Janette Fishell. Noah serves as the music intern at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. Noah was the winner of the Quimby Young Organist Competition on June 29th of this year at the Great Lakes Lakes Regional AGO Convention held in Grand Rapids at Immanuel Lutheran Church.

Monday, February 17, 2020
No Dinner at this program
7:00 p.m.  Program

First United Methodist Church
227 Fulton East
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Celebration of the Arts
Organ and Saxophone Concert

The Grand Rapids’ Chapter of the American Guild held their February meeting on Feb 17 at 7:00. The program was Part of First United Methodist Church’s 47th Annual Celebration of the Arts. Eric Strand and Hugh DeWitt presented a program for Organ and Saxophone. All the works of the recital were written in recent years. Composers represented included Hans-André Stamm. Paul Halley, and Dan Locklair. Paul Halley’s “Offertorium: Choral Partita on Picardy for organ alone was especially beautiful. Strand and DeWitt chose a program that was not only beautiful, but drawn from creditable and well-crafted pieces, which I, for one had never experienced. After the recital, the guild dispersed to the gallery exhibit to view the works of art and listen to a guided tour with Nancy Clouse and to enjoy a delightful reception.

The March meeting has been canceled.  See you in April at the Annamae Rotman Young Organist Competition.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

3:00 p.m.  Organ Recital

Trinity Lutheran Church
2700 Fulton Street East
Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Renee Louprette Organ Recital

Hailed by The New York Times as “splendid,” and “one of New York’s finest organists,” Renée Anne Louprette has established an international career as organ recitalist, conductor, and teacher. She is associated with a number of distinguished music programs in the New York City area, having served as Associate Director of Music at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, Associate Director of Music and the Arts at Trinity Wall Street, Organist and Associate Director at the Unitarian Church of All Souls, and Director of Music at the Church of Notre Dame.

Upon receipt of a Master of Music degree in conducting from Bard College in May 2019, Ms. Louprette was appointed Assistant Professor of Music and College Organist at Bard. She continues as coordinator of the organ studio at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, where she has been University Organist since 2013. She is a former member of the organ faculty at the Manhattan School of Music, The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, and the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University.

As conductor, Ms. Louprette was selected as a fellow of the Mostly Modern Festival in 2019, premiering several new works with the New York-based American Modern Ensemble. She was co-conductor with Kent Tritle in the acclaimed U.S. premiere of John Tavener’s Requiem in 2009. In her over 20-year career as choral director, she has led performances by various professional choirs in the greater New York City area accompanied by members of The Orchestra Now, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, and the American Brass Quintet, among other ensembles.

An active freelance keyboardist, Ms. Louprette has performed with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Voices of Ascension, Clarion Music Society, American Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra Now, The Dessoff Choirs, New York Choral Society, Oratorio Society of New York, and Piffaro. In New York City she has appeared in Carnegie, Zankel, Avery Fisher, Alice Tully, and Merkin Halls, and Miller Theatre of Columbia University. In 2015 she collaborated with the Los Angeles Dance Project in a performance of Nico Muhly’s Moving Parts at Verizon Hall of the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. The 2018-2019 season featured Ms. Louprette’s debut with the American Brass Quintet, continuing collaborations with Musica Viva NY and the Victoria Bach Festival under the leadership of conductor Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, and with traditional Irish musician Ivan Goff, including a recital at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles featuring the world premiere of a new work for uilleann pipes and organ by Eve Beglarian, commissioned for the Louprette-Goff duo by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Renée Anne Louprette has performed throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, including at Westminster Abbey and the Temple Church in London, St. Giles Cathedral Edinburgh and Dunblane Cathedral (Scotland), Galway Cathedral and Dún Laoghaire (Ireland). In 2018, she made her solo debuts at the Royal Festival Hall in London and the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.

Additional European festival appearances include Magadino, Switzerland; In Tempore Organi, Italy; Ghent and Hasselt, Belgium; Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Bordeaux Cathedral and Toulouse Les Orgues, France. She appeared as organ soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane, Australia, in a performance of Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony broadcast live on ABC Radio. She regularly performs at regional conventions of the American Guild of Organists and has been featured at two national conventions: the 2010 Convention in Washington, D.C., and the 2014 Convention in Boston where she presented the world premiere of Pamela Decker’s Faneuil Hall. In July 2019, she presented a solo recital for the National Convention of the Organ Historical Society in Dallas, Texas.

Her recording of the “Great Eighteen Chorales” of J. S. Bach on the Metzler Organ in the chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge, England, was named a classical music Critics’ Choice 2014 by The New York Times. In February 2018, she released a recording of 20th-century French organ repertoire – “Une voix française – A French Voice” – on the Acis Productions label to critical acclaim. Her upcoming recordings include Bach’s Clavier-Übung III on the Acis label, recorded on the Craighead-Saunders organ of Christ Church, Rochester, New York, and a collaborative recording of original compositions and arrangements of traditional Irish repertoire with Ivan Goff, recorded at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City.

Renée Anne Louprette holds a Master’s degree in conducting from Bard College Conservatory where she studied conducting with James Bagwell and composition with Joan Tower, and a Bachelor of Music degree summa cum laude in piano performance and a Graduate Professional Diploma in organ performance from The Hartt School, University of Hartford. She was awarded a Premier Prix – mention très bien from the Conservatoire National de Région de Toulouse, France and a Diplôme Supérieur in organ performance from the Centre d’Études Supérieures de Musique et de Danse de Toulouse, studying with Michel Bouvard and Jan Willem Jansen and improvisation with Philippe Lefebvre. She completed additional studies in organ with Dame Gillian Weir, James David Christie, and Guy Bovet.

Renée Anne Louprette is represented in North America exclusively by Phillip Truckenbrod Concert Artists, LLC.



Monday, April 27, 2020
6:00 p.m. Punch Bowl
6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Competition

First (Park) Congregational Church
10 East Park Place N.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Annamae Rotman Young Organist Competition

The Annamae Rotman Young Organist Competition was founded in 2013 by Dr. Richard Rotman in honor of his mother and is an annual competition.  We thank him for his generous support of young organists.

•   Eligibility – A competitor must be under 24 years of age as of August 1 of the competition year and be a resident of Kent County, MI or any county adjacent to Kent County and/or a resident student attending a junior high school, senior high school, college, or university in Kent County or any county adjacent to Kent County (Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo, Montcalm, Ionia, Barry, or Allegan Counties)

•   Previous first place winners of this competition are eligible to compete in this competition again in two years.

•   Venue – Grand Rapids area pipe organ of high quality and versatility, varied from year to year

•   Repertoire – Two or more pieces of contrasting styles and representing different time periods and a hymn

Monday, May 18, 2020
6:30 p.m. Punch Bowl
7:00 p.m. Dinner
8:00 p.m. Program

Second Congregational Church
525 Cheshire Street N.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49505

An Evening with Composer John S. Dixon

Born in London, England, John S. Dixon (b. 1957) was classically trained in piano and organ. During his school years he was active in music in the Anglican church and was a founding member of The Southend Boys Choir, one of Britain’s foremost youth choirs. He earned degrees from The Queen’s College, Oxford University, and Harvard Business School. His composing has flourished since moving to America in 1988, largely through his involvement in the music ministry at Providence Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, where he is currently organist and composer‑in‑residence. He has written hundreds of pieces for church and secular use.