Welcome to the web site of the District of Columbia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Our city and its surrounding areas boast a lively pipe organ culture, to which our Chapter members contribute significantly.
We invite all who love the pipe organ and its music to explore this website for opportunities to attend AGO-sponsored events as well as concerts in our churches and concert halls. All are welcome, no matter if you're an official AGO member or not. Our mission is to share the glories of the "King of Instruments" with everyone.
Perhaps you found this site because you are interested in becoming a member of the Chapter. We would be delighted if you would join our ranks. The Membership Form link offers a simple way to proceed. We also welcome you to become a dual member with us and your home chapter.
Thank you for visiting us. We hope that you will join us for one or more of our seasonal events.
Next Studio 32 on Dec. 27
Each month chapter members are invited to gather at an area church to explore its organ and to go out for drinks afterward.
Our next Studio 32 session is Dec. 27 at the Scottish Rite Temple, 2800 16th St. NW.
Everyone is welcome to play a hymn, composition or improvisation, or just look and listen. No street shoes, please.
No reservations are required—just show up. Masks are required.
Save the dates!
Monday, Jan. 10: Tri-chapter Twelfth Night party with festive dinner at All Saints Episcopal Church, 3 Chevy Chase Circle in Chevy Chase. We will begin the evening with a rehearsal in the sanctuary at 6:30 pm followed by choral evensong at 7 and a catered dinner at 7:45.
Presidents Day, Monday, Feb. 21: a full day of workshops and a recital
Free organ music
Some of our members have donated a variety of organ scores to be made available to anyone interested. Recipients are asked to consider making a donation of any size to the Pipe Organ Institute, which offers free organ lessons to qualified piano students. For a list of available scores, see the October and November Coupler newsletters under the Media tab above. More will be coming in future months.
National Service Playing Competition for young organists Jan. 8
The DC Chapter and St Paul’s K Street are hosting the National Competition in Organ Accompaniment for organists under age 30 on Saturday, Jan. 8. First and second place prizes have been generously underwritten by Schoenstein and Co. Organ Builders.
The live competition begins at 1:30 pm at St Paul’s K Street, 2430 K St. NW, and is open to the public. The day also will include a morning workshop led by Thomas Murray, professor emeritus at Yale.
Competition co-chairs Dr. Jeffery Smith and Robert Church said they are both very impressed with the quality of the applicants and the response rate, especially given the ongoing pandemic.
“The four finalists chosen for the in-person finals on Jan. 8 are top-notch, and we hope members of our chapter will attend the finals to both hear and encourage these promising young artists,” they said in a statement.
Please also mark your calendar for 10 am Jan. 8 for Murray’s workshop. It will focus on accompanying Benjamin Britten’s monumental work “Rejoice in the Lamb” at the organ. Even if this piece isn’t in your current repertoire, come listen and learn accompaniment and registration techniques that you can apply to other accompaniments as well.
This competition is especially important because it is preparing the next generation for what we actually do as church musicians: accompanying anthems, soloists and psalms as well as playing hymns for the entire congregation. Many competitions for young organists focus only on literature and recitals.
“We hope to see you Jan. 8 to hear these competitors, learn from Thomas Murray’s workshop, and lend your voice in the hymn singing portion of the competition,” the co-chairs said.