The 2019 Mid-Atlantic Regional Convention – in review
Hosted by the SouthWest and SouthEast Jersey Chapters, the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Regional Convention was among the best attended of the Guild's regional conventions this summer, with 282 registrants partaking of three services, 12 workshops, 14 recitals and various meals/receptions Sunday, June 30 thru Wednesday, July 3. Visit http://www.agosouthjersey2019. org/programs for specifics on performers, programs, commissions, workshops, instruments, and venues. Featured artists included: Nathan Avakian, Monica Czuasz, Barbara Dever (mezzo soprano), Eileen Guenther, Alan Morrison, Eric Plutz, Carol Williams, the Philadelphia Organ Quartet, and the Westminster Brass. International performers Daniel Roth and Istvan Ruppert presented programs featuring music primarily of their native France and Hungary, respectively. Quimby Competition for Young Organists winner (by way of the Potomac Chapter) Luke Brennan, [photo left] deftly played a varied program sprinkled with verbal tidbits. A sophomore at the Eastman School of Music, Luke is a native of Northern Virginia and a student of Nathan Laube. Of local interest was the recital by flute & organ duo, Anna and Erik Meyer, Peabody alumni, and the closing concert by Naval Academy Chapel Organist Monte Maxwell [photo right] at Boardwalk Hall.
Centered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, along the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, events also took place in the historic towns of Moorestown, Haddonfield and Haddon Heights, hearing instruments built by Austin, Casavant, Hall/Austin/ Gibson, Marcussen, Reuter, Shantz and local builder Robert Gladden. The final day was spent at the massive 1926 Boardwalk Hall (formerly Atlantic City Convention Hall) for several concerts and a banquet. These were in the 3,000 seat Adrian Phillips Theater (W. W. Kimball, opus 7073) and the Main Auditorium, home of the 1932 Midmer-Losh Co., Opus 5550 (33,112 pipes!), designed by NJ State Senator Emerson Richards (1884-1963). See www.boardwalkorgans.org for lots more information on both instruments.
Having participated in AGO conventions since 1987 as competitor, recitalist, competition coordinator/judge or clinician, I find there is always a wealth of knowledge and insight to be garnered at these gatherings. Perhaps the greater gain is the camaraderie of new and long held friends, the challenge and buoyancy of others that share our passion, and the renewal that helps to carry us forward.
With its well paced schedule, fine artists and interesting programming the 2019 Mid-Atlantic Regional Convention in South Jersey hit the mark.