Baltimore Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Enriching lives through organ and choral music

Pipe and Pedal

The Pipe and Pedal is the monthly newsletter of the Baltimore AGO. For past issues, please visit our Historical Archives. If you wish to submit an article for the Pipe and Pedal, you may visit our submissions page.

March 2018 Issue

Dear Colleagues,

It was a wonderful twofold celebration of Jim Houston’s 50 years of ministry and 125 years of the Henry Niemann organ at First Unitarian Church last month. Thank you to everyone who helped plan the event and those who provided goodies for the reception. And a big thank you to chapter members Michael Britt and Marvin Mills for their beautiful playing in the recital.

I was especially delighted to see such a huge crowd. It speaks to the impact that Jim has had on the music community of Baltimore and the important role that music has in the worship life of a community. Having good representation from AGO and OHS at the event also helps to affirm and support the church’s decision to restore their instrument. Too many quality instruments are removed because the church thinks that their organ isn’t worth the maintenance or repair. Whenever we can, it is our duty to support, encourage, and commend churches that are willing to invest in their instrument. The historic Niemann organ was in great shape for the celebration and that is due to Jim and the parishioners that worked to preserve this instrument. Let’s hope we can have more celebrations like this in years to come. 

This month is a quiet one for chapter events since many of us will be preoccupied with other extra duties. But there are two exciting events coming up in April. Carol Williams performs at Brown Memorial Church on Sunday, April 15 at 3:00 PM and Isabelle Demers performs at Zion Lutheran Church on Friday, April 27 at 7:30 PM. Be sure these dates are in your calendar so you don’t miss hearing these powerhouse performers.

Igor Stravinsky, the great Russian composer of the 20th century, is quoted for saying that music is “the Church’s greatest ornament.” Regardless of whether you have been in your job for 50 years or 5 days, you are adding something special and unique to the liturgy. As the work load intensifies this month, don’t forget the privilege we have in bringing the beautiful treasure of music into the world. Thank you to all who play, conduct, sing, and teach so that the world can be inspired and ornamented with music.

All best wishes to everyone during this busy and holy time in the year.


The March 2018 Issue of the Pipe and Pedal is now available.

Correction: The original version of this article mistakenly listed the time of the Isabelle Demers concert at Zion Lutheran Church as 8:00 PM. The article was updated to the correct time, 7:30 PM.