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.

May 2019 Issue

Dear Colleagues,

On April 26th the AGO honored our friend John Walker at Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh. John played a magnificent recital and then there was a lovely gala that followed. It was a great way to show appreciation for all that he has done for the AGO on a national level, and Sean O’Connor created a beautiful ad for the program book that expressed our gratitude from the Baltimore Chapter. We are so fortunate to have such a generous, talented and humble artist in our midst. From leading the successful regional convention, to writing for the newsletter, to subbing and helping out in our churches, John has contributed greatly to our chapter. Congratulations and many thanks, John!

At the reception, one of John’s students mentioned that it was nice to know their teacher practices as much as they do. This is a testament to a good teacher leading by example but also something that the AGO hopes to instill in all of us. We are part of a guild that encourages us to not only enjoy the pipe organ but to continue learning about it. Hopefully we will never stop learning new pieces, assessing our interpretation, fine-tuning our registrations and delving deeper into the background and history of our instrument.

When heading to graduate school, I naively thought that I was finally going to get all of the answers. At last, I would understand all of this music and not have so many questions. Well, I can guarantee you that by the end of my graduate work I had more questions than when I started. Answering one question would open up a new world that created more curiosity. The book collection doubled, the amount of repertoire I wanted to learn quadrupled, and I knew that I would never have to worry about thinking that I’ve learned enough.

One of the best things we can do for our profession is to commit to being a lifelong learner. It helps both the organ world and the churches where we serve when we keep our approach fresh and engaging. So, I encourage you to find new pieces to learn this summer (even if it’s one page a week) and to read about a composer, organist or instrument. It is energizing and inspiring to have new music at your fingertips and to better understand the background behind a piece of music. And that new energy will quickly want to invest itself in learning even more repertoire.

I would also hope that your lifelong learning will manifest itself in attending conventions, chapter programs, and recitals. As my term as co-dean comes to an end, I am so grateful for the leadership of Henry Lowe, Sean O’Connor, and the whole board who have great things planned for this chapter. A lot of work goes into making these events possible and I encourage all of us to support them by showing up, helping out, sharing ideas, and spreading the word. The success of our chapter relies on the engagement of every single member.

Best wishes to all, and I look forward to seeing you on May 19th for our final event of the program year!


The May 2019 issue of the Pipe and Pedal is now available.

Louis Gephardt