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.

July/August 2019

The blessing of live performance!

Dear colleagues,

Twenty years ago I attended the commencement exercises for the School of Music, Northwestern University where the guest speaker, whose name I do not recall, spoke to the graduates in music; instrumentalists, vocalists and keyboardists, about their future as a professional. I was not surprised at most of what he said about the challenges of earning a living, but what I remember most was his message to them to support live concerts by being in the audience. “If you are not on stage, take a seat in the audience,” he said. He reminded them that as lovers and appreciators of great music, they may not always be performing but that their role as an enthusiastic listener was equally important. That message made a lasting impression on me. 

We, as lovers of great organ and choral music, have a rich menu of selections for experiencing high quality, live concerts in the Baltimore metropolitan area, so many that we must pick and choose which ones to attend. Our world class symphony orchestra, which we all hope will find its way back to productivity, is at the top of a long list of first class performing organizations from which to choose. For a city its size, Baltimore offers many choral concerts, from such groups as Baltimore Choral Arts, Handel Choir to mention only a couple, or a variety of fine church choirs offering concerts and services of special music; and many request only an offering. Then there is Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University which offers a plethora of free concerts every semester. We are blessed to live amongst the riches of beauty! 

Add to this the offerings of our Baltimore Chapter and it verges on leaving our heads spinning with opportunities for experiencing great live performances. Our program committee, chaired by Sub Dean, Sean O’Conner, has been hard at work preparing wonderful, creative programs for the coming season. Please see the enclosed listing. One of the many goals of this committee is to plan these events so that they do not conflict with other performing groups in town; this is a huge challenge.

Please take some time now and in the days ahead to look at the chapter offerings for the coming season followed by entering them in your calendar, remembering that a portion of your dues makes these programs possible. While doing this, take a close look at what else is going on in our town. Take advantage of the riches at our doorstep. All we need to do is to step outside. 

During the past two months many of our members have attended workshops and conferences related to the important work we do. I have asked several attendees for a report on their experience which are included in this issue. If you attended such a conference and would be willing to share your experience, please let me know and it can be included in the September issue. 

I close with heartfelt best wishes for the remaining weeks of summer.

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Louis Gephardt