The Wichita Chapter of the American Guild of Organists was established in 1954. Since the Children’s Pipe Organ Project POPs for KIDs was established in 1991, it has reached many children each year. Requests come in from all over the country for the project’s Organ Crawl video and numerous other materials available now. It has also received national recognition through articles in The American Organist, and program spots in recent AGO conventions. As POPs moves into its third decade, it is developing an Internet-based Teaching Unit that was released in August, 2012, introduced nationally in the May 2013 issue of The American Organist, and was demonstrated at the national convention in Boston in 2014.
In 2002, after five years raising funds, the Wichita Chapter began sponsoring an Organ Study Scholarship program which awards scholarships to young keyboard players. Recipients are able to apply their scholarship to 10 lessons with Wichita Chapter organists or to attend one of the POE’s sponsored by the AGO. Annual auditions are held in March for these awards, and the application form is available on line.
AGO members have the option of professional certification by examination in the following categories: as Service-Player and Choir Master; as well as Colleague, Associate, and Fellow of the American Guild of Organists. (The Guild is a degree-granting institution via its 1896 charter with the Board of Regents of the State of New York.)
The Chapter’s newsletter, The Air Capital Clarion, is issued on a monthly basis during the school year. It includes news about Chapter programs and special events; a calendar of upcoming organ and choral events; listings of open organ and choral positions; occasional listings of instruments for sale; and a list of substitute organists available for churches needing them.
The National Guild
The mission of the American Guild of Organists is to foster a thriving community of musicians who share their knowledge and inspire passion for the organ.
The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. The Guild serves approximately 14,700 members in approximately 300 chapters throughout the United States and abroad.
Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, the Guild seeks to set and maintain high musical standards and to promote understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music.
Under the leadership of the National Council, a network of volunteer committees and officials at the regional, district, and local levels directs the activities of the Guild. The AGO National Headquarters is in New York City where a full time staff supports and coordinates publication, administration, and development activities of the organization. For purposes of administration and representation, the Guild is divided into seven geographical regions, and each chapter is assigned to one of them.
The American Guild of Organists and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America (APOBA) share a mutually beneficial association, a collaboration that has existed since 1975. For several decades this relationship has been strengthened by financial contributions from APOBA and its members in support of the AGO and its Pipe Organ Encounters (POE) program. The AGO has responded with generous provisions for bringing news from APOBA and its members to the organ public.
The purposes of the American Guild of Organists are:
- To advance the cause of organ and choral music, to increase their contributions to aesthetic and religious experiences, and to promote their understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment.
- To improve the proficiency of organists and choral conductors.
- To evaluate, by examination, attainments in organ playing, choral techniques, conducting, and the theory and general knowledge of music, and to grant certificates to those who pass such examinations at specified levels of attainment.
- To provide members with opportunities to meet for discussion of professional topics, and to pursue such other activities as contribute to the fulfillment of the purposes of the Guild.
Guild sponsored activities include a series of examinations for professional certification as well as programs and an extensive list of publications, CDs, DVDs, and learning resources for all levels of interest. The Guild sponsors competitions in organ performance and improvisation and in organ and choral composition. National and regional conventions held in alternate years, present the finest performers. The American Organist magazine, published monthly by the AGO, is the most widely read journal devoted to organ and choral music in the world.