The San Francisco Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
San Francisco AGO

The 2015-2016 program is currently under development

View the updated officer roster here

May 26, 2015
Tuesday, 6:15 pm
First Congregational Church
First Congregational Church, Berkeley

SFAGO Dinner, Annual Meeting & Members' Recital

Visit the link above for event details and registration information, including the option to pay online.

We are in the process of launching a new site that has taken time to design and we’re still testing it out, but we’re excited to bring you something new shortly.

Although time we live in is fast-paced and full of innovation, organists are often creatures of habit and gravitate toward established patterns of work, known composers and reliable instruments. Change does not appear to favor us and our performance habits, but we have to be part of this world and demonstrate both the greatness of our past heritage and the joy of exploring the new.

Just as cash gave way to checks and then to credit cards, many of us now pay using electronic banking and even our smart phones. Some adopt the new technology early, and others cautiously watch for the real benefits before adapting. In the organ world it’s easy to be a CAVE dweller: someone Constantly Against Virtually Everything! Do not be one!

On YouTube, one can compare ten performances of the Widor Toccata from one’s desk, arm chair, kitchen sink - or even the pew - one can hear the aged Widor himself playing it at a leisurely tempo, or a high school student racing through it at breakneck speed. We can learn from both.

Buying bound sheet music is becoming less common: all my students download PDFs of their music from websites. They don’t want to carry volumes of Bach in their backpacks. Many read from their iPads. I’m currently seeking to convert a small choir to using tablets instead of heavy hymnals. The advantages are many; the opportunities great.

Times are changing, but are we? We need to preserve our heritage and maintain our good taste and judgment. We should seek to use our experience to guide us through the current choices. Do you count yourself as a traditionalist, with bound books, or a modernist reading from a screen?

Perhaps there’s a better path for us all, some blend of tech and traditionalist that supports our artistic and religious endeavors. Our chapter has started to provide programs that include areas of technological innovation, but we need to do more. A sage member recently told a meeting that we should provide programs that do not merely replicate what’s available through websites or recordings but teach through structure and convey a point of view. It’s a worthy challenge and one which we will be exploring.

Meanwhile, welcome to our new website. It’s a beginning: it’s not complete, but it will grow. Your positive ideas are always welcome!

Simon C. Berry


SFAGO Bay Area Concert Calendar

Current issues of the Chapter Newsletter,
as well as job listings and classified ads, are available only to current SFAGO members.
For information on joining the SFAGO, visit the Membership page.

SFAGO Special Projects Grants

Click here for information on the
SFAGO Special Projects Committee grants program

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