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The mission of the American Guild of Organists is to enrich lives through organ and choral music. To achieve this, we

  • encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music;
  • inspire, educate, and offer certification for organists and choral conductors;
  • provide networking, fellowship, and mutual support;
  • nurture future generations of organists;
  • promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles; and
  • engage wider audiences with organ and choral music.

March Dean's Message

A Most Significant Event

I was privileged to represent our chapter on February 16 at St. Mark’s Cathedral.  That evening was devoted to giving tributes to our chapter member Mel Butler upon his retirement.  Elsewhere in this newsletter you will find a substantial article on this event, one of our best attended events ever.  A brief summary of my remarks is as follows:

First, I highlighted the workshops Mel has done for our chapter, especially his workshops on creative hymn-playing.  In my view, these workshops have been monumental and I continue to keep the handouts from every one of these I have attended.

Second, his contributions to our POE programs have been truly remarkable.  His teaching sessions aptly met students where they were and they engendered true enthusiasm for the organ.  His instruction of individual students contributed, I believe, to their continued study in organ up through the collegiate level.

Third, his work on AGO committees such as our Special Projects Advisory Committee has been truly appreciated.  Likewise, his inspiration and his support of the organ is shown with tremendous vibrancy in his co-ordination of the “Arts at St. Mark’s” program.

Fourth, he has made a variety of other presentations for our chapter upon our request, the most recent of which was a series of three on a single day.  This was only last month during our January program, and in these presentations he shared his deeply based reflections on building a vibrant music ministry.  He has also authored key publications and has assisted others in the writing of important published works.

Finally, I noted that Mel is absolutely friendly, open, warm, and encouraging to people who are working on new ideas.  I have personally experienced each of these wonderful characteristics.  Further, I noted that he is willing to venture out, to try new things, to play different styles of music (even theatre music in a concert of mostly classical music), and yes, even play for silent films!  He works extremely hard on everything he takes on, and all the while, he conveys an extraordinary sense of humility, even when his successes are shinning.

We in the Seattle chapter wish to convey to Mel our most sincere thanks for his tremendous contributions to our chapter over these decades, and we wish him and Mary the most pleasant and rewarding of retirements.

Carl Dodrill, Dean

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