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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.

December Dean's Message

Something Extra

The season of Advent is upon us and most of us are very busy. Music selection, practice, rehearsals—each of us has our own group of involvements. In my own case, in addition to regular choir involvement, I’ve got about a number of organs to tune.

I’ve puzzled as to how we can keep special meaning in this season for ourselves and how we can convey it to others. Think with me back over the many Advent seasons we have experienced. What made them meaningful? For me it is not Christmas homilies—I don’t remember any, or presents—I recall only a few. What I do recall is decorating the Christmas tree with Christmas music in the background, children’s pageants with the singing of “Away in the Manger,” Christmas eve services with the organ and the choir making oh so real the meaning of the season, joyful congregational singing, and singing carols with the family at home. In short, music is what I remember—that is what really brought home to me the meaning of the season. How about for you?

Given the above, I’d like to invite us all to extend the gift of music to others in order to make the season especially meaningful to us this year. Let’s decide, each of us, that we are going to do something extra this year in order to achieve this goal.

  • Are you privileged to play an instrument for people this season? Then how about conveying your enthusiasm for the season by putting an extra punch into your music? Deliberately plan what you will do. Your excitement and your smile will be contagious.
  • Are you singing in a choir or group this season? Make your face show the meaning of the season. And, by the way, how about saying something positive about the music to the people in the choir sitting next to you—even a small comment may help you to feel more enthusiastic yourself. This is something that I find I need to do.
  • How about if you are not playing or singing like you previously did? You can be of great service by expressing appreciation to the musicians who you have heard, particularly identifying something in the music that was especially meaningful to you. Tell them.
  • How about if at this point in your life it is just harder for you to get out—what can you do? How about having someone in for a spot of tea, conversation, and some music you find meaningful, even on a CD? This could make a real difference to that person.

Let’s all decide that this year we are going to do something extra. When we do, we will bring the special meaning of the season to others, and in so doing, we will bring the special meaning of the season to ourselves as well. Carl Dodrill

Carl Dodrill, Dean

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