From June 22-25 I attended the 2003 American Guild of Organists regional convention here in Cleveland. The committee has been planning the convention for the better part of three years (as well I know–in the late 1980s I was the general chairman for the last regional convention in Cleveland in 1989). This year my contribution was more limited for most of the time. I was the editor and publisher of the convention program book–all 95 pages of it. So for much of March, April and May I was consumed with getting the final copy completed. It went to the printer on the first of June, and I have to say that it turned out very well, and 8 1/2 x 11 spiral bound book with acetate covers. There were many favorable comments.
The convention was a great success, and I have to say it was much more interesting than I had predicted. When I looked at the program on paper, it never looked all that interesting to me. But the programs turned out well–not a dud in the bunch. There was a wide range of performers–from very young and talented people like Tom Trenney and Nicole Keller to veterans like Haskell Thomson and Karel Paukert–and an amazing variety of repertoire. Karel Paukert led an astonishing concert of modern American music late on Monday evening, June 23. Nicole Keller played an elegant program of music on the 1956 Rudolf von Beckerath organ at Trinity Lutheran Church, including the seldom-performed Distler Trio Sonata and ending with the Bach Passacaglia. French organist Thierry Escaich performed at the Cleveland Museum of Art. He improvised not one but two works on submitted themes, the first a prelude and fugue on BACH. John Ferguson (formerly from the northeast Ohio area, but late of St. Olaf College) led an inspiring hymn festival at First Baptist Church. The memories of that are still with me. Would that we could have hymn singing and playing like that every Sunday! The concert ended with a thrilling concert by Anne Wilson and Todd Wilson and the Burning River Brass at Severance Hall, which ended with the “Pines of the Appian Way” by Respighi. The audience was on their feet yelling at the end. What a way to end the convention. Carol Neff and her crew did good work.
I took lots of pictures at the convention and posted them to an online scrapbook.
And then on Thursday it was back to work…..