Los Angeles Ago Centennial

By Ochse, Orpha | The American Organist, December 2009 | Go to article overview

Los Angeles Ago Centennial


Ochse, Orpha, The American Organist


January 2010 will usher in a year of celebration for the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Founded 100 years ago, it was the first AGO chapter on the Pacific Coast. To mark this special occasion, the chapter program committee has organized a festive series of events, beginning with a recital by guest artist James Welch in January, and culminating in a Gala Concert and Reception on June 6, the actual anniversary of the chapter's inauguration.

In addition to organ and choral concerts, the series will include an all-day tour of outstanding organs in the Westwood-UCLA area on Presidents' Day, February 15, and a recital marathon on May 2, with ten organists performing ten organ symphonies of Widor. A schedule of programs, performers, and locations is available on the chapter Web page, laago.org.

Other projects have also been planned to celebrate the centennial year. Through the collaboration of the Los Angeles Chapter and the Publications Governing Board of the Organ Historical Society, a book by James Lewis documenting the early history of organs in Los Angeles will be published by OHS Press. This book will be a valuable source of information, not only for Los Angeles residents but for all who are interested in organ history. The Los Angeles Chapter will also continue its practice of focusing attention on educational issues and problems. This year's educational program will be presented by Raymond Egan.

Originally called the "Southern California Chapter," the Los Angeles Chapter has witnessed many changes during its centurylong history. When it was founded in 1910, there were only eight other AGO chapters: six in the United States and two in Canada. Ernest Douglas, then organist at St. Paul's Cathedral, Los Angeles, spearheaded the movement to create an AGO chapter in Los Angeles, and served as the chapter's first dean. In the years that followed, other nationally recognized artists would lead the chapter, including Joseph Clokey, Clarence Mader, and Alexander Schreiner.

Two other AGO chapters were later organized in Los Angeles County: the Pasadena Chapter (1936) and the Long Beach Chapter (1947). …

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