Magazine article The American Organist

From the President

Magazine article The American Organist

From the President

Article excerpt

A Tale of Two Chapters

Chapter A invited me to speak to a clergy-musician dinner about a year ago. We worked at getting a date that was amenable to my schedlule and theirs. I spent most of a day getting there, was met by a colleague who drove me to his house, and we had a great time catching up.

When we walked into the hall where the chapter meeting was being held, no one spoke to me. It's not like they didn't know I was coming, and they perhaps might have recognized my face from its appearance on this page monthly for the last four-plus years. My host introduced me to some of his friends, and I asked to meet the dean and sub-dean. I finally made contact with the dean. The sub-dean never did say a word to me.

Fast-forward to Chapter B, where I spoke more recently. Many of the circumstances were the same, and, to be honest, I did know more people in Chapter ? than I did in Chapter A. But people came up to me and said how happy they were that I'd traveled to their town, and how much they appreciated the work of the Guild.

I'd like to be clear that I do not expect special treatment because I'm president. But I had made a big effort to be with each of these chapters, and if that kind of effort isn't met with even a modicum of welcome on the part of a host, then that's a problem.

I suspect you may be tiring of my addressing this issue of hospitality - but I receive encouraging letters and comments, when I speak with chapters, in agreement that we still need to be working on this. Everyone is a hospitality chair - not just someone who may have accepted that role in a chapter (anyway, not many chapters even have someone with that title). Please do something to make each person feel welcome at chapter events - with name tags, with a greeting, introducing people who may not have met each other before. I can tell you that the strength of the Guild does not rest on its programs or its conventions - it rests in people feeling a sense of community and bonding with each other. …

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