From the President

The American Organist, September 2009 | Go to article overview

From the President


Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to have the thoughts of Calvert Johnson, a performer and scholar on the music faculty at Agnes Scott College in Georgia. He is a musician of breadth and depth whose expertise we are fortunate to have him bring to the Guild in the area of finance. Thank you, Cal, for sharing some of your experience and knowledge with us!

EILEEN GUENTHER

WHEN I WAS a college student from 1967 to 1971, historically informed performance was the rage. My friends and I were avid followers of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the Concentus Musicus, Gustav Leonhardt, MarieClaire Alain, Anton Heiller, Luigi Tagliavini, and Harald Vogel. We formed a student-run Baroque ensemble, the Bachward Society, in defiance of old-fashioned ideals of large choirs and modern orchestras, and playing trills "incorrectly." We performed Bach, Handel, Lully, Couperin, and Monteverdi, excited to feel up-to-date and cutting-edge.

How different to be a faculty member or church music director, responsible for all who come to learn from and participate with . . . me. My students taught me, too. In my early years at Agnes Scott College, I played preludes for convocations sponsored by campus organizations and offices, usually something relevant to the day's program-not unlike performing in church compositions appropriate to the day's Scriptures or the liturgical calendar day or season. The Students for Black Awareness requested works by black women - not Bach or Buxtehude. I prepared works by William Grant Still and Ulysses Kay - then the only works by black composers in my library, but promised something by a black woman the next year. Fortunately, my friend Sharon J. Willis introduced me to the wonderful works of Florence Price! This request was the tip of the iceberg. Latin American Studies wanted Chilean music for a presentation on Salvador Allende. I knew of Juan Allende Blin's works but lacked copies; I played Mexican composer Blas Galindo. Africana Studies was delighted in my photocopied work by Nigerian Fela Sowande. …

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