Creative Programming Ideas to Grow the Guild

By Wigal, John E.; Glass, Henry et al. | The American Organist, October 2014 | Go to article overview

Creative Programming Ideas to Grow the Guild


Wigal, John E., Glass, Henry, LeBrun, Debra, Teardo, Leslie C. S., Lamb, David K., The American Organist


For the 2013-14 program year, the Committee on Membership Development and Chapter Support (COMDACS) added a new twist to the AGO's Grow the Guild campaign. In addition to rewarding chapters that achieved a 5% growth in overall membership, two additional awards were developed. The first was for chapters that added new members 30 years old and younger. The winning chapter (Central North Carolina) added eight such members to its roster! The second new award was for the chapter that exhibited creative programming. There were ten entries for this award. All the contenders had strong and varied programs, so picking a winner was difficult. The committee used the following criteria to judge the extent to which each chapter's programming:

* appeals to a variety of demographics-e.g., professional organists and choral directors, church musicians, young people, part-time organists, organ enthusiasts, the general public;

* includes a mixture of large events to attract the public to the organ and smaller events geared toward chapter members or a specific demographic;

* reflects various aspects of the Guild's mission to: (1) encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music; (2) inspire, educate, and offer certification for organists and choral conductors; (3) provide networking, fellowship, and mutual support; (4) nurture future generations of organists; (5) promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles; and (6) engage wider audiences with organ ana choral music;

* exhibits evidence of the chapter's leadership thinking creatively and "outside the box" by coming up with a new type of program or a creative twist on an old idea.

After much deliberation, the Worcester, Mass., chapter was awarded the prize; but there were so many good ideas in the entries received that the committee decided to share the top ten ideas here (in no particular order) so that your chapter may be inspired to try something new.

Top Ten Creative Programming Ideas

Composers' Showcase (Worcester, Mass.). A concert featuring organ music composed and improvised by chapter members.

French Organ Festival (Greater Kansas City, Mo.). An afternoon of presentations by eight different organists, some with soloists or choir involved, using multimedia and even a hurdy-gurdy. The event also featured an ongoing French café. This coming year, the chapter is partnering with the Alliance Française of Kansas City, which will take charge of the café.

Halloween Concert (Chippewa Valley, Wis. …

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