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REVERBERATIONS - February 2023

The Monthly Newsletter of the Northern New Jersey Chapter,
American Guild of Organists


Our February Meeting

Organ Demonstration & Members'
Open Console at The Cathedral 

A Joint Presentation of the Northern New Jersey and 
Metropolitan New Jersey Chapters

Monday, January 23, 2023 - 10:30 A.M.
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart
89 Ridge Street, Newark, NJ 07104

After a hiatus of two years, we are thrilled to announce that we are resuming our tradition of hosting a joint January program with the Metropolitan New Jersey Chapter in 2023. The traditional Martin Luther King Day date for our joint program was unavailable at the venue so our meeting will be on Monday, January 23.

We will travel to the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark for a 10:30 A.Mdemonstration of the organ by the Cathedral's Associate Organist and AGO member Kristin Dabaghian followed by a Members' Open Console.  Designated musicians from each Chapter will play a prepared piece. Fear not! There will be time afterwards for other program attendees to try out the organ as well.

Our program will be followed by lunch at Don Pepe’s Restaurant, 844 McCarter Hwy Central Business District, Newark.  Check out the menu here: If your schedule permits, we would be delighted to have you join us! For reservations, contact Dean Stewart Holmes at stewholmes2018@gmail.

While there is ample parking both at the Basilica and at the restaurant, it is suggested that NNJ Chapter members carpool from Old Paramus Reformed Church in Ridgewood (660 E. Glen Ave.) at 9:45 A.M.

Mark Your Calendars Now!

We are offering an exciting array of interesting and informative programs in 2023. Be sure to add the following dates to your calendar:

FEBRUARY 20 (Monday 9:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.): Presidents Day Conference hosted by New York City AGO Chapter - Venue(s) TBA
MARCH – No meeting
APRIL 1 (Saturday, time TBA): Katie Gunn, Rodland Scholarship Recital:
West Side Presbyterian, Ridgewood
MAY 15 (Monday 7:30 P.M.): Mark Wright presents Christ Church/Hackensack’s rebuilt organ
JUNE 12 (Monday 6:00 P.M.) Dinner and Program at Old Paramus Reformed Church, Ridgewood:  iPads for Musicians: Yes, You Can! (Further details TBA)


I know I speak for everyone on the Executive Board when I wish a healthy and rewarding year for you and your loved ones.  Can you resolve, with me, to work on building friendships and finding ways to foster the love of Church music and the organ?  In that light, there are a few very important items in this newsletter, which I hope you will underscore.
Organ console at Basilica of the Sacred HeartFIRST:  Our meeting on January 23.  Plan on being at the Basilica when we hear what is New Jersey’s most renowned organ.  Details about this meeting are elsewhere in this newsletter. This will be a joint meeting with our colleagues in the METRO Chapter so I want to say a few words about the events surrounding this joint Meeting.    

As many of you know, the METRO chapter is going through a re-organization, of sorts. I have attended two meetings which have led their leadership to this position.  Our meeting at the Basilica comes about because we want to provide an opportunity for our memberships to discuss our common grounds.  I am convinced that our two chapters working together to set some joint programs for the coming years are to our mutual benefit. 

Want to play that magnificent Schantz at the Basilica?  Contact me at stewholmes2018@gmail to arrange to play something during this meeting.  I will play something, and I hope one more person will step up.  Don’t be shy like me! LOL.
SECOND:  In the Stranger’s Guise. That was the theme at last year’s Montreat Worship and Music Conference in North Carolina.  I wonder: how does God come to me, indeed to you?  Do I/we see God in others? Even in the strangers? Are “strangers” just newcomers or could they be anyone who may be in our midst?

I had a conversation with one of our members recently about the “friendliness” of our members. This person recalls his/her first AGO meeting and struggling with not knowing anyone.  These feelings are not unique to us in the AGO.  Anytime one is in a group for the first time, it can be awkward.  People tend to gravitate to those they know, sometimes to the exclusion of “strangers.” Do we see God in these folks?  More to the point, does that “stranger” see God in us? 

How can we do better?  We can consciously pay attention to our surroundings and reach out to each other.  We can also make it easier to talk to the “stranger.” It’s for this reason I am going to ask everyone to wear a name tag at our meetings.  That’s the beginning.  Beyond that, it’s in each of our hands to reach out to the “strangers.”  Join me in that effort!


Giving a Recital? Choir Concert? Special Service?

If you’re planning a concert, playing for a special service or giving a recital, let us know so we can alert our members and, hoperfully, help build your audience. Email details to Newsletter Editor Claudia Smith Wyant at

The Chapter has a customizable banner which was created for use at our programs and for members to borrow. Let us know if you would like to add it to your program promotion.




Your AGO Chapter invested in this tiny four-rank instrument that's mighty big when it comes to building a pipe organ! It can be the start of something NEW for a budding musician -- a fun, interactive STEM* program for youngsters (and adults!).

We introduced the OrgelKit at our October 2021 meeting and those in attendance had tons of hands-on fun learning how it was constructed and playing it to see how sounded once it was all assembled.

The OrgelKit is available for members to borrow for a special stand-alone program or as a lead-in to a recital or concert. Our Orgelkit Committee members can help you set it up and repackage it at the end of the event. 

(* Four closely connected areas of study: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)


For COMPLETE job description, scope of work requirements and information about the church and their music program, please call or message the church contact listed below:

Organist/Pianist, Advent Lutheran Church (ELCA), Wyckoff Apply via email with resume and audio or video sample to the Rev. Joseph Schattauer Paille at


It's Not Too Early to Save the Dates!

January 26, 2023 @ 1:00 P.M.

Our Chapter Program Committee member Chung Hong will be performing a recital at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 10 County Road, Tenafly, NJ. at 1:00 P.M.

July 3-6, 2023

The long-awaited regional convention (jointly with the Northeast Region) is set to take place in and around Westchester, New York, on July 3-6, 2023. Jonathan Riss heads up a fine team to make this an excellent and exciting convention. Bookmark the website and look for the full schedule of events and performers beginning this fall.


Items for the Next Newsletter...

Reverberations is published monthly (except in July and August) on or near the 1st of the month. Items for inclusion should be submitted to the Editor by the 25th of the month preceding the issue date. Please email your news to Newsletter Editor Claudia Smith Wyant at


Claudia Smith Wyant, Editor

Copyright © 2023 Northern NJ Chapter American Guild of Organists, All rights reserved.

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