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Information below for the following WorcAGO 2011-12 concerts:

The Worcester Organ - Summer Concert Series

Co-sponsored by the Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, this exciting series of organ concerts showcases the magnificent 1864 Hook Organ - also known as The Worcester Organ - and features the talented artists from the local area. As Artistic Director, Will Sherwood has arranged a varied and interesting series that will be enjoyed by all. Bring a bag lunch or just sit back and absorb the exhilarating music from this historic instrument.

About The Worcester Organ

American organ builders Elias and George Hook, brothers from Boston, constructed the 52-stop, 3,504-pipe instrument, which is the oldest unaltered four-keyboard pipe organ in the Western Hemisphere located at its installation site. Restored in 1982, the Hook Organ has since then has become one of the most popular and respected organs in the United States. It has been featured numerous times on National Public Radio, performed in several recordings, and has been featured on television and in a major motion picture, as well as in a music video starring Michael Crawford, the original "Phantom of the Opera."

Artistic Director Will Sherwood

American Keyboard Artist and Composer Will Sherwood, AAGO, ChM, has been guest soloist with the Boston Pops, and appeared in concert in Europe as well as the US. He has enjoyed a diverse concert career alongside his positions as organist and director at churches where he has been known for his innovative and creative musical endeavors, and has produced three choral CDs to critical acclaim. In collaboration with international soprano Maria Ferrante, he recently released a new CD, Christmas Memories, which includes his arrangements incorporating a touch of New Age and French Impressionistic harmonic vocabularies, breathing new life and perspective into carols we all know so well.

Will is currently Director of Music and Organist at Worcester's First Unitarian Church and Dean of the Worcester Chapter American Guild of Organists. He was a senior engineering manager at DEC and Intel for 30 years in VLSI Microprocessor Design and holds two U.S. Patents. In addition to his performing career, he owns his own web & graphic design, web hosting, marketing, and commercial photography businesses.  Other interests include volunteering for local non-profits, running, organic gardening, and preparing gourmet vegetarian cuisine.



8/3/11 - Mechanics Hall - Young Artists Katelyn Emerson & Jonathan Bezdegian


Katelyn Emerson

Jonathan Bezdegian

The 2011 concert series opens with local rising stars Katelyn Emerson and Jonathan Bezdegian who will present works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Vierne, Dupré, and others. Their fresh perspective interpretations and enthusiastic performances will delight a full range of musical palettes.

About the Artists

Katelyn Emerson from York, ME, is a student of James David Christie at Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, OH where she is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in both organ performance and French.  She has studied with Olivier Latry, organiste titulaire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Ray Cornils, municipal organist of Portland, ME, and Dr. Abbey Halberg-Siegfried, organist of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, NH.  Ms. Emerson began her organ studies in 2005 through a scholarship of the Young Organist’s Collaborative in Portsmouth, NH, and, since then, has performed throughout New England and other states for summer concert series and as an independent solo performer.  She won the Cleveland Chapter Competition for the Quimby/RCYO regional organ competition and then went on to win the 2011 Quimby/RCYO Region V competition for young organists and will perform as a “Rising Star” at the AGO National Convention in Nashville summer 2012.  She also placed first in the 2010 L. Cameron Johnson Memorial Competition for High School Organists.  
Katelyn has performed in many master classes including those given by Dr. Gerre Hancock, David Boe, Joel Martinson, Dr. Douglas Majors, and Dr. Jack Mitchener.  Through American Guild of Organist-sponsored Pipe Organ Encounters and Advanced Pipe Organ Encounters, she has studied with Jonathon Biggers, John Rose, Dr. George Ritchie, and Diane Meredith Belcher.  Ms. Emerson is the music director of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Amherst, OH where she leads worship through piano, organ, and directing the choir.  This summer, she has attended McGill’s Summer Organ Academy where she performed in the French Symphonic Class of Michel Bouvard, the improvisation class of Sietze de Vries, and French Classical Class of John Grew.  She was also honored with a scholarship to attend the Summer Institute for French Organ Studies in Épernay and Poitiers, France, where she performed on organs of the French Classical and Romantic styles.

Jonathan Bezdegian, a native of Paxton, Massachusetts began his music studies at the age of seven. By the time he was fifteen he began playing the organ in churches and substituting for various religious institutions around the Central Massachusetts area. Jonathan began his intensive organ instruction with Dr. Frank Corbin at Assumption College in Worcester, MA before transferring to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2004. While at Oberlin, Jonathan studied organ with David Boe and harpsichord with Lisa Crawford, Brett Maguire, and Webb Wiggins.

After graduating Oberlin in 2007 with a BM in Organ Performance and a minor in Music History, Jonathan traveled to Montreal, Canada where he began his Masters studies in organ at McGill University with John Grew. While at McGill, Jonathan also studied liturgical organ improvisation with William Porter. In addition to his organ studies, Jonathan began to pursue harpsichord performance and continuo playing with enthusiasm. He received two intensive years of continuo realization and harpsichord study with Hank Knox. He was a frequent continuo player in the McGill Early Music Ensembles, and the McGill Baroque Orchestra, where he played continuo for Jean-Baptiste Lully’s opera, Thésée.

Jonathan is entering his third year of DMA studies in Organ Performance with Dr. Carole Terry at the University of Washington. While in Seattle, he had the opportunity to study harpsichord with Jillon Dupree and organ improvisation with Douglas Cleveland.



8/10/11 - Mechanics Hall - Duo Organists Robin Dinda & Renea Waligora


Duo Organists Extraordinaire Robin Dinda and Renea Waligora

If you haven't experienced two musicians in concert at the same instrument recently, don't miss this opportunity. Four Hands and Four Feet (a total of 40 fingers and toes!) will take full control of this King of Instruments in Mechanics Hall on August 10.

About the Artists

Renea Waligora and Robin Dinda joined musical forces to perform numerous duo organ recitals across the United States since their marriage in 1989. Their collaborative interpretations are sensitive and balanced, and have an amazing command of the repertoire with the larger or more profound works alternating with either playful or more contemplative selections.

They live in Fitchburg with their daughter Ayla, along with various pets, pinball machines, and a 1904 Steinway D.

Renea Waligora received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Carthage College and the Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan.  An active recitalist, Ms. Waligora has performed at several national conventions of The Organ Historical Society, The International Society of Organ Builders and the American Theatre Organ Society.  She has appeared in New England at Methuen Memorial Music Hall, Trinity Church, Boston, The Old West Series, All Saint’s, Worcester, MA and many other venues throughout the United States.  Currently, she serves as Director of Music at The United Church of Christ in Keene, NH and is the Dean of the Monadnock Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. 

Robin Dinda earned degrees from Davidson College, The University of Cincinnati, and The University of Michigan, and has the Fellow level of certification from The American Guild of Organists (AGO).   As an organist he has performed across the United States, at many national and regional conventions, and is particularly known for his performances of American organ music and his own many published compositions. He is Professor of Humanities (Music) at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, where he has taught since 1989.  He is also Director of Music at The First Parish (Unitarian - Universalist) in Fitchburg, where he has presided over the church's 1928 E. M. Skinner organ since 2000. As an established American composer, his works are creative, sometimes playful, and satisfy the musical ear at all levels. Most recently, his Organ Concerto #1 for Organ and String Orchestra was premiered in July 2011 at the regional convention of the AGO in Greensboro, NC.



WorcAGO - 2011-12 Program Year


9/30/11 8pm - All Saints Worcester - David Higgs




Worcester – World-famous organist David Higgs will appear in concert at All Saints Church, 10 Irving Street, Worcester, on Friday, September 30 at 8:00 PM, according to Will Sherwood, Dean of the Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. Dr. Higgs’ appearance is the kick-off event of the Chapter’s 2011/12 concert season. The concert is free and open to the public. Premium seating is available for $20/couple via the Chapter’s website, www.WorcesterAGO.org. A reception for Dr. Higgs will follow his concert.

David Higgs’ command of the King of Instruments and connection with audiences worldwide is unmatchable. He typically performs from memory, and will present a program of signature organ repertoire by Bach, Karg-Elert, Bolcom, Bonnet, Lefébure-Wély, and Duruflé. Dr. Higgs does not just “play notes,” but rather he sculpts musical ideas that connect with the energies and emotions of his audience—a grand experience for all. His verbal program notes throughout his concerts help guide his listener’s attention.

Although the concert is free, special premium seating and a private reception are available for a donation of $10/person.

The Rice Memorial Organ is featured on the 2-CD set Great Organs of Worcester



One of America’s leading concert organists, David Higgs is also Chair of the Organ Department at the Eastman School of Music. He performs extensively throughout the United States and abroad, and has inaugurated many important new instruments including St. Stephan’s Cathedral, Vienna; the Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas; St. Albans Cathedral, England; St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, Ireland; and the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in New York City. His performances with numerous ensembles have included the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Orpheus Ensemble, Chanticleer, and the Empire Brass. Since his 1987 debut with the San Francisco Symphony, he has played many Christmas concerts to capacity audiences at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, and in recent years, he has continued this tradition at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Mr. Higgs performs, teaches, and adjudicates at festivals and competitions throughout the world, including the International Organ Festivals and Competitions of Bremen, Germany; Calgary, Alberta; Dublin, Ireland; Odense, Denmark; Redlands and San Anselmo, California; and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. In England he has appeared several times at the Oundle International Festival and Organ Academy, the St. Albans International Festival and Competition, and the Cambridge Summer Festival. His performances for colleagues include national, regional and pedagogy conventions of the American Guild of Organists, as well as national conventions of the American Pipe Organ Builders Association, the American Institute of Organbuilders, the Westfield Center, and the Organ Historical Society; and in London, the Annual Congress of the Incorporated Association of Organists, and the International Congress of Organists.

A native of New York City, Mr. Higgs held his first position as a church organist at age ten; as a teenager, he performed classical music as well as rock, gospel, and soul music. He earned the Bachelor and Master of Music degrees at the Manhattan School of Music, and the Performer’s Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. His teachers have included Claire Coci, Peter Hurford, Russell Saunders, and Frederick Swann. In New York City, he was Director of Music and Organist at Park Avenue Christian Church, and later Associate Organist of the Riverside Church, where he also conducted the Riverside Choral Society. After moving to San Francisco in 1986, he became Director of Music and Organist at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley, Director of Church Music Studies at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, and Organist/Choir Director at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco.

In addition to his significant performing career, Mr. Higgs has distinguished himself as a pedagogue. He was appointed to the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music upon graduation from that institution, and has been a member of the faculty of the Eastman School of Music since 1992. His students have won prizes in prestigious international competitions, and hold important positions in leading academic and religious institutions.

Mr. Higgs has recorded for Delos International, Pro Organo, Arsis, Loft, and Gothic records.

About the Rice Memorial Aeolian-Skinner Organ at All Saints


10/10/11 - Northern Connecticut Organ Crawl


11/12/11 10am - St Johns Sudbury - Joan Lippincott Hymn Playing Master Class


American organist, Joan Lippincott, is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College, where she was a student of Alexander McCurdy. She she also studied at Union Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary.

Joan Lippincott has been acclaimed as one of America’s outstanding organ virtuosos. She performs extensively in the USA under Karen McFarlane Artists and has toured throughout Europe and Canada. She has been a featured recitalist at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City, at the Spoleto USA Festival, at The American Bach Society Biennial, at the Dublin (Ireland) International Organ Festival, and at conventions of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, and the Music Teachers National Association. She has performed on most of the prominent organs in churches and universities throughout the USA, including Yale, Harvard, Duke, Stanford, Columbia, and Princeton. She has traveled widely in Europe, studying, playing, and performing in recital on historic and contemporary organs in Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France.

Joan Lippincott has been especially in demand for Bach recitals and classes. She was recitalist at the Alice Tully Hall Bach-Handel Tercentennial and she has performed at Bach Festivals in Arizona, Massachusetts (Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood), Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, and South Carolina. In 2001-2002 she performed a highly acclaimed series of eight Bach organ concerts on outstanding organs throughout New York City, called ‘Bach in the Big Apple’. Her playing is distinguished by rhythmic intensity, a supple technical control, and emotional intensity.

Her many recordings on the Gothic label include music of J.S. Bach, Maurice Duruflé, Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn, Widor, Alain, and Pinkham on major American organs. The most recent releases are Sinfonia (Organ Concertos and Sinfonias of J.S. Bach with instrumental ensemble) on the Paul Fritts Organ at Princeton Theological Seminary, J.S. Bach Preludes and Fugues recorded at Pacific Lutheran University, and Clavierübung III and Schübler Chorales at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Joan Lippincott presently devotes full time to concertizing and recording. She was Principal University Organist at Princeton University from 1993 to 2000, and for many years has been Professor of Organ at Westminster Choir College of Rider University. At Westminster, she was Head of the Organ Department, the largest organ department in the world, well known for the outstanding quality of work by students and faculty. She directed many European organ study tours and summer organ workshops, including the popular Organ Week for High School Students. She has served on summer faculties at the New England Conservatory of Music, University of Wisconsin, the Montreat Conference, the Evergreen Conference, and Bach Week at Columbia College. She is famous for her teachings of rhythm and touch in organ music, particularly that of J.S. Bach.

Joan Lippincott is on the Advisory Board of The American Bach Society, an honorary member of Sigma Alpha Iota, and has received the Alumni Merit Award, the Distinguished Merit Award, and an Honorary Doctorate from Westminster Choir College.

"Most important perhaps, is her way with rhythm….the mighty Toccata in F had an irresistible and wonderfully humanizing swing about it." - The New York Times
"Almost everything about Joan Lippincott`s organ recital proved first class….The organist displayed a strong architectonic flair in both programming and performance, a penchant for detail and more than ample technical facility to realize her interpretative goals." - The Los Angeles Times

About the JW Walker Tracker instrument (specs and pictures)



11/14/11 7pm - Pull Out All the Stops - WorcAGO Members' Recital


First Unitarian Church
90 Main St

Aeolian-Skinner Pipe Organ

Pipe organ repertoire solo and duet favorites performed by Worc AGO members.

Pre-Concert talk about the 1st U A-S history at 7pm.

The Aeolian-Skinner Organ is featured on the 2-CD set Great Organs of Worcester

About the Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ


12/14/11 - Mechanics Hall Annual Christmas Concert


12 Noon Mechanics Hall Worcester

Organ, massed-choir, timpani, piano, handbells, soloists

The historic Hook Organ is featured on the 2-CD set Great Organs of Worcester

About The Worcester Organ


4/20/12 - Wesley UMC - Carol Williams


Carol Williams
San Diego Civic Organist
Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society
Organist in Residence St. Paul's Cathedral San Diego

Carol Williams
D.M.A., ARAM, Dip Ram, AD (Yale), FRCO, FTCL, ARCM
Ambition: "I want to bring the organ to new audiences and with my performances, make people feel good."
Education: British born, Carol was raised in a Welsh family with many musical influences. She began private lessons at age five and could read music before she could read the name of the piece. Carol's formal training started with five years at the Royal Academy of Music where she specialized in organ performing as a student of David Sanger and obtained the Academy's prestigious Recital Diploma together with an LRAM (organ) and an LRAM (piano). She was awarded all the major prizes for organ performing and, during her studies; she became a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and a Fellow of Trinity College London plus an Associate of the Royal College of Music. Carol has also studied with Daniel Roth, the Organist at the Church of St. Sulpice, Paris where the famous Charles- Marie Widor was organist for sixty-three years. Moving to the USA, Carol undertook postgraduate study at Yale University under the direction of Professor Thomas Murray where she was appointed University Chapel Organist and was awarded an Artist Diploma together with the Charles Ives prize for outstanding achievement. Then to New York City where she became the Associate Organist at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Long Island's Garden City and undertook Doctoral study under Professor McNeil Robinson at the Manhattan School of Music where she received the Helen Cohn award for her D.M.A. degree.
History: Carol's performances have taken her all over the world. Some popular venues include: St. Sulpice and Notre Dame, Paris; Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles; Washington National Cathedral; Riverside Church and St. Patrick's, New York City; Woolsey Hall, Yale University; Memorial Chapel, Harvard University; Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral; King's College, Cambridge; Queen's College, Oxford; Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. She has also given numerous concerts in Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Monaco, Luxembourg, Holland, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Singapore, China and Russia. En route, Carol has been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in recognition of her contribution to music. A regular broadcaster in the UK and in America, she has been the guest performer with a number of leading orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Beijing Symphony Orchestra and performed the inaugural recitals on a newly-installed Austin organ in Beijing's Forbidden City Concert Hall. Carol has been interviewed "live" on many radio programs, in which she has highlighted her profound love of the King of Instruments, and she is featured in the national-awareness video "Pulling out all the Stops" when she was filmed in concert at St. Thomas' Church in New York's Fifth Avenue. She was also privileged to take part in the Virgil Fox Memorial Concert held in the fall of 2000 at New York's Riverside Church and a recording of the memorable event has been released as a double-CD by Gothic Records. Carol is also hosting a video series named "TourBus" featuring the great and small, famous and unique organs of the world, its music, people and places. In October of 2001 Dr. Carol Williams is the first woman to be appointed Civic Organist. Dr. Williams is the Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society; San Diego Civic Organist and Organist in Residence at St. Paul's Cathedral in San Diego, California.
International Appeal: Carol gives a new spin to classical organ concerts with her charismatic humor. International audiences have received Carols' live performances with a "rock star" enthusiasm.

The Aeolian-Skinner Organ is featured on the 2-CD set Great Organs of Worcester

About the Bryant Memorial Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ