Our Spring Members’ Recital will be held on Saturday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. at Saint Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception, 134 South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre. Mark Ignatovich will be the host organist for this event.

The church’s more than century-old organ, built by the Müller and Abel Organ Company, was refurbished by Patrick J. Murphy and Associates in 2013. The instrument has three manuals (Choir, Great, and Swell) and pedal with 46 ranks of pipes.

All chapter members are invited to participate!

If you are interested in performing, please contact Mike Sowa by Wednesday, April 23 with the titles and composers of the pieces you would like to perform. Classical organ compositions, hymn-based works, and improvisations are welcome.


This coming Sunday’s (February 16th’s) Music from St. Stephen’s on WVIA 89.9 FM will be a program Mark Laubach has recorded in memory of Father Al Wagaman. Father Wagaman, who served as our chaplain, passed away on December 13, 2013.

The program will air twice on Sunday, at 7:00 am and 4:00 pm. People who can’t get good reception of WVIA where they live have the option of listening to the program live online at WVIA’s website.


On November 3, members of the Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter conducted their third annual “Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza” program at Church of Christ Uniting in Kingston. The Rev. Dr. Carol Fleming, pastor, and Carl D. Ruck, minister of music and AGO chapter member, hosted the event. The program opened with the presentation of Daniel Burton’s Rex: The King of Instruments with Raphael Micca, sub-dean, narrating and Mike Sowa, dean, playing the organ. Participants were given a chance to get an up-close look at the organ console and the pipe chambers and to observe a collection of pipes taken from an area organ which is no longer in existence. Several of the attendees of varying ages and levels of experience sat down to play the church’s pipe organ. At the end of the program, pizza and refreshments were served free of charge in the church’s fellowship hall, where chapter member Mark Pall demonstrated a hand-cranked busker organ he built from scratch and chapter sub-dean Raphael Micca led a series of games with the children who attended the program.

The Blessing and Rededication of the pipe organ at St. Mary’s Church of the Immaculate Conception, 134 South Washington Street, Wilkes-Barre will take place on Friday, November 1 (The Solemnity of All Saints) at 7:00 p.m. The program will include the performance of organ works by J.S. Bach, Francois Couperin, and Gaston Dethier along with hymn singing by all in attendance and by the parish choirs. All are invited to attend the rededication.


St. Mary’s pipe organ was built by Müller and Abel, New York City in 1902 (Opus 60). It was rebuilt in 1927 by the Möller organ company of Hagerstown, Maryland. This year’s rebuild was completed by Patrick Murphy of Stowe, Pennsylvania.

The pipe organ has been called the “King of Instruments.” The sounds of the pipe organ have inspired worshippers for centuries. Great composers have written countless works for the instrument. Pipe organs have been installed in some of the world’s most prestigious concert halls and theaters. The American Guild of Organists is passionate about the pipe organ and we want to share our love with a new generation.


Join us on Sunday, November 3 at Church of Christ Uniting in Kingston from 2:00 – 4:00 PM for Pedals, Pipes, and Pizza. Participants will receive a behind the scenes tour of the instrument in addition to a chance to play it themselves (and eat some pizza!). All are welcome to attend. Students currently studying the piano are encouraged to bring a piece to play on the organ.

Presenters for the event are Michael Sowa and Raphael Micca, local organists with backgrounds in music education and church music. Carl Ruck, Minister of Music at Church of Christ Uniting, is the host.


You are invited to our chapter’s Opening Celebration to be held Friday, September 20 at Saint Nicholas Church in Wilkes-Barre, beginning at 6:00 p.m.  The host for this event will be Mr. Edward Loch, who serves as organist and music director at Saint Nicholas Church.  Please extend the invitation to your family, friends, colleagues, and pastors.
Evening Prayer will be celebrated in the lower level chapel at 6:00 p.m.  We will then proceed to the church hall for dinner following the service. The dinner will once again be catered by Dente’s Catering.
Cost of the dinner buffet is $16.00, which includes salad bar, two entrees, sides, desserts, and hot and cold beverages.  Please direct your RSVP to Mike Sowa, dean, by Wednesday, September 4.  You may either call (570) 881-2301 or e-mail dean@agopane.org.
Following the dinner, we will head upstairs for an opportunity to see, hear, and play M. P. Möller’s Opus 3156, originally installed in the former Saint Casimir’s Church in Pittston.  An invitation to this event has also been extended to members of Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Pittston, as a good number of its current parishioners were once members of Saint Casimir’s before it closed in April 2008.

DSC02418On Thursday, August 8, members of the Pennsylvania Northeast Chapter, AGO have been invited to participate in a day-long organ tour of four prominent pipe organs in our area with the members of the Binghamton Chapter. An itinerary is included below. The Binghamton Chapter board has been kind enough to let us in on this event of theirs.

If you work during the week, this may be a good reason to take a personal day. You are welcome to visit one, several, or all of the churches as your schedule allows. Everyone will meet for lunch at La Trattoria Restaurant (near the University of Scranton) at 11:30 a.m. If you are interested in attending, please email Mike Sowa, dean, and let him know if you plan on going to the lunch so that an accurate count can be given to the event coordinators.

AGO Organ Crawl Itinerary for Thursday, August 8, 2013

9:00 to 9:45 a.m.

St. Stephen’s Pro Episcopal Cathedral – 35 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, PA

The instrument at St. Stephen’s encompasses 4 manual – 89 ranks, 5,003 pipes and incorporates the work of Austin (1905), Aeolian-Skinner (1954), and later, Allan Van Zoeren.  Berghaus pipe organ builders recently rebuilt the organ.  Canon Mark Laubach, Director of Music at St. Stephen’s Cathedral will be demonstrating each of the instruments for us.  AGO members will have access to the chambers (as much as is practical), and console time to sit down and play.  Be sure to bring your music!

9:45 to 10:30 a.m. – Travel to Scranton

10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Hickory Street Presbyterian – 435 Hickory Street, Scranton, PA.  

The organ at Hickory Street Presbyterian was designed by Charles Courboin, an important organist in the early 1900′s who knew Dupre, Nadia Boulanger, and others.  It is a 3-manual, 51 rank Casavant, but built in the Romantic style.

Eugene Hopkins is the Director of Music at Hickory Street Presbyterian and also their longest tenured employee.  His work at Hickory Street Presbyterian began in 1967, soon after he graduated from Westminster Choir College.

11:30 to 1:00 p.m.

Lunch at La Trattoria Restaurant  – 522 Moosic St, Scranton, PA

1:15 to 2:00 p.m.

St. Peter’s Cathedral – 300 Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA.

The Cathedral Organ was built in 1979 as Opus 3141 by the Canadian firm Casavant Frères under the direction of Gerhard Brunzma.  This instrument is a tracker organ comprised of 3 manuals, 37 stops, 52 ranks and 2,588 pipes.  The organ is turned to the well-tempered system known as Werkmeister III and constructed to the tonal and mechanical principles of the great classic organs of Europe.

Daniel Marx is the Director of Music at St. Peter’s Cathedral.

2:15 to 3:00 p.m.

Elm Park Church712 Linden Street, Scranton, PA. 

Elm Park Church houses a beautiful Reuter organ.  Harold L. Hoover is the Director of Music at Elm Park Church.

Traveling directions from Binghamton to St. Stephen’s, Wilkes-Barre.

Take 81 South to Wilkes-Barre.

Take Exit 170B to Route 309 also known locally as the Cross Valley Expressway.

Stay in the right hand lane on 309 and get off at Exit 3 (South River Street).

Turn left on South River.

In approximately 1 mile, turn left on West Northampton Street.

In one block, turn left on South Franklin Street.  St. Stephen’s will be on your left.

There is a public parking garage across the street from the church.

Traveling directions from Elmira to St. Stephen’s, Wilkes-Barre.

Take 17 East to Exit 60 (Sayre).

Turn right onto Route 220 South all the way to Route 6 East in Towanda.

Stay on Route 6 all the way to Tunkhannock.

Be sure to stay on the “by-pass” route around Tunkhannock!

At the traffic light in Tunkhannock, turn right onto Route 29.

Stay on Route 29.  In approximately 10 miles, Route 29 splits into 29/309.

Keep going straight on Route 309!  This will take you to Dallas, PA.

In Dallas, keep in the left hand lane at the traffic light and stay on 309!

309 is known locally as the Cross Valley Expressway.

Watch for Exit 3 off 309 – (South River Street).

Turn right on South River.

In approximately 1 mile, turn left on West Northampton Street.

In one block, turn left on South Franklin Street.  St. Stephen’s will be on your left.

There is a public parking garage across the street from the church.


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