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American Guild of Organists Convention

posted Jul 7, 2013, 7:22 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Jul 7, 2013, 7:45 AM ]
This week I went to Hartford, CT for the American Guild of Organists Convention. The theme of this conference, Appear and Inspire, comes from a poem by W. H. Auden, Anthem for St. Cecilia’s Day

Blessed Cecilia, appear in visions To all musicians, appear and inspire:
Translated Daughter, come down and startle Composing mortals with immortal fire.

There were over twenty-one workshops; my two favorites were Organ Improvisation and Enlivening the Choral Rehearsal. I skipped Dealing w/ Difficult People in Your Church since I haven’t met any here yet; but yes, there really are seminars for that…

A third of the venues were Roman Catholic churches. I saw St. Patrick – St. Anthony, Connecticut’s oldest parish, founded in 1829 to welcome Irish immigrants. The Order of Friars Minor took over in 1990 to help the needs of downtown’s poor and alienated, and now run the Franciscan Center for Urban Ministry.

The Cathedral of St. Joseph opened in 1962 to replace the one that burned in 1956. It’s noted for its huge stained glass windows crafted in Paris; the ceramic tile mural behind the altar that is the largest of its kind in the world; and its four manual pipe organ that contains more than 8,000 pipes!

I also visited the Hartt School of Music, Dance and Theatre at the University of Hartford; the Mark Twain House where he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; and the Wadsworth Atheneum – America’s oldest public art museum!