The Year of the Young Organist

The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is the largest organization dedicated to promoting church music in the United States. I am pleased to share that July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, is the AGO Year of the Young Organist.

This is an investment in the future of church music. The initiative offers a free year of AGO membership to anyone under the age of 30. Membership includes a monthly publication and special events and opportunities at the national and local level.

Since 2004, the Charlotte chapter of the AGO has proudly offered the Ann and Robert Stigall Scholarship in honor of Ann and Robert’s many years of beautiful and inspiring music at Myers Park Presbyterian Church and in the Charlotte community. This scholarship helps aspiring organ students in grades six through twelve pay for organ lessons.

On a related note, I’d like to invite you to my recital this Sunday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m., here at St. Peter’s. This recital is part of a nearly 50-year tradition of summer organ concerts in Charlotte and the freewill offering is 100% dedicated to the Stigall Scholarship. I will be playing well-known organ favorites, underrepresented repertoire, and my own compositions.

My program begins with a dramatic piece in G minor by the French romantic composer, Charles-Marie Widor. Widor composed entire symphonies for the organ and is a towering figure in the organ world.

Then I will play two of my own compositions. They are inspired by hymn #616 “Hail to the Lord’s Anointed” and hymn #60 “Creator of the stars of night” from The Hymnal 1982.

Following that is Nadia Boulanger’s “Prelude.” Boulanger famously taught many American composers at the Paris Conservatory including Aaron Copland, Philip Glass, and Gerre Hancock, among others.

Next is an arrangement of the spiritual “Give Me Jesus” by Marques L. A. Garrett. Garrett is an Assistant Professor of Music in Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Glenn Korff School of Music. His areas of academic research include vocal music of Black composers, non-idiomatic choral music of Black composers, the choral music of R. Nathaniel Dett, Negro spirituals, and choral conducting/rehearsal techniques.

Then I will play the rousing “Fanfare” by English composer John Cook. Cook studied at Cambridge University and eventually became the Organist and Choirmaster at the famed Church of the Advent in Boston.

Finally, I will perform “Sonata in D minor,” a major organ work by Florence Price. Price became the first African American woman to have an American orchestra perform her work after the Chicago Symphony performed her Symphony No. 1 in E minor at Chicago’s 1933 World Fair.

I hope that you will join me for this event and will consider learning more about the mission of the American Guild of Organists during this “Year of the Young Organist.”

Garrett John Law, Assistant Organist & Choirmaster