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Atlanta organists guild celebrates 100 years
by Nicole Dow
September 03, 2014 10:38 AM | 1481 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Atlanta chapter of the American Guild of Organists is celebrating its 100th anniversary during its 2014-15 season, kicking it off with an organ concert Tuesday at The Cathedral of St. Philip in Buckhead performed by Atlanta native Alan Morrison.

“It was the guild here in Atlanta that helped to nurture him,” said the chapter’s dean, Sue Mitchell-Wallace, of Roswell. “We offer scholarships for young organists to go on with their studies.”

Morrison, now a resident of Philadelphia, said he is honored to have been asked to perform the first concert of the chapter’s centennial season. He said almost every piece he will play during the concert will have a special significance.

“It either has an Atlanta connection or just celebrating the years around when the chapter was founded 100 years ago,” Morrison said. “So I’m programming several pieces that were written around 1914 and/or published in that year.”

He said he will also be playing a new piece commissioned by composer David Conte to celebrate the 100th anniversary.

“One of the missions of the guild in general, countrywide, is to support funding of commissions of new work to add to the repertoire,” Morrison said.

Mitchell-Wallace said many churches in Buckhead are chosen as concert venues for the chapter’s events, because the area includes several large churches with some of the finest organs. Buckhead resident and organist Herbert Buffington, a chapter member since 1975, said he started his career as an assistant organist at St. Philip when he was a teenager. For the past 18 years, he has served as the organist at Peachtree Christian Church in Midtown.

“It’s tremendous that the guild has actually stayed together as a viable institution as long as it has,” Buffington said. “The Atlanta chapter has stayed a viable, active, energetic organization.”

Following Tuesday’s concert, the season will continue with a concert Oct. 6 at First Presbyterian Church in Midtown. Future concerts and presentations are scheduled for Nov. 11 at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Buckhead, Dec. 15 at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Midtown, Feb. 10 at The Temple in Midtown, March 14 at Trinity United Methodist Church in Atlanta and May 12 at Grace United Methodist Church in Atlanta.

For more information about the Atlanta chapter of the American Guild of Organists or the events during its centennial season, visit www.agoatlanta.org.

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