Last week I attended the 2013 American Guild of Organists (AGO) Region V (Great Lakes) convention in Kalamazoo, MI. My compliments go to the Southwest Michigan AGO Chapter for hosting a wonderful convention. I was impressed with the spiral bound, high quality convention book. Inside were over 100 pages including maps to concert locations (churches), the program for each recital, detailed information on each pipe organ, church, and performing organist. The churches were all in walking distance of the hotel in Kalamazoo and the bus drop off spot in Battle Creek. The last day of the convention was held in Battle Creek, MI.
There were over 330 registered for the convention and most attendees were organists (some brought their spouse). Attendees ranged in age from high school student to senior citizen. One of my favorite parts was having opportunities to meet other organists. There were receptions each night following the last concert (except for the last night), breakfast in the reception hall, a few meals, a banquet, the bus (to and from Battle Creek), and the random people sitting near me at a concert. I received encouragement from all who heard my story.
I learned at the opening service that all of the concerts were open to the public. They were welcome to attend free of charge and could donate a free will offering if they choose to do so. This was great as many people (not just organists) enjoy pipe organ music. On Monday night, dinner was not organized for us and we were on our own for. My friend, Molly who I’ve known since the eight grade lives in Kalamazoo. She picked me up for dinner and much to my delight attended that evening’s concert at St. Augustine Cathedral.
I will share more about my convention experience in upcoming posts. Topics will include:
- Why I don’t want to purchase a new electronic organ (for home practice)
- The Tiffin, OH connection
- The most important lesson I learned at the convention
- Frequently asked questions
- Pictures of the pipe organs