February 6- Do You Know Your AGO?

Today’s DYKYAGO focuses on Cynthia Pock, obl. ECST, AAGO. Cindy is the Cantor at First Lutheran Church in downtown Pittsburgh as well as the Coordinator for Education for the Pittsburgh AGO.

What inspired you to become a church musician?
Since I played the piano, I was asked to “help out” in the 8th grade at my home parish, Saint Stephen Lutheran Church in Green Tree. An older friend introduced me to organ literature, and I really wanted to play as he did!
If you had the chance to live somewhere else, where would it be and why?
Most likely in Rising Sun, Maryland, where the monastery with which I am affiliated, is located. I am an Oblate with the Episcopal Carmel of Saint Teresa; the monastery has become my second home.

If you had the chance to do something else for a living, what would it be and why?
I would probably be a veterinarian or vet tech; I truly love animals!

You are a huge supporter of Going Home Greyhounds. Would you like to explain what that is and why it is so important?
My favorite topic beside church music! Going Home Greyhounds is a local rescue group for retired racing greyhounds. When the dogs reach the age of 5, or begin to lose earlier at the racetrack, they are scheduled to be euthanized. The track in Wheeling, WV notifies us when dogs are available. GHG brings as many as possible into foster care, and prepares them for adoption. I volunteer with my three dogs (Harmony, Steinway and Maestro!!), doing Meet & Greets at pet stores, home shows, etc. We introduce the public to these wonderful, gentle dogs and inform them about the joy of greyhound adoption.

What is your favorite composer?
Goodness, I can’t name only one! Bach, of course, and Buxtehude, Debussy, Britten, Copland are some favorites.

What is your favorite hymn in Lent?
Ah, Holy Jesus (“Herzliebster Jesu”)

If you had the chance to meet a composer, past or present, who would it be and why? Explain the scene in which you would meet him/her.
Most certainly, Johann Sebastian Bach – and I would like to discuss Lutheran theology and its obvious influence in his music. I would like to discuss the role of music in the ministry of the church.

You and Dr. Ann Labounsky are preparing to take the Choirmaster exam this year. How did you decide you wanted to do this in 2012, and how are you preparing for it?
I have always been interested in the Choirmaster exam; it has practical application for what I do as a conductor, and it will be a stretching experience, as well. There are areas for which I will need to study and review!! I am looking at exams from past years (available from AGO headquarters), re-reading a text on music history and church music, and studying Gregorian notation.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time??? Actually, long walks with the dogs are a greyt way to relax and spend quality time with them. Yes, we adopters do spell it that way (!)

What do you believe are the strengths of the Pittsburgh AGO?
The Pittsburgh Chapter is an outstanding one. I’ve worked on committees for years, and served as Dean; the support, professionalism, and goodwill in this Chapter is remarkable. The monthly dinners afford us the opportunity for much-needed fellowship; we sponsor and encourage AGO exams, we have a marvelous Organ Academy to promote organ study for young persons; the Organ Artists Series brings the finest performers to our city. This Chapter is doing many excellent things for the profession!

What is your favorite quote?
Again, too many come to mind to select only one…”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” is certainly at the top of the list!

Any last thoughts?
I am truly blessed to be doing what I am…playing the organ, directing choirs, leading people in worship, making music in the house of God. It is a great privilege and important responsibility. I am just so very thankful!!

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing your thoughts with us.

If you are interested in being a part of a retired greyhound’s life, please visit GoingHomeGreyhounds.org for more information.

Happy Monday, musicians!

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