Do You Know Your AGO?: Region III!

As Pittsburghers in presence and spirit, we belong to Region III. No, really, we belong to Region III in the AGO’s designated regions and boundaries in the United States.

Which brings me to today’s DYKYAGO participant. We will be running things a little differently from now on in the PittsburghAGO blog for several weeks. Since the participation and responses from our immediate members have been weaning, I have decided to reach out to others across the country, learning their stories, their musical tastes, and their love for AGO. It’s a different type of DYKYAGO. It gives us the opportunity to reach across regions, broaden our horizons, and use technology to our advantage (ah, yes, there is our buzzword!).

And so, without further ado…

DYKYAGO?: Jane Errera, MA, ChM, our Region III Councillor

Thank you for agreeing to be a part of our DYKYAGO series, Jane!

How did you begin to learn about the American Guild of Organists?
My first organ teacher, Maria Galati (now Maria Prochnau, AAGO),
encouraged my AGO membership more than fifty years ago. At that time, two AGO members had to sponsor a potential member, so Maria asked one of her organist friends to help sponsor my membership.

When did you begin to learn how to play the organ?
I began organ lessons in eighth grade, only because my best friend started taking lessons, and I wanted to keep up with her. (She, too, is still a church organist.) I soon discovered that the organ is the instrument for me!

Have you done anything else as a career besides organ?
I was an elementary school classroom teacher for over thirty years, during which my church work was part-time. Since my retirement from the public schools fifteen years ago, I have been employed full-time as an organist/choir director.

What do you find most rewarding while playing organ?
I very much enjoy the challenge of learning new organ music. It’s quite
rewarding to start from scratch and measure by measure bring the music to life.

More important for me, though, is finding that a piece of music has moved someone’s soul. My church teaches that “In the Latin church the pipe organ is to be held in high esteem, for it is the traditional musical instrument which adds a wonderful splendor to the Church’s ceremonies and powerfully lifts up man’s mind to God and to higher things.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, No. 120). I pray that my organ playing will be a blessing to those who are worshipping.

What do you find most rewarding in your life?
A day well-spent is the most rewarding for me. That means finding out
what God has in store for me for the day and doing His will as best I can. In particular, my husband’s smile is always rewarding.

Where do you like to go on vacation?
I like to vacation anywhere where there’s running water indoors and someone else to do the cooking. Our many trips to Europe hold my favorite memories.

Have you read any good books lately?
I must confess that I read crime novels almost exclusively.

Bach or Buxtehude? Widor or Vierne? Messiaen or Langlais?
My college professor, Ludwig Lenel, was the godson of, organ student of, and page turner on recital tour for Albert Schweitzer. (If I practiced diligently for a lesson, I was allowed to look at Schweitzer’s handwritten notes in organ books owned by Professor Lenel.) Consequently, I studied very much Bach and the other Baroque masters. I had some Vierne and a little Langlais, but none of Widor or Messiaen during my college years. I have since discovered
what I missed in college! Although Bach remains a favorite, I now prefer the French Romantics.

Do you have any goals for Region III or your own personal AGO Chapter?
My goal as Regional Councillor has been to encourage and enable our
chapters and their members so that the mission of the AGO is promoted
throughout the region.

My many visits to chapters in the Mid-Atlantic region have taken me away from the local chapter. I hope to be more active locally after my term expires June 30, 2012.

Any last thoughts?
I am extremely grateful for the opportunity of having served for three terms as AGO Councillor for Region III. I cannot count the many blessings that I have received from this experience! My deepest thanks go to all of our chapters and their members for their inspiration to me and their support of the AGO!


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