19 episodes

Remember that moment when you were first captivated by an organ? When the sounds and sensations drew you in and piqued your curiosity? When you saw an organ console up close for the first time and was overwhelmed by its complexity? When you just knew you wanted to learn how to play one? We all have memories like this and stories to tell about them. In each episode of The LA AGO Podcast, host Thompson Howell speaks with a different member of the Los Angeles Chapter, and occasional special guests, about their own love affair with the organ and how that passion informs their particular involvement with the organ world today. It's not just about what you've done; it's about why you do what you do. Whether you’re a church musician, a concert organist, a teacher, an organ builder or technician, a composer who writes for the organ or simply a fan of the organ and its music, you’ll enjoy hearing the stories of people who are passionate about the organ at every level.

The LA AGO Podcast Host: Thompson Howell

    • Music
    • 4.8 • 6 Ratings

Remember that moment when you were first captivated by an organ? When the sounds and sensations drew you in and piqued your curiosity? When you saw an organ console up close for the first time and was overwhelmed by its complexity? When you just knew you wanted to learn how to play one? We all have memories like this and stories to tell about them. In each episode of The LA AGO Podcast, host Thompson Howell speaks with a different member of the Los Angeles Chapter, and occasional special guests, about their own love affair with the organ and how that passion informs their particular involvement with the organ world today. It's not just about what you've done; it's about why you do what you do. Whether you’re a church musician, a concert organist, a teacher, an organ builder or technician, a composer who writes for the organ or simply a fan of the organ and its music, you’ll enjoy hearing the stories of people who are passionate about the organ at every level.

    Episode 19 (Dr. Linda West Brown)

    Episode 19 (Dr. Linda West Brown)

    The final event of the LA Chapter's 2021-2022 season is our annual Guild Service on Monday, May 16th at San Marino Community Church. Check the latest Pipeline e-Newsletter or LAAGO.org for details. New Officers and Executive Committee members will be formally installed as we all enjoy a collaborative program featuring Chorale Bel Canto & Friends under the direction of Music Director, Dr. Linda West Brown.

    In this episode, host Thompson Howell and Linda engage in a lively conversation about her career as both an educator and performer including the moment she knew she wanted to be an organist with a little nudge from Richard Strauss; her favorite part about teaching in the California public school system for 38 years; the continuing influence of her undergraduate organ professor at Whittier College, Orpha Ochse; how California's Imperial Valley was far from the cultural wasteland she assumed it would be; why music and the effects of group choral singing are important and the steps Chorale Bel Canto took to stay connected during the pandemic; an explanation of the Orgelkids pipe organ educational project; the real value and advantages of the different levels of AGO Certification exams; an update on the recently completed and very successful composition competition of the Ruth & Clarence Mader Memorial Scholarship Fund; and a run down of the program planned for May 16th. Plus a lot more!

    Listen at LAAGO.org...or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

    LINKS:

    Chorale Bel Canto
    The Ruth & Clarence Mader Memorial Scholarship Fund
    A flyer for Chorale Bel Canto's May 14th Ukranian Refugee Fundraiser
    The LA AGO YouTube channel
    The LA AGO Facebook page

    • 49 min
    Episode 18 (James Casey)

    Episode 18 (James Casey)

    St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in LA's Westwood neighborhood is the site of our next event on Monday, March 14th at 8pm - a Members' Recital featuring the church's Director of Music, Dr. Jeffrey Parola and Organist, James Casey. Complete details can be found at LAAGO.org.

    This episode features James Casey in a conversation with host Thompson Howell as he shares his journey from tiny Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin to the heart of America's second largest city, Los Angeles. Jim talks about the ways he tries to find balance in his musical life as an organist, singer, and teacher; how the music program at school was his "home" as a kid; that one summer as the stadium organist for the Wisconsin Rapids Twins baseball team; the influence of prominent Lutheran musician Paul Manz on his growth as a musician; how he found his real singing voice and busted out of the countertenor closet...and shares his secret to job longevity as a church organist. Jim also provides a brief introduction to the Kodály method of music education and its importance to his teaching at St. Paul's School and gives thanks for the friendship and mentorship of two esteemed colleagues, James Buonemani and Christopher Walker. And a bunch more!

    Listen at LAAGO.org...or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

    LINKS:

    The LA AGO YouTube channel
    The LA AGO Facebook page

    • 54 min
    Episode 17 (Christopher Keady)

    Episode 17 (Christopher Keady)

    Our Presidents' Day Organ Festival is back on Monday, February 21st after taking last year off. Our destination for the day is Pasadena. Make your lunch reservations, read artist bios, and get all the details about this year's Festival at the website here.

    Our guest this time is Christopher Keady, Assistant Director of Music at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Chris will be our special out-of-Chapter guest on Presidents' Day and will play the final recital of the day at First Church of Christ, Scientist on its Murray Harris organ.

    In this episode, Chris shares with host Thompson Howell his journey from his childhood in Eugene, Oregon to his graduate school work at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut; how the installation of a new pipe organ at his home church when he was younger helped make the organ a real thing to him; how his exposure to higher levels of church music accelerated his interest in a career as a church musician; the most satisfying parts of his work at Grace Cathedral and the associated Cathedral School for Boys; his volunteer work as the Sub-Dean for Programming for the San Francisco AGO Chapter and his efforts to engage young (future) organists.

    Chris also explains what drew him to the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University for his Master's Degree studies and why he thinks it's a special program; talks about how he approaches a first encounter with an organ he hasn't played before; gives us a little preview of his Presidents' Day program at First Church of Christ Scientist in Pasadena scheduled for a little after 2pm; and much more!

    Listen at LAAGO.org...or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

    LINKS:

    Grace Cathedral's Organ Recital Series on YouTube is here.
    Services of Evensong at Grace Cathedral on YouTube are here.
    The LA AGO YouTube channel is here.
    The LA AGO Facebook page is here.

    • 47 min
    Episode 16 (Tyrone Whiting)

    Episode 16 (Tyrone Whiting)

    IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to the severe outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in the Los Angeles area, the leadership of the LA AGO and our guest artist have mutually decided to postpone our January, 2022 events featuring Mr. Tyrone Whiting. This decision has been made to ensure the safety of our guest artist and attendees. Mr. Whiting has been rescheduled to present a masterclass on October 15 and a recital on October 17 of this year. A virtual event is being developed for January. Details will be emailed to all members as soon as they become available. You may also follow the LA AGO Facebook page for the latest information and event details.

    We're back for 2022 as we continue with our season of LA AGO events!

    Our next event comes up on Monday, January 17th at 8pm. Tyrone Whiting - London born organist, conductor, pianist, and educator - will be in recital at Herrick Chapel on the campus of Occidental College in the Eagle Rock area of Los Angeles. The recital will be preceded by a Masterclass taught by Mr. Whiting on Saturday, January 15th, also at Herrick Chapel. Details on both events can be found at LAAGO.org and in the Chapter's e-newsletter, The LA Pipeline.

    In this episode, Tyrone shares with host Thompson Howell his goals as Director of Music & Organist at historic St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; discusses his non-traditional route into the world of organ and choral music; emphasizes the importance he places on teaching (and learning!) and how the principles of Performance Science affect us all; and how obsessing over "perfection" in performance can actually result in more mistakes; and more!

    Thompson also wonders if Bach would have written different music if he'd had access to orchestral organs like those built by renowned French builder Aristide Cavaillé-Coll, and Tyrone stresses the contextual need to recognize that composers were human beings with life experiences that helped shape their body of work.

    Listen at LAAGO.org...or wherever you get your podcasts.

    LINKS:

    Tyrone's website is here.
    Tyrone's YouTube channel is here.
    The LA AGO YouTube channel is here.
    The LA AGO Facebook page is here.

    • 46 min
    Episode 15 (Ken Cowan)

    Episode 15 (Ken Cowan)

    Our next LA AGO event comes up on Sunday, November 14th at 6pm as we welcome organist Ken Cowan in a recital co-sponsored by St. James' In-the-City Episcopal Church at 3903 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles.

    Ken's performance will be preceded by a wonderful service of Evensong at 4:30pm. Both events require FREE tickets that can be reserved here.

    Regarded as one of North America's finest concert organists and praised for his dazzling artistry, impeccable technique, and imaginative programming by audiences and critics alike, Ken Cowan maintains a rigorous performing schedule that takes him to major concert venues in America, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

    In this episode, Ken talks with host Thompson Howell about his childhood in Thorold, Ontario, Canada and growing up with his father and two grandmothers who were also organists; how becoming a concert organist wasn't inevitable; the one thing he missed most while teaching remotely during the pandemic; why he likes the comparatively small size of the organ department at Rice University in Houston where he teaches; and the ins and outs of assessing the needs of new students and developing their "musical personalities."

    Ken also reveals whether or not he's a relaxed performer; how he prepares to play in front of live audiences; the best practice strategy for successfully memorizing pieces; the ways in which he helps to attract younger people to the organ; the one part of the world where there are organs that he hasn't played in yet; and plenty more!

    Listen at LAAGO.org...or wherever you get your podcasts.

    LINKS:

    Ken's website is here.
    Ken's 2009 interview in The Diapason is here.
    Information about the organ at St. James' In-the-City church is here.
    The LA AGO YouTube channel is here.
    The LA AGO Facebook page is here.

    • 48 min
    Episode 14 (Yoojung Chung & Nicholas Galinaitis)

    Episode 14 (Yoojung Chung & Nicholas Galinaitis)

    The LA AGO Podcast is back as the Chapter begins its 2021-2022 season.

    We kick things off on Monday, October 18th with a Members' Recital at Westwood United Methodist Church in the bustling Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles featuring organists Yoojung Chung, Organist at WUMC, Nicholas Galinaitis, Director of Music & Organist at Newport Harbor Lutheran Church in Newport Beach, CA, and LA AGO Podcast host Thompson Howell.

    This event will be in-person and will also be live-streamed courtesy of the church. For specific details about this event including information on Covid-19 guidelines that will be in place and how to view the live-stream on the night of the recital if you choose not to attend in person,  please visit the Chapter's website at LAAGO.org.

    Yoojung, Nicholas, and Thompson touch on many topics including: Yoojung's upbringing in South Korea in a family of musicians; the influence of her cousin who exposed her to the organ; how she tries to change some people's negative perception of the organ by playing a good mix of both traditional and contemporary organ repertoire; and how the pandemic allowed her to focus more on her organ practice and become more involved in the organ scene. Nicholas shares his love of Romantic piano literature and how that translates into his organ playing; talks about his memory of watching CBS's Mike Wallace interview pianist Vladimir Horowitz when he was very young; credits his Grandparents for exposing him to the possibilities of the organ; and explains why he moved to Los Angeles from rural Maryland. Plus, the three have an engaging discussion about the importance of finding the right teacher for YOU; whether memorizing repertoire is beneficial; who has the worse commute to their job - Yoojung or Nicholas?; and lots more!

    Listen at LAAGO.org or wherever you get your podcasts.

    LINKS

    Information about the organ at Westwood United Methodist Church is here.
    Nicholas' website is here.
    The LA AGO YouTube channel is here.
    The LA AGO Facebook page is here.

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

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