The purpose of the American Guild of Organists is to promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles, to encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music, and to provide a forum for mutual support, inspiration, education, and certification of Guild members.
The Maine Chapter of the AGO was established in 1935 by Alfred Brinkler, Portland Municipal Organist and Director of Music at the Cathedral of St. Luke. Dr. Brinkler had earned the FAGO certificate in 1905, making him the first AGO member in Maine. In the same year he was instrumental in founding the New England Chapter of the Guild headquartered in Boston. He died in 1972, having played his last recital on the Kotzschmar Memorial Organ in Portland City Hall the previous year.
Another group, the National Association of Organists, had been formed under Will C., Macfarlane, Portland’s first Municipal Organist. In 1935, this organization merged with the AGO, forming the Portland Chapter, and the old New England Chapter became the Boston Chapter.
Today the chapter draws its membership from a wide area throughout southern Maine. Six to eight meetings are held throughout the year, offering social events, workshops, lectures, master classes, recitals, as well as the Pedals, Pipes and Pizza program to introduce young people to the pipe organ. Beginning in 2010, the chapter is also an officia l exam center, available to administer the CAGO and AAGO exams in addition to the exam for the Service Playing Certificate.