From the Executive Director — Fall 2014

FOKO was well represented at the American Guild of Organists National Convention in Boston this year. Ray Cornils served as chair of this massive event, Elsa Geskus chaired the workshops and John Bishop, Ray, David Wallace and I presented workshops.

This was my first AGO Convention and I wore several hats; one as FOKO’s Executive Director, as an exhibitor for FOKO, another as a voice instructor presenting a workshop about the importance of healthful vocal production for church choirs and yet another as mover of FOKO education materials, keyboards for workshops and hauling K.J. home after his week in Boston.

We had two small gatherings in between the incredibly busy schedule of events. The first after Ray’s workshop about our education outreach, with organists from various parts of the country and abroad discussing the challenges of educating the general public about the pipe organ and the second, an interesting group of people representing pipe organs in public venues. The discussion included sharing our current programs, challenges and taking a look at how we might work together in the future to better serve our constituencies, broaden our reach and join forces to have a national impact on our art form.

It was important to have a presence at this convention and an invaluable experience for me. I met new people, reconnected with many organists who have played the Kotzschmar, who will be back this year and who WANT to return and experience the brilliance of the renovated instrument, and reconnected with many former classmates from Westminster Choir College. The buzz was incredible and as an exhibitor sitting next to David and Nick Wallace and across the aisle from Foley-Baker, the KO and FOKO had a wonderful presence.

As we look forward to celebrating the triumphant return of the mighty Kotzschmar, may we all take a moment to remember those who came before us and dedicated time, talent and resources to this instrument, those in our lifetime who have passed and made a huge impact on where we are today, and those who have made this renovation possible: board members, donors, volunteers and friends, the City of Portland, FOKO staff and the last but not least, the staff of Foley-Baker.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” — MICHELANGELO

— Kathleen Grammer