Ray Cornils and the American Guild of Organists

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Ray Cornils 12 Highlights from his work in Maine

Ray Cornils and the American Guild of Organists’ 2014 National Convention

Since 1896, the American Guild of Organists (AGO) has been promoting awareness and appreciation for organ and choral music and has fostered a thriving community of organists and choral singers throughout the U.S. The AGO National Convention, occurring every two years, is the centerpiece of the organization’s work, which requires four years of planning by a team of dedicated AGO members.

As part of his commitment to his craft, Ray Cornils has been an active member of the AGO since 1976 and has served in various leadership capacities, including being part of planning three AGO conventions:

  • 2014 AGO National Convention in Boston, MA – Convention Coordinator
  • 2001 AGO Region I Convention in Portland, ME– Steering Committee Member and Chair of the Performance Committee
  • 1990 AGO National Convention in Boston, MA – Steering Committee Member and Co-Chair of the Workshops Committee

As the Convention Coordinator in 2014, Mr. Cornils was selected by his colleagues to be responsible for the overall vision, direction, and leadership of the convention, which was based at Boston’s Copley Place. This included managing the AGO’s $1,000,000 convention budget, which was executed in such a way that the event turned a significant profit. Some highlights of this 5-day convention include:

  • Participation from 1,800 organists from around the world
  • Commissioning of 14 new works, which received world premieres at the event
  • Presentation of 51 concerts, utilizing 26 organs throughout the Boston metropolitan area.

And Mr. Cornils wore his Portland Municipal Organist hat throughout the 2014 convention. For an entire week, Kotzschmar Jr., our mobile demonstration organ, was part of a public awareness outreach effort in the center of Copley Place for all to see. Passersby were treated to lessons on the mechanics of the pipe organ and were invited to play. Mr. Cornils also led workshops about the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ’s in-school curricula programs, which he co-wrote.

On this experience, Mr. Cornils stated, “For me personally, it was rewarding to work with organists from throughout the nation and many of my colleagues from the Boston and New England area on this exhilarating effort, which highlighted the many aspects of our profession at its finest. It will live on in my memory as a hugely rewarding project.”