Epiphany Service of Hymns and Readings at St. John’s, Pekin on Sunday, January 11

by Martin Dicke on January 6, 2015

St. John's Lutheran Church, PekinYou are invited to an Epiphany Service of Hymns and Readings with prominent use of the newly renovated Hinners pipe organ. Featured organists will be some the Peoria AGO’s youngest members: Rachel Keehner, Nicholas Liese, and Samuel Bishop. The service will be held on Sunday, January 11 at 3:00 p.m.

St. John’s Lutheran Church
711 Court St.
Pekin, Illinois

Refreshments will be served following the program. Please join us to sing some great Epiphany hymns and support our young AGO members.

For a Pekin Times article the restoration of St. John’s organ, click here. For information on St. John’s Lutheran Church, click here.

Announcing the 2014-15 Peoria AGO Concert Artist Series

by Martin Dicke on November 14, 2014

We are very excited about the 2014-15 Concert Artist Series of the Peoria Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (see below for details). It begins with a concert by the Anima Young Singers of Greater Chicago (formerly the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus) at Trinity Lutheran Church in Peoria. We are also pleased to offer two more fabulous concerts this year featuring past and present winners of the American Guild of Organists’ National Youth Artists’ Competition in Organ Performance (NYACOP). Our March concert features Dr. Jonathan Rudy, winner of First Prize and Audience NYACOP Prize at the 2014 AGO National Convention. Our May concert will be held in conjunctioin with the Peoria Bach Festival 2015 and features our very own Dr. Matthew Dirst who grew up in Morton and won the NYACOP prize in 1990.

If you have not already done so, we hope that you will renew your membership in our chapter and/or become a patron. If you are so inclined, please contact us at agopeoria@gmail.com or by calling (309) 696-4797. We look forward to sharing another season of great music with you.

Dr. Martin Dicke, Dean
Peoria American Guild of Organists

Concert Artist Series 2014-15
Peoria Chapter of the American Guild of Organists


A Concert by Anima : Young Singers of Greater Chicago Saturday, November 15 – 8:00 p.m.
Anima (formerly the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus) – Emily Ellsworth, director


Anima – Young Singers of Greater Chicago

We are pleased to bring to Peoria Anima, one of the premier children’s choruses in the world also known as the Young Singers of Greater Chicago and formerly as the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus. We are especially honored to host them as this year they celebrate the 50th anniversary of their founding. Founded in 1964 by Barbara Born as a Park District program called the Glen Ellyn Children’s Theater Chorus, the choir quickly established strong ties with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus due to the professional level of its training. By the early 1970s it had expanded beyond its local membership to reach children from dozens of other Chicagoland communities. It grew to international prominence under the musical directorship of Dr. Doreen Rao. Anima is acknowledged as a pioneer in the field of performance-based music education, creating innovative concerts, commissioning new works, and demonstrating that young people are capable of extraordinary musicianship when given extraordinary leadership and vision. Emily Ellsworth accepted the artistic leadership of the Chorus in 1996 bringing with her over twenty years of vocal performance and teaching experience and a distinctive, warm, and spirited style. Anima continues to be a leader in the field having won several national awards. For more information, visit www.animasingers.org.

Please join us as we celebrate their 50th anniversary with them. The choir will also sing a few selections for the 10:45 a.m. worship service at Trinity on Sunday, November 16.

Trinity Lutheran Church
135 NE Randolph Ave. • Peoria, IL 61606 • (309) 696-4797
No Admission (a free-will offering will be taken)

The King of Instruments at the Cathedral Sunday, March 8 – 3:30 p.m.
Jonathan Rudy, organ

Jonathan Rudy

Jonathan Rudy

Jonathan Rudy, recognized by colleagues and audiences for excellence as a performer, church musician, improviser, educator, and conductor, is proud to serve God through music. A native of Batavia, Illinois, Jonathan’s recent concert appearances have included Cambridge MA, Columbus GA, Terre Haute IN, Kokomo IN, Bloomington IN, and Charlotte NC. These engagements included recitals, competitions, and dedicatory/commemorative events. Upcoming performances include Sacramento CA in July, as well as an appearance at the 2016 AGO National Convention in Houston TX.

Jonathan is a laureate of several performance competitions and most recently won First Prize and the Audience Prize at the American Guild of Organists 2014 National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance, the Guild’s premiere young organist competition. He was also a finalist in the National Organ Playing Competition in Fort Wayne, as well as the Second Prize Winner of the Regional Competition for Young Organists (Quimby Competition) in 2011. He received the Immanuel Organ Scholar Award in 2009 (Evanston, IL) in recognition of excellence in performance and sacred music, as well as high praise and prizes during competitions hosted in Detroit, Bloomington IN, Wheaton IL, and Glen Ellyn IL.

In addition to appearances as organist and church musician, Jonathan maintains a career as a conductor. He studies Choral Conducting at Indiana University with Dr. William Gray and Dr. Richard Tangyuk, and regularly leads choral and instrumental ensembles. He has served as conductor for the Valparaiso University Men’s Chorus, the AGO Bloomington Choralfest Ensemble, and the choral and instrumental ensembles at his church positions, amongst other leadership positions.

Jonathan keeps a rigorous academic schedule, currently pursuing his Doctorate degree in Organ and Sacred Music at Indiana University, where he also received his Masters Degree. There he studies organ with Janette Fishell, improvisation and sacred music with Bruce Neswick, and is pursuing minors in Music Theory and Choral Conducting. Jonathan completed his undergraduate degree at Valparaiso University, studying Organ and Sacred Music with Lorraine Brugh and Karel Paukert. While at Valparaiso, he was initiated into Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honors society, and received the Reidenbach Award in Church Music. In his early years he studied organ with Karl Bruhn and piano with his mother, Melinda J. Rudy.

Jonathan D. Rudy currently serves as the Organist of Central Presbyterian Church, Terre Haute (IN), and is an Associate Instructor of Music Theory and Aural Skills at Indiana University. He tutors students privately in Aural Skills, Music Theory, and Voice. Jonathan has served as Dean and Member-At-Large of the AGO Bloomington Chapter (Region V), and currently maintains an amateur recording studio.

Cathedral of St. Mary
607 NE Madison Ave. • Peoria, IL 61603 • (309) 682-5823
Admission: $12 Adults / $10 Senior Citizens / Children and Students free

Matthew Dirst Plays Bach Sunday, May 31 – 3:30 p.m.
Matthew Dirst, organ

Matthew Dirst

Matthew Dirst

Matthew Dirst returns to his Central Illinois roots in order to present this concert of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) in conjunction with the Peoria Bach Festival 2015. A native of Morton, Matthew is Professor of Music at the Moores School of Music, University of Houston, where he teaches courses in music history and performance practice. He is also Founder and Artistic Director of Ars Lyrica Houston, a Grammy-nominated ensemble that specializes in Baroque chamber and dramatic works (see www.arslyricahouston.org).

Matthew is the first American musician to win major international prizes in both organ and harpsichord, including first prize at the American Guild of Organists 1990 National Young Artist Competition in Organ Performance and second prize at the inaugural Warsaw International Harpsichord Competition (1993). Equally active as a performer and scholar, his publications on the music of Bach and its reception appear in the Journal of the American Musicological Society, Early Music, Notes: The Journal of the American Music Library Association, Music and Letters, Bach Perspectives, and Eighteenth-Century Studies. He is also the author of a recent book entitled Engaging Bach: The Keyboard Legacy from Marpurg to Mendelssohn (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Organized around the most productive ideas generated by Bach’s keyboard works from his own day to the middle of the nineteenth century, this study shows how Bach’s remarkable and long-lasting legacy took shape amid critical changes in European musical thought and practice. In the words of one prominent reviewer, it is “a compelling and readable survey, one marked by clarity, judgement and nuance” (Early Music, Feb 2013).

Widely admired for his stylish playing and conducting of Baroque music especially, Matthew was hailed by the Dallas Morning News for his “crisp but expressive direction” of the Monteverdi 1610 Vespers, which it named “Best Classical Performance of 2010.” Early Music America described his recent solo recording, of harpsichord works by François and Armand-Louis Couperin (Centaur), as a “stylish, tasteful, and technically commanding performance…expressive and brilliant playing.” Matthew’s recordings of music by Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti and J. A. Hasse with Ars Lyrica on the Naxos and Sono Luminus labels have earned a Grammy nomination for Best Opera 2011 and widespread critical acclaim.

Matthew’s academic degrees include a PhD in musicology from Stanford University, MM in organ and Master of Sacred Music degrees from Southern Methodist University, and a BM from the University of Illinois. A Fulbright scholar to France, he received the coveted prix de virtuosité in both organ and harpsichord with teachers Marie-Claire Alain and Huguette Dreyfus and did further harpsichord study with Alan Curtis at UC Berkeley. He also serves as Organist at St Philip Presbyterian Church in Houston.

Trinity Lutheran Church
135 NE Randolph Ave. • Peoria, IL 61606 • 309-696-4797
Admission: $12 Adults / $10 Senior Citizens / Children and Students free

Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas at Trinity on Saturday, June 14

by Martin Dicke on June 11, 2014

The Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas will present a concert at Trinity Lutheran Church, 135 NE Randolph Ave., Peoria. This free concert is offered jointly by the Trinity Concert Series (www.trinityconcertseries.org) and the Peoria Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. This choir is a world class ensemble and we very honored to have them visit Peoria.

Since their founding in 1982 by their current director, Wiliams Adams, the choir has grown from 45 initial members into five performing ensembles with about 200 choristers. Located in the Greater Houston area, members are selected from the local area by audition and enter the Training, Town, or Tour Choir. The Tour Choir has traveled to 23 states and gone on nine international tours. For their 30th anniversary tour in 2012, they brought their music to France with concerts performed in several regions including Normandy, the Loire Valley, the Dordogne, the Basque region and Paris. The Tour Choir consisting of 36 choristers is touring Illinois this coming summer by arrangement with Witte Travel & Tours of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Highlights over the past 30 years include: performances for three U.S. presidents; performances with many symphony orchestras; recipient of an Addy Award; and a nomination for a National Emmy.

The choir was organized to give boys with special musical abilities and interests an opportunity to perform more challenging choral literal from classical selections to folk music. The group combines the freshness and enthusiasm of childhood with artistic maturity, something that can only be achieved through serious work. Boyish energy is channeled into dedication to excel, team effort and hard work. For other children, the boys serve as models of purposeful work and high achievement. For adults, they are inspirational reminders of human possibilities.

For more information on the concert, please call (309) 676-4609.For information about the choir and to hear some samples of their singing, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSDjdWNluzU&app=desktop or visit their website at http://fbbctx.org/.

Please forward this message to your friends and neighbors. Hope to see you on Saturday evening.

Position Announcement for Choir Director – Grace and Peace Lutheran Church

by Martin Dicke on June 11, 2014

Grace and Peace Lutheran Church in Peoria announces an opening for a part-time choir director, beginning September 1, 2014. The position’s salary is based on working 10 hours per week September-May, and follows guidelines published by the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians.

Grace and Peace was formed in 1994 from the merger of Grace Lutheran Church and Peace Lutheran Church. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and uses Evangelical Lutheran Worship for most of the hymns and liturgy. Full-time staff includes the pastor and the director of evangelism. Part-time staff includes the church secretary, organist, choir director, and custodian. Regular Sunday services are at 9 a.m.

There is currently an adult choir, hand chime choir, and children’s choir. One of these groups performs during the service each week September-May, for special services such as Christmas Eve, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday, and once a month during the summer. There is also a global band which participates in worship approximately 12 Sundays a year by playing and singing music from Christian communities around the world.

The choir director is responsible for choosing appropriate music, organizing and directing rehearsals, and directing performances at church services. The choir director participates in the global band as a vocalist and/or instrumentalist. The choir director also selects and directs a children’s Christmas program. The choir director is responsible for scheduling special music for any Sunday through the year when one of the choirs or global band does not perform. The choir director is expected to attend monthly meetings of the Worship and Music Ministry, and semi-monthly staff meetings.

Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in music and past experience directing church choirs, or the equivalent in training and experience. Interested individuals should send a resume, with a cover letter describing the candidate’s relevant skills and interests, to:

Choir Director Search Committee
Grace and Peace Lutheran Church
7611 N. Knoxville Avenue
Peoria, IL 61614-2023

Application materials may also be emailed to admin@graceandpeacelutheran.org, or faxed to 309-693-8421. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. For additional information, please contact the church secretary at 309-693-8428.