Music

The American Guild Of Organists Returns To Houston

An interview with Rhonda Furr about the upcoming American Guild of Organists Convention in Houston

The Baptismal Font at Christ the King Lutheran Church with organ in the background. One of the venues for the convention.
The Baptismal Font at Christ the King Lutheran Church with organ in the background. One of the venues for the convention.

It’s been 28 years since the American Guild of Organists held their biennial convention in Houston, and now they’ve returned en force! With an army of volunteers, international guest artists, and local performers from around Houston, the Guild is set to make a big mark, and in the words of Convention Coordinator Rhonda Furr, “We think this great arts event is going to bring wonderful attention to our great city here. We’re excited in not only sharing Houston with the wider global world, but with our local friends and neighbors as well.”

The convention will consist of numerous workshops for attendees throughout the week, as well as performances, competitions, and even worship services. “We wanted to show the organ in the variety of roles that is plays… so often times people think of the organ as something that’s kind of outdated or only [for] heavy art music and they don’t realize the many roles that the organ functions in,” says Furr, explaining the need for different types of performances for the instrument. Among those events will be a recital with organ and viola, the Davidsson Organ and Dance Collaborative, and a film screening of old Charlie Chaplin movies with organ accompaniment (just like they would have been performed in the early days of film).

Local artists include the likes of Ken Cowan, Ars Lyrica, Houston Chamber Choir and others. Just as well, AGO has also commissioned several new works specifically for the convention, from names like Joan Tower, Eric Ewazen, and Houston’s own David Ashley White.

Worship services as part of the event will be held at several churches in the city such as Palmer Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, and others. All venues for performances and worship services, as well as dates and times can be found at the conference website.

Hear Joshua Zinn’s interview with Rhonda Furr about the upcoming American Guild of Organists Convention in Houston here.

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