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403 South Jefferson Ave.
Saginaw, MI 48607



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Egler to Perform Kent S. Dennis Memorial Organ Recital - November 11

Dr. Steven Egler, professor of organ at Central Michigan University and Artist in Residence at the First Congregational Church in Saginaw, will perform the annual Kent S. Dennis Memorial Organ Recital at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 11, 2012, at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1310 Ashman Street, Midland, Michigan. This special event is free and open to public.

Egler will present works by Franck, Locklair, Near, and Ore among others in this recital offered in memory of Dr. Kent S. Dennis, who served for forty-seven years as MPC’s resident organist.  Music will be performed on the church’s recently installed Létourneau organ, built in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec. 

Sponsored by the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, First Congregational Church of Saginaw, and the Memorial Presbyterian Church of Midland, this event is free and open to the public; however, guests are asked to make a free-will offering to benefit the Kent S. Dennis Memorial Scholarship, which encourages and enriches the musical education of present and future church or synagogue organists in the region.

Steven L. Egler, professor of organ, Central Michigan University, holds the bachelor of music, master of music, and doctor of musical arts degrees in organ performance from The University of Michigan, where he studied organ with Robert Glasgow and harpsichord with Edward Parmentier. Additional study has been with Lillian McCord, Catharine Crozier, Charles W. Ore, Quentin Faulkner, and George Ritchie. He has appeared as a soloist, collaborative musician, and clinician throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Norway, and France, and he has performed as a member of the Shelly-Egler Flute and Organ Duo for over thirty-five years. His performances have been featured several times on Pipedreams, and he has performed and given workshops for eight regional and national conventions of The American Guild of Organists and the National Flute Association. He has also taught in six Pipe Organ Encounters sponsored by the A.G.O., and he has adjudicated various organ competitions, including the prestigious National Organ Competition in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Many of his current and former students hold major church and college teaching positions throughout the U.S., and Egler has been honored by his colleagues five times with the Professor Merit Award for his teaching, creative endeavors, and scholarly work. He has been involved with the A.G.O. in many official capacities, including the National Council on which he served as Councillor for Region V and the National Nominating Committee on which he is currently serving as Director. The Shelly-Egler Duo’s CD, The Dove Descending, is available from Summit Records, and Dr. Egler’s first solo CD, When In Our Music God is Glorified, was recorded in 1999 by Prestant Records on the 1997 Casavant organ, Opus 3756, at Central Michigan University. This CD is available from The Organ Historical Society. Dr. Egler’s collaboration with the late Dr. Paul Willwerth, professor of trumpet emeritus at Central Michigan University, resulted in two CD’s: Music for Trumpet and Organ (a remastering of an earlier LP recording) and Ecclesiastical Music for Trumpet and Organ (compositions by Dr. Willwerth). His most recent CD, The Organ Works of Gerald Near, was recorded by White Pine Music and is available from MorningStar Music. An active church musician, Egler has served several churches in Illinois and Michigan for over forty-five years.  He is presently Artist in Residence at historic First Congregational Church in downtown Saginaw.

Kent S. Dennis was born June 25, 1928, to William and Mabel Dennis in Donora, Pennsylvania. A scientist, Dr. Dennis earned a BS degree in chemistry from Grove City College, where he graduated summa cum laude.  He received MS and PhD degrees from Cleveland's Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve). In 1954 he began a position at the Dow Chemical Co. in Midland before being drafted into the U.S. Army for two years. He retired from Dow in 1986 after 32 years as a senior research associate. Dr. Dennis was organist at The Bertha E. R. Strosacker Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland for 47 years, and was named organist emeritus in 2003. He played for more than 700 weddings and performed annual organ recitals for 46 years; he also taught many organ students. His community involvement included frequent leadership terms for the Saginaw Valley Chapter AGO, which he served three times as dean. He also served on the board of managers of the Midland Center for the Arts and as president of the Midland Symphony Orchestra. In 1987 the Music Society and Midland Symphony Orchestra honored him with the Musician of the Year award. In 1997 he received the Grove City College Alumni Achievement Award.

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.  In existence for several decades, the Saginaw Valley Chapter consists of members and chapter friends located several Michigan counties.  For more information about the Saginaw Valley Chapter or the Kent S. Dennis Memorial Scholarship, please Mr. Nicholas Schmelter [n.schmelter.fccsaginaw@gmail.com], Chair, Kent S. Dennis Memorial Scholarship Committee, c/o First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson Ave., Saginaw, Michigan 48607.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Alumnus Recital

Nicholas Schmelter performed an alumnus harmonium recital in the lobby of Central Michigan University’s School of Music on September 16 with the assistance of oboist Beverly Westervelt.  The photograph is courtesy of Kenneth Wuepper.

Powell Birthday Celebration Offers Musical Memories

During the weekend of October 13-14, the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists celebrated the 80th birthday of composer Robert J. Powell in two different concerts with the collaborative sponsorship of the Friends of Music of First Congregational Church, Saginaw, and the Friends of Music of Trinity Episcopal Church, Bay City. Chamber works were featured in the 10/13 program performed by soprano Rayechel Neiman and flautist Katie Welnetz. Nicholas Schmelter accompanied the soloists. Choral and organ music was showcased in the 10/14 program. The chamber choir Exultate Deo, conducted by Robert Sabourin, and organists Nicholas Schmelter and Steven Egler performed. They were joined by guest flute players Robert Hart and Lauren Rongo. Robert Powell was present for both performances and took part in a recorded interview, facilitated by Steven Egler and Kenneth Wuepper. Photos of the weekend’s events are courtesy of Robert Barker, Northern Imager Photography.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Powell to Arrive in Region on October 12

The Friends of Music of Bay City’s Trinity Episcopal Church, the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and the Friends of Music of Saginaw’s First Congregational Church, Saginaw, will combine to celebrate the 80th birthday of composer Robert J. Powell in two different music concerts. Now living in South Carolina, Powell is a renowned American composer, organist, and church musician.
Chamber works will be featured on Saturday, October 13, 2012, in a 5:00 p.m. program at First Congregational Church, 403 S. Jefferson Ave., Saginaw. Soprano, Rayechel Neiman from Bay City will perform excerpt from the cycle Songs from the Psalms.  Toronto flautist Katie Welnetz will be joined by Nicholas Schmelter in other compositions by Powell.
Choral and organ music will be showcased at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 14, 2012, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 815 N. Grant St., in downtown Bay City. The chamber choir Exultate Deo and organists Nicholas Schmelter and Steven Egler will perform. Egler will play Powell’s four-movement “Sonata” for organ.  Exultate Deo will perform three Psalm settings, “It is Good to Give Thanks,” “Cast Me Not Away,” and “Sing to the Lord with Thanksgiving.” The women of Exultate Deo will be featured in two settings commissioned by the Battle Creek Boys Choir, “Peace between Neighbors” and Bless to Me, O God.” Other repertoire will include the composer’s cantata “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” for choir, organ and two flutes. Robert Hart of Midland and Lauren Rongo of Essexville will be the flute players.
The composer will be present for both performances and take part in a recorded interview, facilitated by Steven Egler and Kenneth Wuepper, that will be distributed nationally. Both historic churches offer barrier free access on the west side of each building. The program is open to the public free of charge. A reception will be held following the concert. For more information please contact Trinity Church, 989-892-5813, or First Congregational Church, 989-754-6565.