About the AGO

The mission of the American Guild of Organists is to enrich lives through organ and choral music.
To achieve this, we:

  • American_Guild_of_Organists_(shield)Encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music;
  • Inspire, educate, and offer certification for organists and choral conductors;
  • Provide networking, fellowship, and mutual support;
  • Nurture future generations of organists;
  • Promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles; and
  • Engage wider audiences with organ and choral music.

The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. The Guild serves approximately 17,000 members in more than 300 chapters throughout the United States and abroad.

Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, the Guild seeks to set and maintain high musical standards and to promote understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music.

Under the leadership of the National Council, a network of volunteer committees and officials at the regional, district, and local levels directs the activities of the Guild. The AGO National Headquarters is in New York City where a full time staff supports and coordinates publication, administration, and development activities of the organization. For purposes of administration and representation, the Guild is divided into nine geographical regions, and each chapter is assigned to one of them.

The American Guild of Organists and the Associated Pipe Organ Builders of America (APOBA) share a mutually beneficial association, a collaboration that has existed since 1975. For several decades this relationship has been strengthened by financial contributions from APOBA and its members in support of the AGO and its Pipe Organ Encounters (POE) program. The AGO has responded with generous provisions for bringing news from APOBA and its members to the organ public.

The purposes of the American Guild of Organists are:

  • To advance the cause of organ and choral music, to increase their contributions to aesthetic and religious experiences, and to promote their understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment.
  • To improve the proficiency of organists and choral conductors.
  • To evaluate, by examination, attainments in organ playing, choral techniques, conducting, and the theory and general knowledge of music, and to grant certificates to those who pass such examinations at specified levels of attainment.
  • To provide members with opportunities to meet for discussion of professional topics, and to pursue such other activities as contribute to the fulfillment of the purposes of the Guild.

1 comment on “About the AGO”

  1. Lee

    I was the music director at First UMC in Lake Wales, FL, in 1986, the year the chcurh had installed what at the time was the second Frobenius organ in the US: a true tracker with 25 stops, that was built in Denmark, then deconstructed, shipped to the chcurh, and reconstructed in the sanctuary by two organ installers who lived in the mother-in-law apartment behind my manse. Carlo Curley was heavily involved in the negotiations that the chcurh had with the Frobenius people, even though at the time he was primarily performing on Allen electronic organs, and he not only played the organ at the opening service on May 18, but also performed a concert the same afternoon even though the organ blowers, it turned out, took so much electric power that the only way the organ could be played was if both sanctuary air conditioner units were shut off, leading to a packed but very muggy concert. He did come back later for another concert; I left the chcurh a year later when they downsized my position to part time, and that was when my college teaching career began. He was a boistrous man, a showman through and through, but he had the technique to match the image. I never saw him again for the last 26 years, but I will miss him. Jim Massey

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