Music by local composers to be featured at organ concert gala, progressive dinner | Nvdaily

The Winchester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will showcase three concerts of local composers and their compositions that feature organ music, voice and choir.

The fourth Progressive Dinner and Concert Gala will be held from 6 to 9:30 p.m. May 12 at three churches in downtown Winchester.

The first 30-minute concert will take place at Market Street United Methodist Church. Attendees will then move to nearby First Presbyterian Church, where a Sodexo-catered meal will be served, followed by another 30-minute concert. Dinner will consist of roasted herb chicken with pesto and roasted sun-dried tomatoes. A vegetarian entrée of curried tofu and couscous will also be offered upon request. The third and final concert will be held at Braddock Street United Methodist Church. Homemade desserts will be served after the music.

“It’s an opportunity for people in the community who want something different to have fun,” said Linda Beville, dean of the Winchester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, or WAGO. “It’s a collection of talent you don’t often see at one time.”

The theme of the event is “Honoring Composers Past and Present.” The three concerts consist of 26 pieces by 17 composers who live in Winchester and the surrounding region. Some of the pieces are arrangements of favorite hymns, including old American folk songs from the Sacred Harp era, and one piece is a new hymn. A 30-member choir will perform choral pieces.

The event features music by Will Averitt, Vicky Edwards, Daniel Gawthrop, Daniel Hannemann, Vernon Joyner, K. Bryan Kirk, James Laster, Jim Moon, Alan Moser, Jean Pasquet, Marilyn Shenenberger, Terry Sisk, Georgiann Toole, Wayne Wold, Jack Martin, Chuck Seipp and John Romano. 

This is the first time that local composer Jack Martin’s organ piece, “Variations on ‘When in our Music God is Glorified,’” will be performed.

“I was blown away by the complexity, diversity and creativity of this list of composers around the Winchester area,” Beville said. “It’s a really rich, rich program with complex and beautiful music.”

Each concert will have its own program. Before each piece, Marilyn Shenenberger, chairwoman of the Program Committee for the WAGO, will tell the audience a little bit about the piece and its composer.

All three church organs have three manuals, or musical keyboards.

Market Street United Methodist currently has a Möller organ, which was installed in 1935. Some of the organ was destroyed in a fire in 1981 but was later rebuilt. First Presbyterian has an Austin organ, installed in 1957 with 2,231 pipes. Braddock Street has a Letourneau organ, installed in 2012 and completed in 2014 with 2,332 pipes.

“These are three spectacular organs,” Shenenberger said. “All three are impressive in their own right.”

The cost to attend the event is $50, which covers the dinner and a $20 tax-deductible donation to the Winchester AGO scholarship fund. To purchase tickets, visit and type in the event’s name. 

The deadline to buy tickets is May 5.

The Winchester AGO is a nonprofit organization that consists of about 40 active members from around the area, including east to Leesburg and south to Shenandoah County. Members meet throughout the year and hold two benefit programs a year. This past December, the organization held its sixth free Christmas recital, where donations went to Winchester Rescue Mission and the Winchester Area Temporary Transitional Shelter (WATTS). Over the past six years, the local guild has raised more than $5,000 for these two organizations.

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