I finally got a chance to sit down and read the December 2014 issue of The American Organist (also known as TAO) and a few names jumped out at me.
The first one which caught my eye was the picture of Barbara Adler, who is Treasurer/Councillor for Finance and Development. Many people don’t know how instrumental Barbara was in my move to Hawaii. She was formerly the organ teacher at the University of Hawaii, and Dean of the Hawaii Chapter American Guild of Organists. I met her in the winter of 1972 when I visited Hawaii, and she came to visit me in Princeton, NJ a couple of months later, where I was attending graduate school at Westminster Choir College. In 1974 Barbara moved to the Big Island, where she arranged for me to play a concert at Holy Apostles Church and I stayed in her home.
Since then, Barbara has moved to cities all over the mainland and I’ve visited her homes in California and Florida. I’ve also seen her at AGO conventions throughout the years. In fact we had lunch with her and my former student, Joey Fala, at the Boston AGO convention this past summer. I would call us “Friends for Life” and just now finished a phone conversation with her. In TAO, Barbara signed the report on the AGO Donors for the last fiscal year. That reminds me, I’d better send my donation in!
The next name that I recognized was that of Ken Cowan, who was named organist and artist-in-residence at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, TX in addition to his duties as associate professor of organ at Rice University. You may remember that it was his recital in Honolulu a couple of years ago at St. Andrew’s Cathedral which kicked off the John McCreary Concert Fund for the Hawaii AGO. And who could forget Governor Neil Abercrombie sitting in the front row and jumping up to announce that he would donate $500 to the fund?!
And just on the next page was the picture of Yuri McCoy, whose wedding I attended at St. Andrew’s Cathedral (“The union of musical minds”) where he was the Organ Scholar under John Renke. Yuri also performed Arnold Schoenberg’s Variations on a Recitative for the Hawaii AGO chapter. He was recently named associate organist at the same church as Ken Cowan and is a doctoral student of his at Rice University. According to the article, he will share the organ playing responsibilities at the church. Yuri graduated from the University of Hawaii with a master’s degree in piano, then moved to Houston. He was formerly music director and organist at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Angleton, TX since 2012.
Lastly in the obituary section of the magazine, there was a picture and article about Raleigh McVicker. To tell you the truth, I’ve never met nor seen his picture anywhere. But Carl Crosier always listed him as his organ teacher in Bremerton, WA where McVicker died at the age of 82 on August 9th. McVicker received his undergraduate degree in music from Lewis and Clark College and his master’s degree from Eastman where he studied with David Craighead. According to the article, he was the organist of Summit Avenue Presbyterian Church for more than 40 years and was instrumental in getting a new pipe organ for the church in the early 1960s. Too bad this obituary only came out now, because I’m sure that Carl would have liked to have read all this about his former teacher. (Carl died August 28th).