There has been a lot of talk in our chapter about our bequest from Marge Jolidan- and rightfully so, since we are one of very few AGO chapters to have such a great resource at our command with no strings attached. As money often does, it creates many questions for us to answer: now that we can do almost anything we want, what is it that we should be doing? Our mission to promote the organ and its music could be interpreted in so many ways, and sometimes the most meaningful things we can do really don’t involve money at all (or very little).
The board is working on setting up a fair and deliberate process for deciding how best to use what we have been given. Every member will have a chance to put forward ideas, and everyone’s ideas will be considered equally. However, since I happen to be the dean at the moment I’m going to make a few sug- gestions of my own: after all there has to be some benefit to writing all these Chattervox articles!
First of all, I think that the money should go to something which is highly visible. We could present some wonderful concerts, but often our attendance is so small that even a fantastic performance has less impact than it should. It’s good that the chapter looks after the needs of its members, but this is not promoting the organ. I think we should not simply support pro- grams that already exist: we need to do something that is new and uniquely us. To me, the more wild the idea, the better. One thought I had (though not the most practical I admit) is to build an organ out of soda cans and put it in the mall- it seems that with something like this we wouldn’t have to advertise. It would be novel enough that the advertising would take care of itself. Another thought is a silent film accompaniment competition: such a thing has never happened before anywhere and might actually at- tract an audience. AGO conventions seem to be something that generates great excitement in a chapter: perhaps some sort of a festival could include many ideas at once. It’s fun to dream, and no doubt I’ll have to control my imagination (don’t worry- the board is actually mostly made up of sensible people). The most important point I want to make is this: while we want to be slow and deliberate while deciding how best to use this money, we shouldn’t be cautious with our ideas. We should be willing to try a few wild things. After all, don’t organists just want to have fun?