by Kari Miller Magg
I often hear people say that they would like to become more involved in the AGO. Over the years I have learned to smile sweetly and say: “That would be great!” while trying to stifle the snarky, taunting voice in my head that sneers: “Ha! I’ll believe that when I see it…”
It’s not really that I am so cynical about people following through on their intentions, or that I doubt the sincerity of those who say they want to be more in the swing of things. But all too often the con- versation described above is the only contact I might have with the person for years. I don’t see them at our chapter events, or other concerts, or anywhere at all. Even long- time members seem to choose
to stay home more often than to participate. It is totally understandable – we all feel so busy and the world and our lives seem to whirl by at such a breakneck pace; yet in spite of all that, maybe because of all that, I would urge you to make a greater effort. You have nothing to lose, (except an hour or two of your time, which you would have spent doing – what exactly?) and a lot to gain. I don’t think I have ever gone to a workshop or a concert of a colleague and come away without feeling like I have learned some- thing, discovered something new, or maybe just caught up with some old friends (or made a new one).
Perhaps you are new to the AGO, don’t know anyone and are genu- inely unsure how to get started. My advice is simple. Go to an event, any event. Get there a bit early and look around. Some people will be clustered in little chattering groups and others will be standing around looking clueless. Walk up to one of the clueless ones. Say hello and in- troduce yourself. If that seems too formal, ask a question about the organ, or comment on the church or the weather. If you are feeling perverse you can greet the person warmly, saying, “Nice to see you again!” and enjoy seeing the confused look that will come over their face. However you manage it, you will have made a good beginning, and hopefully the music will start before the conversation can veer into any dangerous territory.
The truth is, it is very easy to get involved in the AGO. You can attend and enjoy the events even if you are a shy wallflower. You can volunteer to help with an event or a project that interests you whether you are a deep thinker or a party animal. You can simply let us know that you might be willing to help out with a reception, write a concert review or serve on a task team. We don’t know these things unless you tell us. Maybe you play at a church that you think would be great for hosting an event in the future. Let us know. Maybe you have questions or concerns, or ideas you would like to share with us. Contact any board member. This organization belongs to all of us, and our mission statement, “to enrich lives through organ and choral music,” is broad and uncomplicated. Join in. Take part.