A Recap of the Annual Dinner and Meeting

A Recap of the Annual Dinner and Meeting

By Meg Smith

Chapter members and friends gathered on Tuesday, May 21 at the Pond House in West Hartford to share a meal, review the activities of the last year, vote in new board members, and otherwise enjoy each other’s company as church and school and synagogue duties begin to wane for the summer and provide some moment of relaxation.

We were joined together with words of thanks for food, fellowship, and planning offered by the Rev. Benjamin Straley who touched on the themes for our time together wonderfully. This reviewer is particularly grateful that these words were inclusive, rather than sectarian. The dinner was delicious enough that a brief wait for the buffet line went totally unnoticed.

Dean Peter Niedmann called us from the joys of eating and conversation to the business at hand. He reminded us of the many good programs, concerts, and workshops that took place this past 2018-2019 season. Secretary Noah Smithaddressed the review of last year’s minutes and the proposed slate of officers and we passed those with efficiency, dispatch and humor. As of July 1, 2019, our Executive Board will include: Vaughn Mauren, Dean; Benjamin Straley, Sub-Dean; Noah Smith, Secretary; Bob Bausmith, Treasurer; and Members-at-Large Susan Carroll (2020), Scott Lamlein (2021) and Michelle Horsley (2022). The devoted work of our webmaster Ally Barone and several other supporting members were acknowledged, as was the term of Alan MacMillan, retiring as a member-at-large.

Our treasurer, Bob Bausmith, reviewed this past year’s actual spending, which came in just under budget. He explained the proposed budget for the upcoming year, which is showing a potential deficit of $22,000 due to an ambitious programming event plus the expansion of the private organ study scholarship program. The additional expenses will be covered by investments. David Mangs, our investment advisor, was quite happy to report that our portfolio is doing well. As of May 9, 2019, the portfolio was worth $986,116.16.

Peter Niedmann then returned to comment on the completion of his term as Dean, which was a privilege for him and a job made easier by everyone on the board and committees. He acknowledged Joanne Coghill’s presence and the tremendous loss of our longtime member John Coghill this past year. John had a larger-than-life personality and his absence at a meeting that he would have been in the middle of planning was keenly felt. Mike Foley delivered a written report submitted by Gabriel Löfvall, committee chair of the Jolidon Sub-Committee, who could not be present. Gabriel reported that the members of the committee are enjoying their job tremendously and all have decided to remain aboard. Their job is to assist the Chapter Board in expending the funds available to us. (See separate article for a list of grant recipients.)

Peter wrapped up his comments by giving special awards to Edward Clark and Joan Pritchard who are retiring as co-editors of the newsletter, a job they have done for 29 years. They each received a large, diamond-like crystal with the AGO logo engraved on it.

Vaughn Mauren, who will be our new Dean on July 1st, gave us a preview of next year’s programs. The most expensive and arguably the most exciting program is the first one – a joint production with the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival. The opening concert will feature the Hartford Symphony Orchestra with Carolyn Kuan, conductor, and Christopher Houlihan as the organ soloist in works by Joseph Jongen and C.M. Widor. They will perform twice – Friday, Sept. 27 and Sunday, Sept. 29. Tickets are available now at www.hartfordsymphony.org. (Discount ticket code ASOF2019 takes $5 off the $30 general admission tickets; this code is for use by chapter members only.) The year continues with Pipescreams at St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford (Friday, Oct. 25). The annual young artist recital will feature Aaron Tan at Church of Christ, Cong. in Newington (Sunday, Nov. 10). Jeremy Filsell will be presented in recital at St. James’s in West Hartford (Friday, Oct. 25). Piping Hot: From Piano to Organ, a daylong workshop for pianists, will take place at the First Church of Christ in Farmington (Sat., Feb. 8). Simon Johnsonfrom St. Paul’s in London will play at St. John’s in West Hartford (Friday, Feb. 21). Chelsea Chen will appear at Trinity College Chapel (Friday, March 27). And the Annual Meeting will feature a dinner cruise on the Lady Katherine departing from Middletown at 6 pm, Tuesday, May 19. Be sure to put that one on your calendar!

In other remarks, Meg Smith from the Nominating Committee offered her gratitude to all of those who have served on the hospitality committee last year and those who agreed to step up this year. It is an important and not inconsiderable job.

By the end of the meeting, everyone had enjoyed their dessert of chocolate cake, a vast improvement over the hardshell fruit tarts that flummoxed everyone last year. The time of adjournment was not noted by this writer, but it came at the right point in the evening. Several people happily lingered a bit to look through old scrapbooks from the chapter archives and to milk the last few moments of a lovely time together