The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. (www.agohq.org ) The Guild serves approximately approximately 15,000 members in 300 chapters throughout the United States, of which this chapter is one, and in Europe, Finland, Barbados, Nairobi, Shanghai, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, the Guild seeks to set and maintain high musical standards and to promote understand and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music.
The purposes of the American Guild of Organists are:
- To advance the cause of organ and choral music, to increase their contributions to aesthetic and religious experiences, and to promote their understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment.
- To improve the proficiency of organists and choral conductors.
- To evaluate, by examination, attainments in organ playing, choral techniques, conducting, and the theory and general knowledge of music, and to grant certificates to those who pass such examinations at specified levels of attainment.
- To provide members with opportunities to meet for discussion of professional topics, and to pursue such other activities as contribute to the fulfillment of the purposes of the Guild.
Guild-sponsored activities include a series of examinations for professional certification as well as programs and an extensive list of publications, audio cassettes and learning resources for all levels of interest. The Guild sponsors competitions in organ performance and improvisation and in organ and choral composition. National and regional conventions held in alternate years, present the finest performers. The American Organist magazine, published monthly by the AGO, is the most widely read journal devoted to organ and choral music in the world.