AGO dropping its role as defending unjustly fired members and intervening with parishes.
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,604
    My comments about this deleted since much of what appears below has nothing to do with the discussion title.

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  • Now that's a big surprise....(it wasn't working) hmmm, perhaps because more than half the musicians won't even join the AGO.... let alone NPM, or any of the other organizations. It's a shame really, but no one takes joining things like that, serious. If all musicians stuck together, and wouldn't act like scabs like old Eastern Airlines wannabe pilots/mechanics, it could have effectively worked.

    Those churches on the black list, would quite simply get some poor starving musician, or some aunt bea or uncle bill, to volunteer their time, and cut the highly skilled and trained musician spot.

    I'm not even sure what is left in wanting to be a part of the AGO,,, can anyone pipe in and explain that to me? The salary guide for the most part, is so out of touch with Catholic Church positions, most of them would laugh if you asked for those #'s based on your degrees,,,, no backing when you get unjustly terminated gone,,,, what's left?? a magazine, and a few dinners with the others, whom you probably already have on facebook... (sighs)
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  • ryandryand
    Posts: 1,640

    I was contemplating joining the AGO but now they seem as obsolete as musician's unions.

    I guess it's every man for himself now.
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  • Still, being FAGO, or CAGO, etc. (which I'm not) does have and convey a deservedly respectable repute as to competence and scholarship in organ, choral, and liturgical disciplines. The FAGO, in particular, is often looked upon as the equivalent of a doctorate. The sad part of this is that the average Catholic church is not looking for those things.

    I am guessing that the matter above was not working becuase most of the churches involved were making themselves immune to any perceived stigma from the AGO. And/or that many musicians were (as they say in the world of trade unions) 'scabs'.

    The AGO remains the premier church musician's society in this country, with a far more sane focus on real church music than the NPM, and a wider array of quality church music that the CMMA. True, its journal, The American Organist, is about the least scholarly, least interesting, and least beautiful of its kind (it doesn't hold a candle, for instance, to Choir and Organ), but otherwise, we can only wish that there was a flesh and blood Catholic version of the AGO.

    Too, there remain many advantages, ESPECIALLY for Catholics, of membership in the AGO. - 1)Exposure to much music of Catholic heritage - 2)exposure at conventions and chapter events to what REAL choirs sound like when singing Catholic music that is never heard in Catholic Churches - 3) Interaction with fellow choirmasters and organists from Anglican and other churches who really know and can teach what Catholic music sounds like at liturgical celebrations. - 4) Growth by observance of the outstanding musicianship and devoutedness of Anglican and other choirs and their choirmasters and organists. If this isn't the proverbial 'eye opener', then one is probably musically blind... or hopelessly insular!
  • Why does this turn of events NOT surprise me! With the vast majority of people, both lay and cleric in many denomination, ill informed and uneducated about sacred music (traditional and or otherwise), when so many people are lacking in moral and ethical integrity, (not to mention true Christian spirituality with a deep, serious and real prayer life), when the state of souls in many levels of leadership is found wanting, what can a devout and sincerely reputable church musician of quality and scholarship do.

    I realize that my message might sound harsh, negative and judgmental, but it is time for many (especially in areas of scholarship), to wake up and realize these obvious facts. If you are a Bible believing Christian, then you should already know that as we grow closer to His coming, it will be more and more like it was in the days of Noah - right?

    Good news is this, we have a Savior - Jesus - and we can pray and do everything we can within our sphere of influence to be light and salt in sacred music and in the leadership of music programs and the people called to minister therein unto our charge. Yes, we will experience all manner of ills within the church and without. However, BE NOT AFRAID! God is with us and all things work to good for those who love Him.

    PRAY, lead by example, PRAY, guard our tongues, PRAY, make out souls and hearts in line with God, and be like saint Thomas More - be a good and faithful servant in whatever lot of life you find yourself. And if your days of earthly trails and execution comes (as they will), - be God's faithful, true and loyal servant first above all things and everyone.

    With love in our hearts for God and each other, let us help one another in whatever capacity we find ourselves to be.

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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    I still belong to AGO. Why, I sometimes wonder. Maybe it's just force of habit. Locally, it offers barely edible monthly dinners at local churches, followed by recitals of ugly music on unpleasant instruments. From time to time, there is a lecture on something as interesting as the history of mud. In this Protestant area, the chapter is dominated by Presbyterians. Catholics are more of a curiosity than anything. Attending meetings means seeing the same tired, old people every month. Other than students who join because their teachers are members, there isn't much in the way of "new blood" in the local organization. It's probably been years since anyone in the outfit had anything resembling a new idea. I don't know what the answer would be, since the local chapter is unreformable with its current leadership.
  • When I moved to the Boston area as a student over forty years ago the Boston chapter of the AGO was the largest and most active in the nation. For an organist just starting out, and hoping to find a niche in church employment, membership in the AGO was essential. Though music at the Catholic parish level in the Boston area rarely aligns with AGO values, there are many organs of historic and musical distinction housed in Catholic buildings and many AGO sponsored events therefore continue to take place in them. (It should also be noted that Theodore Marier was the first in a line of Catholic Boston chapter deans.)

    Because there are so many wonderful local organists and prominent organ builders, the Boston chapter continues to survive, but its influence and membership are greatly diminished. The first sign of trouble might have been the decision a few years ago by the New England Conservatory to drop the organ as a performance major. Having fewer organ students in the city meant that AGO membership would not automatically self-renew. Another factor was the gradual inclusion of praise music in suburban mainline Protestant worship, a style uncongenial with traditional organ culture.

    Some might also point to a loss of credibility in the AGO advocacy of pipe organs when the organization at some point became dependent on advertising from electronic organ firms. There have also been unexpected changes in parish thinking that have weakened this pipes-are-better stance; it is difficult to argue that pipe organs are cheaper as a long term investment when in an era of massive church closings parishes have legitimate doubts as to whether they will even exist in the future.

    Though I am in agreement with Mr. Osborn’s assessment of the value of the AGO, it saddens me that the organization has lost its standing in the day to day operations of church music.
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  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    I still agree as to the great value of the AGO. The professional development, networking, and support for recitals are invaluable.

    I'm not sure about how valuable the "union" aspect ever was. Churches didn't exactly go without if the AGO blacklists them. It's much more valuable to simply use word of mouth about abusive jobs - and that's where networking pays off!
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  • I completely agree with all of you, I believe the AGO was and in some parts of the US, a great force, but the reality is, it has dwindled. As CharlesW suggested, you go to churches with mediocre at best meals, see the same ole people, listen to the same ole gossip,,,, on and on. I always thought of the AGO as a great organization as I was growing up, and my organ professors encouraged me to join. The unfortunate problem with the AGO is this, we can't get all professional, high calibre musicians either aspiring or already there, to join, and stick together.

    I do agree with MJO, that the CAGO, and FAGO certifications do hold a great value, and have brought about great musicians, such as Frogman Noel, and a few others on here. Really it almost seems like the last of the mohicans.... Many organ departments at major universities are sitting vacant or very low in student ratios, to the point that they are getting rid of those departments. There seems to be less and less of an interest in becoming an organist.

    As Randolph suggests, as the AGO has heavily embarked on promoting electronic instruments, and adding praise and worship to churches period, has had a lasting effect on breeding better organists. As a young organist, I even realized that jumping on an old Allen 301, or Rodgers analog, wasn't very exciting, and hardly fit the bill. Yes, I know not every church can afford a pipe organ, but too many churches that are built to house beautiful pipe organs, just have an old clunker of an electronic, with less than inspiring sounds and acoustics. What would make a young person interested in playing that???

    Put the prestige back into Pipe organs, take out the Praise & Worship, stick together as musicians, encourage exciting repertoire and good teachers,,,, and we might see a turn around with future organ students, AGO members, and future sacred musicians.
  • David AndrewDavid Andrew
    Posts: 1,200
    Two things:

    1) National dues help fund, among other things, advocacy for same-sex partner benefits. As this promotes a lifestyle contrary to Catholic Teaching, I could not in good conscience continue my membership.

    2) When my back was against the wall in a previous job situation, and it was clear that I had been treated unprofessionally and unethically, I contacted the National HQ for help. They pointed me in the direction of an attorney they consult for their grievance process. He told me point-blank that there was nothing he or the Guild could do in my situation, even though he said it was clear that there were serious violations of professional ethics on the part of the clergy and staff. In fact, he told me (and this was back in 2009) that the Guild's grievance process was pretty much toothless and a waste of time, and that rarely did the Guild pursue grievance procedures. So even way back then their grievance program was on the skids.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.
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  • @David Andrew, wow, I was not aware of # 1..... hmm..... Thanks for pointing that one out.

    I am sorry to hear about # 2. I have been in a similiar situation once, and never even bothered to call the AGO..... I did as Gavin suggested, I networked what happened, why, and since I left, they haven't had another qualified organist come in to that church. It is disappointing, as we all go into a job with the best intentions, and sometimes coming out feeling very burned.

    Thanks for letting us know about that interesting tidbit. Surely that is contrary to Catholic teaching. I am disappointed.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    I find it interesting that you take exception to them promoting same sex BENEFITS. We're not talking about same sex MARRIAGE, but rather, healthcare, insurance, etc.

    Is it REALLY against Catholic teaching to argue for same sex BENEFITS?

    I'd almost suggest that it is the AGO doing the Catholic thing.
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  • I don't believe the AGO, CMAA, or any other organization for that matter, should be making political agendas a part of the organization that includes many different and strong opinions, most especially as it has members across both lines. Also, if the organization represents itself inside of the Catholic Church, yet supports ideas that are not supported by the Church, than yes, I would say it has no place to be within the greater organization that serves many. When you refer to same sex benefits, it is still representing ideas that are not in conformity to the teachings of the church. It should have no place in an organization such as the AGO, NPM, CMAA, or any other organization that represents itself openly within the Church. That's where I would take concern. I could care less about getting into a political debate about it, other than to say, an organization that accepts dues and monies from the people, should maintain it's neutral status within. Nothing else. I think we need not make this into a straight vs. homosexual discussion, as that really would have no place here either.
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  • francis
    Posts: 10,476

    Yes... it is REALLY against the faith to support it.
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    We are asked each year to sign a code of ethics. RULE 6. Members shall not discriminate against others on the basis of race, national origin, age, religious affiliation, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or medical
    condition (including, but not limited to, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

    I never sign the thing because the Catholic Church does make distinctions based on sexual orientation, even considering it cause for scandal to others. AGO takes my money anyway. That's all they really care about.
  • The overall issue I would take, with what David Andrew informed us, is that monies from the AGO are going to support issues that are in contrast to our faith as Roman Catholics. An organization as such, should maintain neutrality in situations as such, most especially because they advertise and do business within the Roman Catholic Church, and because the teachings and faith clearly state that it is not in support of such things. I understand there are others of other denominations that have a more lax or pro-attitude towards supporting issues like that,,, even in the Episcopal Church, but it really has no place to be fought or decided in the AGO, much less supported by an institution that has chosen to serve various denominations.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,476
    Insofar as same-sex benefits condone homosexual partnerships and promote a political agenda that supports structures of sin, yes, it's really wrong to lobby for them.
  • And how does that not also apply to a diocese that permits sexually-active homosexual priests to continue to offer Mass and informs the priest that brings this to their attention to ignore it?

    At least one diocese has faithful catholics tithing not to the church but to the poor because of this.

    The AGO does not serve churches. It serves organists, it's a guild.
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  • You are correct, it serves organists, that serve in particular churches. It also utilizes churches in it's recitals, as well as other events. So... that being said, it still advertises itself and is very much integrated within the Catholic Church, via the organists that it "serves". It offers itself to Catholic organists, knowing that the beliefs that Catholic organists have. It may not serve directly to the church, but has an indirect involvement. As for the sins of a particular diocese, that is of no concern to me. If they are not practicing full Catholicism and following it's teaching, than that is something that the Holy See has to deal with, and should attend to, but as a faithful Roman Catholic organist, if I am buying a product of membership or having one advertised to me, I would appreciate full disclosure of it's dealings, especially if it is promoting something in contrast to the Church's teachings.
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    One must act in accord with one's conscience.

    For my part, I don't like generally apolitical organizations using members' money to engage in political agitation. But most of my relatives also work in the auto industry, and give a heck of a lot more than $45/year to their own union, which funds a massive propaganda arm and lobbying machine. I'm not so worried about my $45/year. I probably spend more than that on coffee-house products, which probably goes to worse causes.

    My only boycott is that I will not shop at Walmart, as I once got a mis-labeled set of Christmas tree lights from them. Never forget.
  • Hmm, last time I checked the AGO dues were $97.00 for a voting membership with chapter affiliation. I think at almost $100.00 a year, I would be a little more concerned where my money was going to. Not only that, but if you maintain that you wish to clean up the liturgy with all it's defects, yet would have no problem supporting something that promotes ideas in contrast to the Church's teachings.... Uhh I would find trouble with that line of thinking.

    "I'm not so worried about my $45/year."

    It's lax attitudes like that, that have allowed our nation to lose prayer in schools, manger scenes displayed at Christmas, and the continual degredation of our country's values, prayerful elements removed from everywhere in our nation. Than we wonder,, uhh why we don't have this and that freedom...... Just go back to sleep and let people who fight for Christian and Catholic values, keep working to maintain those freedoms.
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  • Heath
    Posts: 918
    "My only boycott is that I will not shop at Walmart, as I once got a mis-labeled set of Christmas tree lights from them. Never forget."

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  • francis
    Posts: 10,476
    so, if my money supports abortion, for instance, as long as it's under 100 bux, it's ok???? wow... that is truly an ostrich in the hole.
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  • .
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  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,891
    I don't particularly care what individual organists are doing in their personal lives. However, I would much prefer AGO to support organists and organ related causes, and stay out of these political and sexual issues. With all the liberal Protestants in the organization, I am not surprised by the organization's positions on such things. I still think they should stay out it.
  • It is truly lamentable to learn that AGO monies find their way to the coffers of the abortion industry.

    Now hang on; no one has said that (or at least has offered any documentation of that) in this thread. Abortion was used by way of example by Francis.
  • francis
    Posts: 10,476
    my point is not abortion

    its supporting orgs that go against the faith no matter what the issue for ANY amount of money