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* * American Guild of Organists, Seattle Chapter * *
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Composition Contest
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Composition Contest

In 2013, past dean Christopher Glenn approached the Seattle Chapter Board with the recommendation to sponsor a competition to encourage literature for the organ that might reach beyond traditional organ audiences. The Board enthusiastically supported the idea and made the decision to pay for such a program using proceeds from the Chapter's Fox Fund. Later that year, we launched "The Organ rEvolution" composition contest. After submissions were reviewed, discussed and ranked, it was the decision of the judging panel not to award a First Place winner, Instead, two Second Place winners and an honorable mention were awarded. Since that time, each of the three winning compositions have been performed at Chapter events and/or local churches.

In early 2015, the Board approved a second iteration of the competition, this time called "Bach to the Future." The rules dictated that a pre-existing Baroque period work in the public domain be arranged for a "contemporary" audience or one that might prefer pop, rock, or jazz. Submissions came in from places near and far, domestic and abroad!

After multiple reviews and discussions regarding submissions, the panel of six judges made their decisions. With such a variety of strong and creative entries, it was a close contest. We are proud to congratulate the following winners of this year's competition:

A Lover’s Farewell
Ruth Draper, New Haven, CT ($1,500 Prize)

Mostly Bach's Toccata and Fugue in d-minor
Paul Ayres, Greenfield, Middlesex, UK ($750 Prize)

Once the names of submitting composers were revealed to the judges, it was very exciting to find out that one of our former Chapter members, Ruth Draper, took the top prize. We are grateful to Ruth, Paul Ayres, and to all of those who participated in this year's competition. Keep up the great work!

In closing, we want to thank the following folks for their enthusiasm about this project and for their participation on the judging panel:

Kai Hirayama - Graduate student (clarinet performance), The Ohio State University
Shirley Lindberg - Director, Bells of the Sound
Samuel Libra - Organist/Music Director, St. John's Episcopal (Kirkland)
Michelle Horsley - Organist, Seattle First Baptist
Rich Irish - Board Member, Bells of the Cascades
Christopher Glenn - past dean; organist

Special thanks goes to our "Blind Trust," Jennifer Vangolen, who collected submissions (ensuring they remained anonymous throughout the judging process) and served as the primary point of contact for contest inquiries. Thanks also to the Board and to the Fox family for their generous support of this and similar endeavors.

Watch for future announcements regarding opportunities to hear the winning selections performed.

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