History of the RRVAGO

On April 9, 1945, the Red River Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (RRVAGO) was granted a charter from its parent organization, the American Guild of Organists, and organized in Fargo, North Dakota. The chapter was a continuation of the Pipe Organ Group of the Fargo-Moorhead Area Music Club, which had been founded in 1895.

The 18 charter members of the RRVAGO included Viola Anderson, Joseph Black, Laura Campbell, Leif Christianson, Edith Cleveland, Dorothy Deems, Vincent Dodge, Mrs. R. R. Hartwell, Mrs. R. P. Krueger, Mrs. Oscar Moen, Betty Mark, Clara Pollock, Gertie Lobben, Hazel Stalheim, Rose Liedemann, Myrtle Steen, Mrs. Hugo Wright, and Ruth Berge (who transferred her membership from the national headquarters).

On September 1, 1945 the new chapter held a meeting at the home of Mrs. R. R. Hartwell, with Laura Campbell, assisting hostess. The first chapter officers were elected at that meeting and consisted of Dorothy Deems, Dean; Leif I. Christianson, Sub-Dean; Betty Mark, Recording Secretary; Vincent Dodge, Treasurer; Edith Cleveland, Corresponding Secretary; and Laura Campbell, Program Chairman.

Throughout its existence, the RRVAGO has presented the Red River Valley with many programming opportunities centering around organ and choral music, including  hymn festivals, concerts, recitals, workshops, social gatherings, and much more.


On April 9, 1945, eighteen people from Fargo-Moorhead gathered and organized the Red River Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.  This list of the names of these charter members comes from the first entry of the original secretary's book. 

Many nationally and internationally renowned organists have given recitals as guest artists of the chapter, including Diane Bish, Chelsea Chen, David Cherwien, Felix Hell, Christopher Houlihan, Paul Jacobs, Olivier Latry, Paul Manz, Marilyn Mason, Fred Swann, and others.

Among the most notable of the chapter's accomplishments includes hosting the North-Central AGO Regional Convention in June 2001, in Fargo.

The current officers of the RRVAGO chapter include: Michael Olson, Dean; Dillon Swanson, Sub-Dean; Bradley Steen, Secretary; Alex Swanson, Treasurer; Ryan Hardy, Social Media Officer; and Jean Hellner, Webmaster.


Ruth Discher is editor of the "Pipeline" newsletter, and Alpha Roeszler is the proofreader.