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 L. Viola Anderson, Joseph Black, Laura S. Campbell, Leif I. Christianson, Edith M. Cleveland, Dorothy M. Deems, Vincent J. Dodge, Mabel H. Hartwell, Esther C. Krueger, Viola M. Moen, Betty L. Mark, Clara A. Pollock, Gertie A. K. Lobben, Hazelle A. Stalheim, Rose M. Teichmann, Myrtle V. Steen, Ruth P. Wright, and Ruth H. Berge (who transferred her membership from the national headquarters).

The first officers of the chapter were Dorothy Deems, Dean; Leif 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.

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.

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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. 

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: Dillon Swanson, Dean; Andrew Steinberg, Sub-Dean; Alex Swanson, Secretary-Treasurer; and Jean Hellner, Webmaster.

 

Dillon Swanson is editor of the Pipeline newsletter, and Alex Swanson is the proofreader.