American Guild of Organists

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Lawrence Student Organist Wins Regional Competition

Lawrence University senior Alexis VanZalen earned first-place honors at the recent Young Artists Organ regional competition conducted at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minn.

Alexis VanZalen '13

The biennial regional competition is co-sponsored by the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Schubert Club of St. Paul.

This was the second straight time a Lawrence student has won the organ competition. Daniel O’Connor earned first-place honors when it was last held in 2010.

VanZalen, a double degree candidate majoring in organ performance and history from Holland, Mich., received $2,000 for her winning performance. Her 25-minute audition included J.S. Bach’s “Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 541,” French composer Jehan Alain’s ” Variations sur un thème Theme de Clément Jannequin,” Basil Harwood’s  “Allegro appassionato, from Organ Sonata No. 1 in C# minor, Op. 5” and Benjamin Britten’s “Hymn of St. Columba.”

In 2011, VanZalen earned second-place honors in the Wisconsin National Federation of Music Clubs’ Biennial Student/Collegiate Competition.  She is a student of university organist Kathrine Handford.

The Young Artists Organ competition was open to organists under the age of 24 who reside in or attend school in the 10-state region that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, eastern Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Founded in 1896, the American Guild of Organists is an educational and service organization that strives to advance organ and choral music, elevate the status of church musicians and maintain standards of artistic excellence among organists and choral conductors.

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Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a world-class conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. Ranked among America’s best colleges by Forbes, it was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,445 students from 44 states and 35 countries.  Follow us on Facebook.

Three Lawrence University Musicians Win State, Regional Competitions

Senior Daniel O’Connor of Dallas and junior James Maverick of Baton Rouge, La., earned first-place honors in the 2011 Wisconsin National Federation of Music Clubs’ Biennial Student/Collegiate Competition.

O’Connor and Maverick were named state winners in the organ and piano categories, respectively. They each were awarded $1,000 and will advance to the national competition. National winners will be announced in April.

Junior Alexis VanZalen of Holland, Mich., earned second-place honors in the WNFMC’s organ division and was awarded a prize of $750. O’Connor and VanZalen are students of university organist Kathrine Hanford, while Maverick studies in the piano studio of assistant professor of music Michael Mizrahi.

The competition, conducted via submitted audition tape, is open to musicians 19-26 years of age in 13 categories. Students are required to perform a repertoire from memory covering a challenging range of 4-5 musical styles, depending upon the category.

Founded in 1898, the National Federation of Music Clubs provides opportunities for musical study, performance and appreciation to more than 200,000 senior, student and junior members in 6,500 music-related clubs and organizations nationwide.

In a separate competition, 2010 Lawrence graduate Susanna Valleau won the first round of the American Guild of Organists’ Regional Competition for Young Organists held recently in Rexburg, Idaho. She received a first-place prize of $200.

As a first-round winner, Valleau advances to the AGO’s Region VIII competition on July 3 in Boise, Idaho. Regional winners receive invitations to perform as a “Rising Star” at the AGO’s 2012 National Convention in Nashville, Tenn. Valleau is currently pursuing a master’s degree in organ performance at the University of Washington.

The American Guild of Organists is the national professional association of the organ and choral music fields, serving approximately 20,000 members in 330 chapters throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.