Organists’ guild focuses on staying relevant

Eileen Guenther, the newest president of the American Guild of Organists, gets spotlighted in a Religion News Service interview this week. Facing declining membership, Guenther explains that organs haven’t so much been replaced as the instrument of choice in churches as they have been supplemented by other instruments. The result is a new landscape for church musicians, one that she hopes the guild can help them face:

Q. It seems like one of your greatest challenges would be that many houses of worship don’t use organs anymore. Is that the case?

A. That’s an interesting question. Lots of places use organ and other instruments as well, and I think a challenge is to reach out to everyone who is involved in music-making in houses of worship, regardless of the instruments they play.

Q. So you want to include instrumentalists who play instruments other than the organ even though you’ve been an organization of organists?

A. Right. Many of our places of employment want more than just the organ, and we want to be able to support organists, of course, but also encourage them to acquire more skills that will … meet the long-term needs of the marketplace. It’s not a phrase that people use within the church, but it’s kind of a reality.

Story here.

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