Details about the Spring Meeting 2017 in Washington D.C. April 17-22
from our organizer, Roger Schumacher
Greetings from Washington, D.C., to fellow European Chapter members and friends!! Judy asked me to provide an update on our Spring Meeting in Washington next April, and Im thrilled to report to you that plans are coming along very nicely. More on that later!
But lets take a step back first, so that I can personally extend a warm invitation to each of you to visit the United States capital city next April for our 2017 Spring Meeting! Washington D.C. in the springtime is a wonderful place. At that time, our area normally is awash in color.....cherry trees that look like an Impressionist painting, dogwoods in white and pink, and azaleas in full bloom. The temperatures are pleasant...not like summertimes hot, muggy, and rather miserable days. Unfortunately, its also when an avalanche of tourists start coming to town, so traffic becomes even worse than usual, and lodgings can get scarce and expensive.
BUT!....Ive been working to find the best possible deals for European Chapter members! Not all the arrangements are in place yet, but we have a hotel, and we have a chartered bus. Those are big pieces of the puzzle. Our hotel will be the Marriott in Tysons Corner, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. Marriott has given us a block of rooms for scandalously LOW cost for the DC area -- $133 for a double room, and that includes a hot breakfast! If you havent yet reserved a room there, please do so really soon! Our block comprises 25 rooms, and so far, 18 of those rooms already have been reserved by our members who are planning to attend. Fantastic, huh? I mean, Spring Meeting time 2017 is still nine months away, and already 33 European Chapter members have committed to attend, and we are confident that number will grow higher as the months click by. So if you think you might join us but havent yet reserved a room at the hotel, I urge you to do so earlier, rather than later. (See below for instructions on reserving a room.)
I want to tell you whats on the agenda so far, but I feel compelled first to share with you the excitement and intense interest I have found on the part of organists in the Washington area when they hear that the European Chapter is coming to town! As I contact the Deans of local AGO chapters and the organists who control access to important instruments, I have been constantly amazed by their eagerness to be a part of the European Chapters Spring Meeting. I have no doubt that, when you arrive in Washington next April, you will receive a warm, friendly, and collegial welcome as we move through the weeks program of events.
In the past few months, Ive worked hard on developing an itinerary, and I think its shaping up nicely! Of course, nothing is set in stone at this early stage, but we now have two of our four days filled with great organs and interesting activities.
We have formal commitments from a number of important venues. The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which owns two organs (Moeller and Schudi) that definitely are worth seeing, offered three hours (rather than the two I requested) to spend with their instruments. We now have great contacts to help us access the huge Skinner organ (189 ranks) at the National Cathedral. Washingtons First Baptist Church, with its large Austin, has promised to host us, as well as National Presbyterian, with its 115-rank Aeolian-Skinner. All of these instruments were used for concerts during the 2010 National AGO Convention in Washington D.C. They are must see instruments, and we are fortunate to have gained access to them.
I am still working on access to at least five additional organs in town, all of them the products of American or Canadian builders. Have you ever heard of these organ builders: Dobson, Schoenstein, Steiner-Reck, Casavant-Freres, Lively-Fulcher, Schleuter, Letourneau, and Berghaus? Maybe not, huh? But they are available in DC, and I am working to get us access to all of them. Due to time constraints, we probably wont be able to see and play each and every one, but this is my goal -- to expose you to the very best of American and Canadian organ building that is available in the Washington, D.C., area. Our days will certainly be packed with a full menu of wonderful organs to see and to play!
I thought it would be a good idea to take a road trip on one of our Spring Meeting days, to get out of DC and to see some of the Virginia countryside. With this in mind, I approached George Taylor, of Taylor & Boody Organ Builders, in Staunton, Virginia (about a two-hour drive from Washington), to determine whether he would be willing to host us on a tour of his organ building shop. He was very excited, readily agreed, and offered great suggestions about our day in Staunton. And the local Episcopal Church, which owns a wonderful Taylor & Boody instrument (see the photo at the bottom of this article) has welcomed us to spend a few hours with their organ. This should be a very fun day indeed!
Another new and exciting development: two local AGO chapters have agreed to host us at organ demonstrations and shared dinners with their members. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet with American organists and to share perspectives and professional interests. Both American chapters were enthusiastic about hosting our group, and I think this will be a highlight of the weeks activities.
While working our way through this packed itinerary, we still will have a few hours for touring the U.S. capital city. To save money and keep costs down, I offer my humble services as a local tour guide (after all, it is my home town for 30-some years now!). I will ensure that you do NOT leave Washington without a good impression of our capital city and its many attractions, not just the organs, but also the sites youve heard about in the news -- the White House, the Pentagon, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Smithsonian Museums, and so many more attractions.
My objective is to send you back to your homes after the weeks events feeling satisfied and tired but entirely rejuvenated and excited about your experiences here. Please consider attending!
Thank you all for your enthusiasm about this Spring Meeting! I look forward eagerly to seeing you again next April in Washington, D.C.
You can set up your hotel reservation in one of two ways, either by filling out the easy form online, or by calling the national telephone number for Marriott Hotels. Our room block is called Europe AGO.
Option 1: Copy this link in your browser and complete the prompts. Its very easy. Some members have experienced problems using this link. I suggest you try again with another browser, and if that doesnt work either, then go to Option 2 (below).
Option 2: In the United States, call Marriott Reservations at this telephone number — (800) 228-9290. From Europe dial 001 800 228 9290. The operator will ask you the questions listed below. The answers are provided below.
Q: City and State of the hotel? A: Vienna, Virginia
Q: Which Property? A: Tysons Corner
Q: Which Dates? A: April 17 -- 22, 2017
Q: What Room Block? (If she doesnt ask, make sure she knows that you want this block) A: Europe AGO
The operator will ask you to provide a credit card to hold the reservation, but no money will be taken until you check out of the hotel at the end of your stay next year.
As usual, non-chapter-members are welcome to join us for our Spring Meeting. There is a small surcharge, approximately the cost of a years subscription as a chapter friend, for doing so. Please write to us for further details.