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Organ and church music workshop brings musicians together at a Rockford church

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Rockford Chapter of The American Guild of Organists host annual January Jubilee. Organizers say the event provides opportunity for musical growth through teamwork.

Court Street United Methodist Church in Rockford hosted The American Guild of Organists' annual January Jubilee on Saturday.

Organizers of the event say the organ is an instrument built off the concept of teamwork.

"The organ brings together the organist in the church setting it brings together the congregation who finances the maintenance and listens to the concerts," says Andrew Mertzenich, Organist at Court Street United Methodist Church. "And it really is a team instrument."

They say the workshop was focused on helping organists and musicians learn through that teamwork.

"The best way to become a better musician," says Mertzenich, "is to attend events with other musicians and to learn from them."

"This is an opportunity for people who are trying to learn skills to sit down at the organ and have a leader show them how to do it," says Gregory Gyllsdorff, January Jubilee director.

The musicians had the opportunity to attend 12 workshops based on skill level and an organ recital featuring David Jonies from Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. Hosts say the workshop is a unique and rare opportunity.

"This event, especially of this scale is relatively rare," says Mertzenich, "maybe once or twice a year depending on which region you're in."

The organizers say organists of all ages, backgrounds, and skill sets had the opportunity to learn from the January Jubilee.

Whether you're the student or the teacher you still learn something… and that's fantastic," says Gyllsdorff.

The Rockford Chapter of The American Guild of Organists says there will be a similar, week-long pipe organ event coming to Rockford June 14 through June 19, 2020.

Alexxis Kerry

Alexxis Kerry is a multimedia journalist at 13 WREX. She joined the team in 2019 as a Quintern.

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