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ACM Program Committee
September 11 @ 10:30 am - 12:00 pm
The Madison Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) was chartered on September 14, 1953, as the outgrowth of work which began in June 1947 by Ruth Pilger Andrews, Paul Jones, and others, meeting as the Wisconsin Association of Church Musicians. WACM held annual hymn and choir festivals and organ recitals; its major legacy was the establishment in 1949 of the Louise Fulcher Memorial Library, an extensive catalog of organ and choral music now part of the Fulcher-Scidmore Sacred Music Collection. Housed at the Janesville (WI) Public Library for many years, the collection’s current home is at Rock Prairie United Presbyterian Church in Janesville.
In 1984, with the encouragement of Edward Hugdahl of the UW-Extension, the Association of Church Musicians was established to serve in a dual role with Madison Chapter AGO. The intention was to involve churches themselves in their musicians’ ongoing education by encouraging church memberships (in addition to AGO memberships) and to have a broad-based group designed to attract church musicians of every interest and at every proficiency level. More than 200 churches in 58 communities in south-central Wisconsin and northern Illinois have joined the ACM since its inception.
ACM publishes a monthly newsletter called Church Music Notes, offers a year of programming and outreach as it relates to all facets of church music, maintains a library of audio and video recordings and books, offers used organ music for sale, has a placement and substitute service available to members, and provides scholarships for students pursuing organ studies. Recommended salary guidelines for church musicians, along with sample contracts and standards of business practice, were first published in 1982 as Procedures for Employing Church Musicians, but had to be discontinued in 2017 as part of a settlement between national AGO and the FTC. However, ACM/Madison Chapter AGO was proud to have its longtime employment guidelines serve as the basis for national AGO’s Employing Musicians in Religious Institutions (2020).
The ACM continues in its dual role as the Madison Chapter of the AGO for organists and organ enthusiasts, and was also the umbrella organization for the Madison Chapter of the Choristers Guild from 1989 until it was declared inactive in 2016.
ACM administers the Ruth Pilger Andrews Organ Scholarship Fund, an endowed fund established in recognition of one of the Madison Chapter’s founders for students of any age pursuing the study of organ.
Association of Church Musicians Incorporated is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, EIN 39-1570927.