What is the AGO?

The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. The Guild serves approximately 14,700 members in approximately 300 chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The AGO publishes a monthly magazine, The American Organist, which is the most widely read journal devoted to organ and choral music in the world. It is the official journal of the American Guild of Organists dedicated to furthering its ideals, objectives, and cultural and educational aspirations For more information about the national AGO, or The American Organist magazine, visit www.agohq.org

Mission, Vision, and Value Proposition

The mission of the American Guild of Organists is to foster a thriving community of musicians who share their knowledge and inspire passion for the organ.

The vision of the American Guild of Organists is to engage, support, and uplift every organist.

Value Proposition (A Value Proposition is simply a promise of value to be delivered–a statement of the specific benefits you can expect through AGO membership.)

As a member of the American Guild of Organists you can

  • connect with other organists
  • enhance your skills as an organist and choral conductor
  • celebrate the organ in historic and evolving contexts
  • discover news of the organ and choral world online and in The American Organist
  • nurture new organists of all ages
  • share knowledge and expertise
  • enjoy camaraderie at chapter events and conventions
  • find inspiration and challenge
  • receive encouragement from colleagues
  • experience great organs and organists
  • access career opportunities and job listings
  • earn professional credentials through AGO certification

Approved by National Council May 9, 2016; revised by National Council June 7, 2016.


Board Members

The chapter is governed by its Executive Board of four elected officers (two-year terms), members-at-large (three-year terms), and various appointed members. Terms run from July 1 through June 30.
The Board meets quarterly online via Zoom.


Dean – Cactus Harris cactus@upcfresno.org
Sub-Dean – Michael Varlas mvarlas@yahoo.com
Recording Secretary – Hannah Zentner hannahzentner@gmail.com
Treasurer – Michal Hembd hembdstudio@yahoo.com


Faye DeLong
Jean Hays
David Boldt
Scott Horton
Matthew Rye
Susan Berg

Newsletter Editor – Michael Varlas mvarlas@yahoo.com
Webmaster – Drew Maddox drewgmaddox@gmail.com


SJVAGO Chapter History

Past Deans

Ruth Rockwood 1945-1947
Margarette H. Larwood 1947-1951
The Rev. Mr. Tryon Richards 1951-1952
Margarette H. Larwood 1952-1955
Jane Keene 1955-1957
Hazel Petersen 1957-1960
Margarette H. Larwood 1960-1961
Hazel Petersen 1961-1962
Margarette H. Larwood 1962-1963
Richard Galloway 1963-1966
Lola Eisenbise Armey 1966-1968
Richard Cencibaugh 1968-1970
H.R. Fishback, Jr., MD 1970-1972
Richard Cencibaugh 1972-1973
The Rev. Mr. Raymond Anderson 1973-1974
Catherine Walker 1974-1975
Dillon W. Throckmorton 1975-1977
Frances Hein 1977-1979
Lynne Rodriguez 1979-1980
Ardelle Bakkegard 1980-1982
Aran Vartanian 1982-1984
Faye E. DeLong 1984-1986
Margaret E. Ruof 1986-1988
Stephen Vincent 1988-1990
Howard Latta 1990-1991
Faye E. DeLong 1991-1994
Zella Woods 1994-1996
Laurell Huber 1996-1998
Aran Vartanian 1998-2001
Roy McMeen 2001-2004
Ruth Andersen 2004-2009
Catherine Walker 2009-2012
Laurell Huber 2012-2014
Michael Varlas 2014-2018
Cactus Harris 2018-Present