Katelyn Emerson in free concert

Mark your calendar for this spectacular music event – you don’t want to miss it:

Sunday, 30 January 2022
@ 3:00 P.M.

The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception 
607 NE Madison Ave
Peoria, Illinois

On the 1937 Wicks organ (Op. 1503) voiced by Henry Vincent Willis.

Admission to this concert will be free thanks to a major gift to our chapter from the estate of Peoria Organ Builder, John (Jack) Becker.

Katelyn Emerson concertizes throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, showcasing repertoire spanning the 14 th —21 st centuries and lecturing on topics ranging from organ interpretation and healthy practice techniques to sacred music. Laureate of organ competitions on three continents and recipient of a J. William Fulbright Study/Research Grant and a German Academic Exchange Scholarship (DAAD), Katelyn studied at the Conservatoire de Toulouse (France), was awarded the Master Orgel from the Musikhochschule Stuttgart (Germany), and received double degrees in organ and French from Oberlin & Conservatory College (USA). She is associate editor of the online journal Vox Humana (voxhumanajournal.com) and a regular contributor of feature articles for the UK’s Choir & Organ. Her two CD recordings, Inspirations (2018) and Evocations (2017), are available on the Pro Organo label.

For further information and recordings, please visit: http://www.katelynemerson.com

Jack Becker, 1931 – 2021

Peoria’s last local organ builder has died. Jack Becker was our longest tenured member of the Peoria chapter, having joined in 1953. Jack also had ties to the Hinners Organ Company, as he was trained by George Alan – one of the last organ builders at Hinners. 

His obituary is below:

John “Jack” L. Becker, 89, of Peoria passed away on Saturday, January 9, 2021, at UnityPoint Health-Methodist in Peoria.

Jack was born on January 31, 1931, in Peoria to George J. and Katherine C. (Lorenz) Becker.

Jack had a long career tuning and repairing pipe organs for churches in the Peoria area. He was appointed the organist for the Valley of Peoria Scottish Rite, Mohammed Shrine and several of the Peoria area Masonic Lodges.

Jack was very active with the Masonic fraternity, where he was a 68-year/life member of Schiller Lodge #0335 A.F. & A.M., serving several times as Worshipful Master, Grandview Lodge #1112 A.F. & A.M., and Cathedral #1179 A.F. & A.M.; Member of the Mohammed Shriners of Peoria, A.A.O.N.N.S., where he was a member of the Chanters; Scottish Rite Valley of Peoria, where he received his 33rd Degree on Sept. 21, 2004, and his MSA on June 5, 1982, he was a member of Peoria Chapter No. 7 Royal Arch Masons Past Excellent High Priest in 2008, Peoria Council No. 11 Cryptic Masons Past Thrice Illustrious Master in 2011, Peoria Commandery No. 3 Knights Templar Past Eminent Commander in 2017, Life member of Central Illinois York Rite College N. 42. He was a member of St. Helena Conclave Red Cross of Constantine Past Puissant Sovereign in 2003; Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) Columbia Lodge No. 21 Past Noble Grand in 2017 and Peoria Canton No. 84 Past Lieutenant in 2018; Member of the Universal Craftsmen Council of Engineers (U.C.C.E.) Peoria Council No. 35 Past Worthy Chief. He was also member of Earl of Torell Council No. 24, Knight Masons.

Jack was a charter member of United Presbyterian Church in Peoria.

During his younger days, Jack enjoyed working on and riding Harley Davidson motorcycles. He even attended the annual motorcycle rally held in Sturgis, SD.

Jack is survived by his many friends and fellow Masons. He was preceded in death by his parents.

A Masonic memorial service will be held at a future date. Graveside services will be held on Wednesday, January 20, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. at Parkview Cemetery in Peoria.

Memorials may be made to the Valley of Peoria William McDaniels Almoner’s Fund, Shriner’s Hospitals for Children or his church.

Fr. Joe Dunlap, 1949 – 2020

Sadly, a member of the Peoria chapter’s board has passed away. Fr. Joe was most recently our board secretary and publicity chair. We’ll miss him dearly.

His obituary is below:

Father Dennis (Joe) Dunlap, 70, moved from this life to the next on April 18, 2020 at his home in Peoria. He was born on May 7, 1949 to Everett and Gladys Dunlap. He is survived by one brother Ike Dunlap of Bloomington, IL, four sisters Lois Kistner, Normal, IL, Linda (Dave) Roop, Downs, IL, Diana (Lenny) Jones, Downs, IL, Dixie (John) Weaver, Bloomington, IL, and one sister-in-law Stella Dunlap, Bloomington, IL.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, John Dunlap. Joe graduated from Bloomington High School then went on to Priesthood. Father Joe served as a Reverend at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Fond du Lac, WI. He then moved on to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in McHenry, IL and retired from All Saints Episcopal Church, Morton, IL.

He was an accomplished musician, often sharing his love for organ playing in churches and at competitions. He truly enjoyed playing the organ at St. Matthew’s Church in Bloomington, IL. Joe was an avid reader, a great cook, loved his pets, and loved planting flowers. He shared his compassion and God’s love through missionary work and worship.

His graveside service will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. at East Lawn Memorial Gardens, Bloomington, IL. A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 p.m. following the graveside service at Old Town Township Town Hall, 22034 E 1000 North Road (Cheneys Grove Road), Bloomington, IL.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the donor’s choice. Father Joe will be missed by his family, friends, and all who knew him.

Chillicothe FUMC looking for organist/pianist

Chillicothe First United Methodist Church is in need of an organist/pianist for weekly worship services. Our needs include playing organ and/or piano for a Saturday 5:00 pm service and a Sunday am service. The applicant would need to be proficient in order to play traditional hymns, prelude and postlude, as well as other worship music. Once our Voice Choir starts back in August, we will also need a pianist to accompany the choir and attend weekly evening practices. Ability to cover weddings and funerals on an occasional basis would also be a plus. While an ideal fit would be someone who can meet all of the above needs, we are open to filling this with multiple persons on a mutually agreeable schedule, as well as persons who are only proficient on piano. Interested parties should contact the church office at 309-274-5458 and be prepared to provide a listing of credentials such as training, playing experience, etc. as well as references.

Nicholas Liese to Present an Organ Recital on June 1

On June 1 at 3 PM, Mr. Nicholas Liese will be giving a recital on the Berghaus organ at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington. The program will feature music from the early Baroque to the Classical period, including compositions by Buxtehude, Bach, and Mendelssohn. Admission to the recital is free. St. John’s is located at 1617 E. Emerson St. in Bloomington.

Nicholas Liese, organist

Nicholas is in his final year earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Organ Performance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he studies under the tutelage of Dr. Dana Robinson. Prior to his time at the University of Illinois, Nicholas spent 2 years at Concordia University in Mequon, WI studying under Doctors John Behnke and James Freese. For the last two years, Nicholas has been serving as Organist, Liturgist, and Director of Bells Choirs at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomington, IL. Recently he has been awarded and accepted the position of Organ Scholar at the Episcopal Chapel of St. John the Divine in Champaign, IL.

American Organ Music Concert at St. Mary’s on May 26

Jon Kroepel, director of music and organist at St. Mary’s, and Monty Bennett, concert organist, will be presenting a duo organ concert at 3 PM on Sunday, May 26th at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The concert will showcase a variety of organ compositions by American composers. A post-concert gathering will follow at Obed and Issac’s (321 NE Madison Avenue in Peoria).

St. Mary’s Cathedral is located at 607 NE Madison Avenue in Peoria.

Peoria Bach Festival 2019 Organ Recital on May 31

The opening concert for this year’s Peoria Bach Festival will be an organ recital given by Caroline Robinson at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Friday, May 31 at 7:30 PM.  The recital, also hosted as part of the Gretchen Iben Concert Series, will be Robinson’s Peoria debut as concert organist.

Caroline Robinson, concert organist

A native of Greenville, SC, Ms. Robinson earned the B.Mus. degree from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and went on to study with Michel Bouvard in France under a Fulbright grant, earn a master of music degree at the Eastman School in Rochester, New York and currently is finishing her work as a candidate for the doctor of musical arts degree at Eastman. She is a masterful interpreter of the music of J.S. Bach as well as other important composers for the organ.  In addition to her studies, she is the minister of music at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pittsfield, New York.  Last year she was chosen as one of the most important young organists under thirty years of age by the Diapason Magazine.

Westminster Presbyterian Church is located at 1420 Moss Avenue in Peoria. Admission to the concert is free.

Evening Pipe Organ Exploration

Please join us on Friday, April 26 at 7 PM for an exciting evening of pipe organ exploration featuring the organ at St. Mary’s Cathedral here in Peoria. 

The event, hosted by Jon Kroepel, will include both a brief recital and a presentation given by Keith Williams of John-Paul Buzard Pipe Organ Builders of Champaign on the history of the organ and its recent renovation and restoration by Buzard.  Recitalists for the evening will be Gary Black, David Byrkit, Adam Gerik, Walter Stout, and Keith Williams.  This event will also include an opportunity to see the innards of the pipe organ.  Admission is free.

Organ console and Great division pipes at St. Mary’s

There will be a post-event gathering at Obed and Isacc’s (321 NE Madison).

St. Mary’s Cathedral is located at 607 NE Madison Avenue in Peoria.

AGO Midwinter Hymn Fest on Sunday, February 24

The Peoria Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, in conjunction with Lutheran Hillside Village Chapel Staff, announce a Midwinter Hymn Fest on Sunday, February 24 at 3:00 pm.  This event will feature David Byrkit, organist; Ashlie Schlatweiler, soprano; and Stephanie Ashton, flautist. 

The hymn fest will incorporate a number of favorite hymns sung by participants with special music by our featured soloists. This service will be led by Rev. Pat Monroe. 

Join us in celebrating the gift of music made possible with the Rodger’s organ donated by Ben Sommer in memory of his wife, Phoebe Sommer. Also congratulate David Byrkit on his 60 years as a member of the American Guild of Organists. 

Lutheran Hillside Village chapel is located on the second floor at 6901 N. Galena Rd., Peoria. 

A reception will follow in the Galena Room. 

For further information, contact David Byrkit at david@byrkit.net or 309-637-1283

David Byrkit, Ben Sommer, and Rev. Pat Monroe at the organ in Living Waters Chapel

David Byrkit, organist, was the Director of Music at Peoria’s Westminster Presbyterian Church retiring in 2014 after eight years in that position.  He earned his bachelors at Bradley University with post graduate studies in music at Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University, Brooklyn Conservatory, Juilliard, and Mannes School of Music in NYC.  David was an organist choirmaster in the Greater New York City area for 25 years.

Ashlie Schlatweiler, soprano, is originally from the St. Louis area. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in K-12 Vocal Music Education from Bradley University in 2013. She has taught general music, band, and chorus at St. Mark Catholic School, Trewyn School, Putnam County Junior High and Elementary Schools, and St. Joseph Catholic School in Central Illinois. She has been singing with the Westminster Presbyterian Choir since 2009, and was promoted to soloist and soprano section leader in 2016. She has been a voice and piano instructor at the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts and Kidder Music in Peoria, Illinois since 2014. She is currently working on graduate studies in Music Therapy in fall 2018 and expects to begin internship in 2020.

Stephanie Ashton, flautist, first learned to play flute through Peoria Public Schools, beginning in fifth grade.  She continued in the band program at Richwoods High School, during which time she also had the privilege of studying privately under Denise Cooksey. She then learned the piccolo and spent four years at the University of Illinois performing in the Marching Illini and Basketball Band ensembles, as well as various concert bands.  Since graduation, Stephanie has served as a substitute flautist for the Peoria Municipal Band and has occasionally performed at Westminster Presbyterian Church.  Stephanie is the granddaughter of long-time Hillside Village resident Jim Ashton.