Chapter History

The Sarasota-Manatee Chapter of the American Guild of Organists had an interesting beginning. The Manatee Chapter was organized and chartered in 1952. Five years later, in 1957, the Sarasota Chapter was organized and chartered. Both chapters were active for the next ten years.

In 1967 the Manatee Chapter, for reasons yet to be uncovered, decided to disband. At a January 1967 meeting of the Sarasota Chapter a motion was made and carried to merge the Manatee Chapter into the Sarasota Chapter at an April 2 business meeting following a recital by Charles Dirr (Professor of Organ at Tift College, Forysth, Georgia) at Christ Episcopal Church, Bradenton.

For the next four years we continued to operate under the Sarasota Chapter name. In November 1971, at a Chapter business meeting at the West Bradenton Baptist Church, a motion was made and carried that “the chapter name be changed to Sarasota-Manatee which would better describe the area covered.” Dean Stephen Dunn announced at a February 1972 meeting that National Headquarters had approved the name change.
The Sarasota-Manatee Chapter of the AGO continues to be an active musical presence in Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice and surrounding towns.

The official 2023-2024 membership directory includes 65+ members involved as Organists, Music Directors and Vocalists who are affiliated with 50 different churches.

Chapter meetings, dinners, and special events for members and guests are scheduled each year from September through May.

We are looking forward to an exciting year in 2023-2024 as we join together for fellowship, inspiration, education and world-class musical presentations.


Mrs. Walter Wooten 1957-1959
Mrs. Arthur Grossman 1959-1961
Miss Christia Basler 1961-1962
Mrs. J. Russell Garvin 1962-1963
Mrs. Russell Bagley 1963-1965
Carl G. Werner 1965-1967
Mrs. C. William Wierts 1967-1969
Franz Engle 1969-1971
Stephen P. Dunn 1971-1973
Thomas Michaelsen 1973-1975
Margaret H. Smith 1975-1977
Ann Stephenson-Moe 1977-1978
C. Richard Morris 1978-1980
Theodore West Ripper 1980-1981
Joel Gardner McKay 1981-1982
Franz Engle 1982-1984
Dorothy C. Menne 1984-1986
Sandra West Altman 1986-1988
Douglas B. Leightenheimer 1988-1990
Michael B. Roberts 1990-1991
Douglas B. Leightenheimer 1991-1992
Ronald A. Koopman 1992-1994
Kenneth E. Williams 1994-1997
Elizabeth R. Bharucha 1997-1999
Carl L. Parks 1999-2001
Todd Gresick 2001-2002
David Guyet 2002-2003
Carol Hawkinson 2003-2005
Don Baber 2005-2009
Greg Chestnut 2009-2010
David Stasney 2010-2013
Neil Page 2013-2015
Carl L. Parks 2015-2016
Dwane Grace 2016-2018
Nancy Siebecker 2018-2021
Amy Cerniglia 2021-2023