Who We Are

The American Guild of Organists is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields.  Our chapter represents members in the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia region.

Our History

This chapter was originally chartered in January 1968 as the Franklin Chapter – named after the region’s ill-fated attempt at statehood following the Revolutionary War – and Mary Ellen Cowles served as the first Dean.  She was followed by: Jane LaPella (1968 – 1971); Robert Andrews (1971 – 1973); Richard Webb (1973-1975); Kay Rhea (1975-1977); David C. Runner (1977-1979); Michael Neas (1979-1981); Mary F. Landrum (1981-1983); Fred Ricker (1983-1985); Stephen Hamilton (1985-1987); David C. Runner (1987-1989); T. Andrew Hicks (1989-1991); Fred * Wanda Ricker (1991-1993); T. Andrew Hicks (1993-1994); Anita T. Coulthard (1994-1995); T. Andrew Hicks (1995-1998).

The Holston Valley Chapter, a pre-existing organization, comprised mainly of residents of Bristol and the Southwest Virginia area, disbanded in 1979.  Many of its members subsequently joined the Franklin Chapter.  After years of discussion the Franklin chapter was renamed the Northeast Tennessee-Southwest Virginia Chapter in January 1997 to more accurately identify its geographical location and to better reflect its inclusion of members residing in southwest Virginia.

After its renaming, The Northeast Tennessee-Southwest Virginia Chapter has been served by the following Deans: Greg A. Lacey (1998-2002); Laura H. (Cates) Champouillon (2002-2006); Stephen Fey (2006-2010); Michael Frazier (2010-2012); Greg A. Lacey (2012-2014); Joy A. Smith-Briggs (2014-2016); Larry Dodd (2016 – 2018) Cheryl Patterson (2018-2019), Jessica Siple (2019-2021).

Currently the chapter is comprised of members residing in Carter, Greene, Sullivan and Washington counties of Tennessee; and Washington and Wythe counties of Virginia; as well as one member who lives in Maryland.