Jonathan Bezdegian (Dean), a native of Paxton, Massachusetts, began his music studies at age seven. In 2002, he began intensive organ instruction with Frank Corbin at Assumption College. Jonathan then transferred to the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2004, where he studied organ with David Boe and harpsichord with Lisa Crawford, Brett Maguire, and Webb Wiggins. After graduating in 2007 with a BM in Organ Performance and a minor in Music History, he traveled to Montreal where he earned his Master’s degree in organ at McGill University, studying with John Grew, organ improvisation with William Porter, and harpsichord with Hank Knox. In March 2018, Jonathan earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance from the University of Washington. While in Seattle, he studied organ with Carole Terry, and had the opportunity to study harpsichord with Jillon Dupree and organ improvisation with Douglas Cleveland. Currently, he is a Lecturer in Music at Assumption University. He also serves as the Director of Liturgical Music at Christ the King Parish in Worcester.
Wesley Hall (Sub-Dean), recognized in 2016 by the Diapason Magazine as a “20 Under 30” leader in Organ, Harpsichord, and Sacred Music in the United States, is a dynamic organist and early musician with a passion for translating the music of the past into the context of today’s audience. An innovator in the field of sacred music, Wesley blended his passion for music and liturgy at the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music, and went on to receive an Artist Diploma in Organ Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory. He is currently completing a Gasthörerschaft at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck, Germany, before resuming his full duties as Minister of Music and the Arts at the First Baptist Church of Worcester. As both a solo artist and a collaborator, his performances have been heard across the United States, Canada, and Europe. He was recently awarded 2nd Prize at the Sursa American Organ Competition and maintains an active performance schedule. Wesley is passionate about helping young musicians achieve their greatest aspirations, and serves regularly as a competition juror, and teaches students through private lessons and public masterclasses.
David Moulton (Secretary) has served for nearly twenty years as Organist, Pianist, Cantor, Choir Director, and Director of Music in religious communities throughout Central Massachusetts. Though mostly self-taught at the organ and piano, his education and training have included private study with vocal instructors in Massachusetts and New York, as well as coursework at Ithaca College School of Music, and Framingham State University, where he was later appointed as Visiting Lecturer to direct the university’s choral program in 2001 and 2002. David has been an active voting member of the Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists since 2005; he served two consecutive terms as Secretary from 2008 to 2012, and during this time, he also fulfilled the Chapter’s need for a Newsletter Editor. Today, in addition to his full-time work as a piano tuner and technician, David holds concurrent appointments as Minister of Music (Organist & Choir Director) at the First Baptist Church of Gardner, and as Assistant Cathedral Organist at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Worcester.
Juan Mesa (Treasurer) began his early musical training in his native city of Puerto Montt in Chile, and completed a diploma in piano performance from Universidad Austral’s Conservatory as a student of the renowned Ximena Cabello. He emigrated to the US in 2001, obtaining a B.Mus. degree in organ performance and composition from Western Connecticut State University and M.M. degree in organ performance and early music at Indiana University. Juan has performed solo recitals across the US, Canada, Chile, and Argentina, and was a first-place winner of the New England RCYO competition in 2003, and was most recently a semi-finalist in the 2018 American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Music Theory department at Indiana University, and for 6 years he led the multi-generational music program at St. Mary’s church in Holliston, MA. He is currently Director of Music at Roslindale Congregational Church in Boston, organist for The College Church SDA in Lancaster, MA, and Director of Music and Organist at St Leonard’s Church in Boston’s North End.
Leonardo Ciampa (Registrar) is the founding director of Arts MetroWest (since 2012) and Honorary Music Director (Maestro di Cappella Onorario) of the Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo in Gubbio, Italy (since 2015). Till recently he was artistic director of organ concerts at MIT (2009-2016). As an organ recitalist, Ciampa has made a dozen European tours encompassing Italy, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. He is particularly admired in Italy, where he has played in numerous international festivals (Festival Perosiano, Festival Biellese, Organi Storici della Valsesia, Le Voci della Città, Festival Organistico Lauretano, Reate Festival, etc.). Ciampa’s compositions include Suite Siciliana, Op. 145 (for two violins, piano and orchestra), commissioned by the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston to open their 25th anniversary season at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre; The Annunciation, Op. 203 (cantata for chorus, soloists, and strings); the Kresge Organ Symphony, commissioned by MIT and premiered in Kresge Auditorium; a piano quintet (premiered by the Lavazza Chamber Ensemble); and Missa Pamphyliana, premiered at the Basilica di Sant’Ubaldo in Gubbio by the Cantores Beati Ubaldi (Renzo Menichetti, conductor).
Robert Potterton III (Member-at-Large/Webmaster) has been a professional church musician and composer in New England for nearly twenty years, most notably as Director of Worship & the Arts at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Dedham from 2008-2015 and Organist-Choirmaster at historic Christ Church (Episcopal) in Fitchburg since 2015. He completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition & Organ Performance at Houghton College (NY), where he studied with Judy Congdon, and Master of Sacred Music & Master of Sacred Theology degrees at Boston University, where he studied with Peter Sykes. Since 2019, he has been an Associate at G. Paul Music in Worcester, New England’s representative for Allen Organ Company. Robert resides in Spencer with his wife Carissa, an IT developer and professional photographer, and their children, Adam and Kimberly.
Kiel Krommer (Member-at-Large/Scholarship Coordinator) became music director at First Church of Monson, MA in September of 2018. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA. He previously was church organist and music director for three churches throughout Southern Worcester County. Kiel started studying piano at seven and organ at thirteen. While at Anna Maria, he studied organ with Ian Watson. After college, he was an organ student of William Ness. In 2019, he assumed responsibility for overseeing the Will Sherwood Scholarship program.
Elizabeth “Bess” Sproul (Member-at-Large) received a Bachelor’s degree in choral music education from the University of Michigan, where she studied organ with Henry Tysinger. She received a Masters in Music Ed from the Ohio State University, where she took courses in church music from Wilbur Held. She taught music in public schools in several states, and conducted a community chorus in York, Maine. She served as Director of Music Ministries at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Camillus, NY, and studied organ for several years with Will Headlee, retired head of the organ department at Syracuse University. From 2011- 2018 she served as Director of Music at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Westborough, MA. Recently retired, she enjoys being with her grandchildren, and traveling with her husband, a retired Lutheran pastor.
Joyce Carpenter-Henderson (Member-at-Large) currently serves as Organist/Music Director at First Congregational Church (UCC) in Millbury, and previously served as Organist/Choir Director at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Hudston from 1998-2014. She received her B.A. degree with a minor in music at the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Divinity degree at Lancaster Theological Seminary (PA). She studied organ with John Skelton at UNH and with Kris Layton at Church of the Good Shepherd in Clinton. She is an active piano teacher with about 30 students throughout Worcester and Middlesex counties (now receiving instruction via Zoom). Joyce is Artistic Director of Serenity Coffeehouse an outreach ministry featuring music teachers and their young students performing classical/sacred music at Salem Covenant Church, Worcester before an intergenerational, diverse audience.
Catherine Merrill (Member-at-Large) has been an organist at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Charlton, MA, since 2013. She also accompanies services at the Overlook Retirement Community in Charlton. She took private piano lessons for 12 years beginning at age 5, and added organ study during her final two year of high school. She was an organist for St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Norristown, PA, while finishing high school and then while receiving a Bachelor’s degree in electric engineering from Villanova University. She also was a pianist for St. Theresa the Little Flower Catholic Church in Summerville, SC, while teaching electrical engineering technology at Trident Technical College in Charleston, SC. Cathy and her husband Scott have made Charlton their home since Scott left active duty as a U.S. naval officer, and have raised four children there. She considers it a joy to be playing the organ again after so many years away from it.
CHAPTER LIAISONS & APPOINTEES
Rev. Brent A. Newberry (Chaplain) is the Pastor of the First Baptist Church, following a long line of prestigious predecessors in that position. December 2020 marks his 5-year anniversary, having accepted this call from his previous congregation in Dallas, TX, where he served as Pastoral Resident. A graduate of Baylor University’s Truett Seminary with a M.Div. and Mississippi College with a B.A., he is currently pursuing his D.Min. degree from Boston University School of Theology. Rev. Newberry has lived in a number of states–MO, KS, FL, MS, TX, MA–but he claims Mississippi as home (somewhat reluctantly). He enjoys a good novel, binge-watching TV series, ramen, photography, fantasy baseball and Polar Seltzer. He and his dog, Zooey Deschanel, are happy converts to a love of snow. “I am honored to be part of the Worcester Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. I look forward to connecting more closely with the members, each of whose work (and/or art) is infusing the world with beauty, hope, and truth. To the extent I am able, I will embody this role as a safe, non-judgmental, non-sectarian space for any who might need a pastoral/ministerial/clerical ear.”
Marjorie Ness (Education Coordinator) is a fixture in the Worcester music scene. She is recently retired from the Humanities Department of Fitchburg State University, and from church positions which spanned from 1969-2008. Since then she has served in various interim and substitute positions in the area. She has consistently taught private lessons and enjoys leading workshops to assist in skill building for the church musician. Her formal training was at Oberlin Conservatory, Northwestern University, and the University of Iowa, Iowa City.
Will Sherwood (Liaison to Mechanics Hall & Holy Cross Organ Library) has been an active member of Worcester AGO for over forty years, serving most recently as Dean from 2010-2018. He is a frequent recitalist and active composer, arranger, and accompanist. Since 1984 has served as Minister of Music at the First Unitarian Church in Worcester. Will also holds the Associate and Choirmaster certifications from the Guild. Upon his retirement from chapter leadership, the Scholarship Program was named in his honor.