Miriam Zach, Ph.D. is a musicologist, author, organist, harpsichordist, Iowa native, and since 2016 the Charles and Mary Sukup Endowed Artist in Organ at Iowa State University, and Director of Music/Organist at St. John’s By the Campus Episcopal Church in Ames, Iowa stjohns-ames.org She can be heard on National Public Radio recorded in Princeton University Chapel. After completing degrees at Northwestern University and University of Chicago she taught music in Germany at the Universität Bielefeld, and served as organist for the Church of England. In 1990 she studied Olivier Messiaen’s organ music in Paris, and has performed most of his organ works in Europe and the United States. For 20 years (1996-2016) she taught music history, and Honors music and health at the University of Florida. She is past Dean of the Gainesville, Florida Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and University of Florida Professor of the Year 2000-2001. She continues to research architecture and music, teach music and health, organize annual international festivals of women composers (iwclib.org), and enjoy playing Baroque chamber music (alachuaconsort.com).
Dr. Stephen Smith (B.Sc. University of London), M.Sc. (Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources) and Ph.D. (Evolution of Maize, University of Birmingham, U.K.) grew up on a farm in eastern England. He came to the US in 1977 to conduct plant genetics research. In 2015, Smith completed a 35 year scientific research career with Dupont Pioneer. He has received the Henry A. Wallace Award for Revolution in agriculture and DuPont’s highest scientific recognition, the Lavoisier Medal for scientific achievement. During his tenure at Pioneer he served on intellectual property committees of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) and the International Seed Federation (ISF). Smith recently served as an expert witness for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding a case of misappropriation of US corn genetics by foreign nationals. He is a Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America and in 2017 and 2018 was made an Honorary Member of ASTA and of the ISF respectively, in recognition of services rendered. Smith is currently an affiliate Professor and visiting scientist in the Departments of Agronomy and Seed Science at Iowa State University, USA.
His involvement in music making began at the age of 7 as chorister in school choirs and through studentship participating in the Haydn Nelson Mass, the Faure and Verdi Requiems, the Sea Symphony by Ralph Vaughan Williams and The Dream of Gerontius by Edward Elgar. Smith's passions are organ music of all genres, choral and orchestral works. He has served on Committees and Boards of the Des Moines Symphony for the past 15 years, including as President of the Symphony Association (2008-2010) and of the Foundation Board (2019-2020). Smith is currently enrolled as a student in organ with Dr. Miriam Zach. Smith also serves on the Board of Living History Museum in Urbandale, Iowa.
Piano studies thirteen years, organ studies for five years with Dr. Carl Staplin, Karen Ulstad, and Doris Allman Held organist, choir accompanist positions for 30 years in north Iowa, twin cities and Ames since fall 2016. Have been self-employed business owner for 16 years as a program administrator and training specialist. Earned a Masters in Health Care Administration from DM University, thereafter started studying music through the Drake courses for church musicians (1999-2004); currently a substitute organist and choir accompanist; member, Ames Chamber Artists, Bethesda Lutheran Choir, Ames Area Running club. Since 1996 active in AGO chapters-- North Iowa AGO and Twin Cities AGO. Served on Board of Directors for both chapters, served on hospitality committee or as chair, program committee and others. In 2002 helped to establish an Organ Scholarship program for teens and young adults in north Iowa region, with private funds, awareness fund-raising events and support from community college foundation. As Secretary on behalf of our chapter, I intend to get acquainted with as many members as possible and discover ways we can keep our chapter growing, and vital to you.
Mark Koskamp spends his weekends at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Indianola, Iowa, where he serves as organist and directs the adult choir. He studied math and music at Central College in Pella, Iowa and now works at the Principal Financial Group in Des Moines. He has served as treasurer and dean of the Central Iowa Chapter of the AGO and was on the steering committee of Des Pipes, Des Pedals, Des Moines, the ten-state regional AGO convention held in 2011. Mark was inspired to study music by his grandmother, herself a church organist. His keyboard teachers have included Norma Faust, Max Daehler, Julia Amada and Davis Folkerts.
Zach Hastings, a native of Ankeny, IA, currently serves as Director of Music at Pacific Hills Lutheran Church (LCMS) in Omaha, NE. He as previously served as Director of Worship and Music at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Bayport, MN; Director of Worship and Music at St. Stephen Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Urbandale, IA; and several other churches in central Iowa. He is a graduate of Iowa State University, with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. During his time at Iowa State University, he served as President and Secretary of the Music Student Representative Council. His principal teachers include Dr. Miriam Zach, Ruth Harris, Ahreum Han Congdon, and Dr. Tin-Shi Tam.
In addition to serving on the Central Iowa AGO Executive Committee, Hastings is also serving on the American Guild of Organists Young Organists (AGOYO) National Board. He currently works for Principal Financial Group in Des Moines while also pursuing Pre-Health studies at Iowa State University and Northwestern Health Sciences University, with aspirations to attend medical school.
Paul Hertz has been organist at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Ames since 2008. A native of Nevada, Iowa, he also plays regularly at Central Presbyterian in Nevada and St. Petri Lutheran in Story City. He has bachelor's degrees in trombone, composition, and mathematics from the University of Wyoming and a master's degree in mathematics from Iowa State University, where he studied organ with Lynn Zeigler (ISU) and Steven Hoffman (UW). Paul produces and hosts classical and local music programs on KHOI Community Radio 89.1 FM in Ames, serves on the boards of KHOI Community Radio and Ames Children's Choirs, and is a Lifetime Member of the American Guild of Organists.
Mark Kretsinger-Harries is Director of Music and Worship at Bethesda Lutheran Church in Ames. He earned a bachelor's degree in Organ Performance and a master's degree in Church Music, both from the University of Kansas where he studied organ with James Higdon and Michael Bauer and choral conducting with Paul Tucker. Mark grew up in Kansas but spent several years in State College, PA where he was dean of the State College chapter of the AGO, served several churches, and founded the Aestas community choir. Mark's interest include organ building, historical performance practice, and church arts ministry, and he is an active composer, arranger, and recitalist.
Mark Shultz has previously served on the Central Iowa AGO executive committee as member at large and sub dean. He started serving as a church musician at the piano at age 14. After moving to Des Moines in 2006, he started serving as assistant organist, becoming the principal organist a year later at Ankeny First United Methodist Church until 2016. Mark has successfully led an organ replacement effort as well as the restoration of a local historic instrument. For his day job, Mark has primarily worked in the technology field, starting with systems and networking at the age of 15, eventually transitioning into software development and systems analysis. Mark also represents the Levsen Organ Company in Central Iowa. He would like to see our chapter meeting regularly as a body for both enrichment and social events. Mark would also like to see us reach out more to local churches, and to promote the organ and its music to people or all ages.