Executive Committee

Dean

David Blumer

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Dave Blumer began playing organ while in high school and was taking lessons from his piano teacher who was also the organist at his church. He moved to Ames in 1983 and began playing at St. Paul Lutheran Church. He also served at the First Evangelical Church for approximately twelve years. He has been the associate organist at Memorial Lutheran Church in Nevada for the past 6 years. He has been a member of the Central Iowa AGO Chapter for 12 years and has served as the chapter secretary for the past four years. He has enjoyed my time serving as secretary.

Sub Dean

Dr. Miriam Zach

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ISU Email

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). ​

Secretary

Pat Crawford

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Pat Crawford began playing organ in 7th grade when their church organist was wanting to retire and the pastor suggested he teach some of the piano students to play the organ. She was active in band as a percussionist and orchestra as a viola player and enjoyed being in the Siouxland Youth Symphony. Twenty years later she decided to go back to college and took real organ lessons from Sister Arnold at Briar Cliff in Sioux City and found out how to use the feet as well as the hands. She has continually played weekend church services most of her adult life. After receiving her BA in music she did two years in Aberdeen, SD as minister of music for St Mary’s church and covered daily Mass, 5 weekend Masses, weddings, funerals and choir and also did Liturgy Music in the grade school for the younger kids. Later she took a full time job with the Iowa Dept of Transportation and worked weekends playing for various churches in the Ames and Des Moines area. She retired in 2010 from the DOT and continues to be active in the Heartland senior songbirds as director. She has been a member of the Central Iowa AGO for 15 years and on the board for six years as a member-at-large and became secretary this year when Dave Blumer became dean.

Treasurer

Mark Koscamp

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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.

Member-at-Large

Dr. Michael Elsbernd

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Michael Elsbernd is Director of Worship and Music at St. John’s Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Des Moines, Iowa, where he conducts the Cathedral Choir, String Scholars, and serves as principal organist. He is also a member of the adjunct faculty of Grand View University, where he teaches organ. A graduate of Luther College, Elsbernd earned a Master of Music Degree from Westminster Choir College of Rider University and completed his Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at the University of Michigan. He was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda (National Music Honor Society) in 1999 and was awarded a grant from the Theodore Presser Foundation in 2001, upon the recommendation of the Faculty Council for Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. The Presser Foundation grant funded Elsbernd’s dissertation project on the music of Jan Adam Reincken. His principal teachers include William Kuhlman, Eugene Roan, James Kibbie, and Marilyn Mason. Additional studies were completed with Harald Vogel at the North German Organ Academy.

Elsbernd has served terms as Repertoire and Standards Chair for the South Dakota ACDA, District Convener and Chapter Dean for the South Dakota Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), and is currently the Repertoire and Resources Chair for Iowa Choral Directors Association (ICDA). He has made concert appearances with Boston Brass, Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, Michigan Sinfonietta Orchestra, and the choirs of South Dakota State University. He has three hymn-based compositions published by Alliance Publications, Inc. Elsbernd resides in Waukee, Iowa, with his wife, Nichole Colsch, and their two children, Ethan and Abigail.

Member-at-Large

Priscilla Franken

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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 member at large 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.

Member-at-Large

Zachariah Hastings

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Zach Hastings, a native of Ankeny, IA, has 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; Bell Choir Director at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Ankeny, IA; Organist and Bell Choir Director at Bethesda Lutheran Church (ELCA) in Ames, IA; and Bell Choir Director at First United Methodist Church in Boone, IA. 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 while pursuing Pre-Health studies at Iowa State University and Northwestern Health Sciences University, with aspirations to attend medical school.

Member-at-Large

Dr. Stephen Smith

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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.

Member-at-Large

Peter Binder

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Peter Binder is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Dubuque studying in St. Pius X Seminary at Loras College. He has studied organ with Dr. Miriam Zach at Iowa State University and with Dr. Mark Baumann at St. Paul's Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids. He placed third in the North Central Regional Competition for Young Organists in 2019.