Student Competition

2023 AGO/Quimby Student Scholarship Competition

Below is the competition announcement and links to access the application, rules, and to download the hymns from the AGO website.


1. General info about RCYO - American Guild of Organists

2. Rules

3. Repertoire

2022 Virtual Student Scholarship Competition Winners

By Mary Newton, Competition Coordinator

On Saturday, April 30, the virtual student competition was held on the campus of the University of St. Thomas.

The three judges (Jacob Benda, Chad Winterfeldt, and Jungjoo Park) and I gathered and listened to the four recordings submitted. The sound system was wonderful and the recordings were of high quality. Like last year, each recording was played without interruption, similar to an in-person performance. After assessing the recordings, the judges deliberated and chose the first and second place winners.

The first place prize of $2,000, sponsored by the Schubert Club, went to Katie Gunn, a student at St. Olaf College. Katie is a student of Dr. Cathy Rodland, coaching with Wolfgang Rübsam during her teacher’s sabbatical.

First Place Winner, Katie Gunn: 

photo credit: Grace Alexander

The second prize of $1,000, sponsored by TCAGO member Phil Asgian, went to Aaron Looney, a student at St. Olaf College. Aaron is a student of Dr. Cathy Rodland, coaching with Wolfgang Rübsam during his teacher’s sabbatical.

Second Place Winner, Aaron Looney: 

A special thank you to the judges, as well as to Jacob Benda and the University of St. Thomas for allowing us to use their beautiful facility.


Katie Gunn is a junior at St. Olaf College pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music/Organ. She is a student of Dr. Catherine Rodland. Prior to her time at St. Olaf, Katie studied with Carol Rosenthal and Dr. Mattilda Middleton. She is currently Organist at All Saints Episcopal Church in Northfield, Minnesota. She was previously Organist at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Indianapolis and Organ Scholar at Meetinghouse Church of Edina, Minnesota. Katie was awarded second prize in the 2021 Twin Cities Chapter of the AGO/RCYO Competition and has been featured on American Public Media’s Pipedreams. Growing up in Indianapolis, she sang in the choir of Christ Church Cathedral from 2007-2019. She was an intern at the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation during the summers of 2020 and 2021. In her spare time, Katie enjoys cycling and swimming.

Aaron Looney, a native of Bridgewater, Virginia, is a student at St. Olaf College where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music with an organ emphasis under Dr. Catherine Rodland. His aspirations are to continue to graduate school to pursue his master's and eventual doctoral degrees in choral conducting or organ performance. Aaron held a position as organist at Salem Evangelical Lutheran church of Mount Sidney, Virginia, for two years where he led worship as Music Minister. Aaron has also been fortunate to appear as a guest musician and substitute organist throughout Virginia and at churches in Minnesota, including Colonial Church of Edina, and the Church of St. Louis, King of France. Aaron joined the team at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Excelsior, Minnesota, in the fall of 2021 as Student Organist where he is frequently involved in musical leadership.

Congratulations to both Katie and Aaron!

For more information contact:

Dr. Mary Newton, Competition Coordinator

3930 Lancaster Lane, #220

Plymouth, MN 55441

Cell: 612-581-3106


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