Student Competition

2022 Virtual Student Scholarship Competition

Date of Competition: Saturday, April 30, 2022

First Prize: $2,000 – provided by the Schubert Club

Second Prize: $1,000 – provided by Phil Asgian, TCAGO member

The registration deadline is Monday, February 7, 2022.


The competition is open to organists under 24 years of age as of August 1, 2022

Competitors must reside (either home or school) in the North Central Region (formerly known as Region VI): Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Previous First Prize winners are not eligible to compete in this competition.


A completed official registration form, registration fee of $50 made payable to TCAGO and an official proof of age must be sent to the competition coordinator and postmarked no later than Monday, February 7, 2022. 

Registration form and rules are available as PDFs for printing. Please read them carefully:

Official Competition Rules

Official Registration Form

Recording Submission Procedures

The procedures include information about the authentication of the recordings (use of a proctor), file format, and the uploading platform:

  • Recordings should be submitted as native WAV files or encoded as FLAC or ALAC (Apple Lossless). It is strongly advised to avoid sending your recorded files as MP3 because it is a digitally compressed format that significantly removes detail.
  • Please note: recordings made on phones and other similar devices are not acceptable.
  • The proctor will upload the file to the TCAGO Competition 2022 Google link and send an email to the competition coordinator ( confirming the completion of the uploaded file.
  • Recordings will be accepted starting Monday, April 11, 2022 through noon on Monday, April 25.
Please read the Recommendations for Recording document to obtain a high quality recording for the judges to accurately evaluate your performance.


1. A prelude and fugue (BWV 582 is acceptable; BWV 553–560 and 572 are not acceptable)

OR, two contrasting movements of a Trio Sonata by J. S. Bach.

2. A work by a composer born between 1800 and 1890 (a single movement of a larger work is acceptable).

3. A work by a composer born after 1890 (a single movement of a larger work is acceptable).

The works in categories 2 and 3, above, must be contrasting in mood.

4. Hymn (choose one)

- Nicaea (Holy, Holy, Holy)

- Lobe den Herren (Praise to the Lord, the Almighty)

- St. Columba (The King of Love My Shepherd Is)

The competitor will introduce the hymn and play two stanzas as if accompanying a congregation. One stanza must be played in a standard four-part setting. Published or improvised arrangements maybe used for the introduction and/or other stanza.

The registration deadline is Monday, February 7, 2022.

For more information contact:

Dr. Mary Newton, Competition Coordinator

3930 Lancaster Lane, #220

Plymouth, MN 55441

Cell: 612-581-3106


North Central Regional AGO/Quimby 2021 Competition Winner

By Mary Newton

The North Central AGO/Quimby Regional Competition for Young Organists was held virtually on Saturday, May 8 and Sarah Palmer (the April 17 Twin Cities chapter winner) was awarded first prize. As the regional winner, Sarah will receive $1,000 from the National AGO and will be a Rising Star performer at the 2022 National Convention in Seattle. Sarah is a student at St. Olaf College and studies organ with Dr. Catherine Rodland.

The judges for this round of competition were Kris Langlois (Concordia University, St. Paul), Greg Peterson (Luther College, IA), and Eileen Hunt (former Vice President of the AGO/Councilor for Competitions and New Music).

Congratulations, Sarah!

The Twin Cities AGO is pleased to announce the winners of the AGO 2021 Quimby Competition

By Mary Newton

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2021 AGO/Quimby Regional Competitions for Young Organists were virtual competitions. The Twin Cities competition was held on Saturday, April 17. In consultation with the National AGO and TCAGO chapter dean David Jenkins, a scenario was agreed upon that minimized risk to everyone involved and still allowed the Twin Cities to be a venue for the competition.

On the day of the competition, the three judges – Laura Edman, Jacob Benda and Sam Backman – and I gathered in person at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Minneapolis to listen to the recordings. We all wore masks and observed social distancing. We had an excellent sound system and the recordings were of high quality. There were three competitors who submitted recordings, and the schools represented were St. Olaf College, Northfield, and Dordt University, Sioux Center, Iowa. Each recording was played without interruption, like an in-person performance. After hearing all three recordings, the judges deliberated and chose the first and second place winners.

The first-place winner, Sarah Palmer, St. Olaf College organ student of Dr. Catherine Rodland, won the $2,000 award sponsored by the Schubert Club. She will go on to represent the Twin Cities at the regional virtual competition on May 8. Additionally, one of her recordings was featured on the May 2 TCAGO Chapter Virtual Meeting.

The second-place winner, Katie Gunn, St. Olaf College student of Cathy Rodland, won the $1,000 award, which was generously sponsored by TCAGO member Phil Asgian. A recording of hers was featured on the May 2 TCAGO Chapter Virtual Meeting.

A special thank you to the judges for being a part of this competition and to Sam Backman for hosting our group at Holy Cross! I am grateful we could host a competition this year.

First Place Winner: Sarah Palmer

Junior, St. Olaf College, and Student of Cathy Rodland

Sarah Palmer is a junior at St. Olaf College studying with Catherine Rodland. She began studying the organ two years ago. During the summer of 2019, she attended the Jacobs Organ Academy at Indiana University and studied with Christopher Young. She has transcribed many pieces for the organ and is currently focused on music for concert band. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys reading, exercising, and playing the piano and trumpet.

Second Place Winner: Katie Gunn

photo credit: Grace Alexander

Sophomore, St Olaf College, and Student of Cathy Rodland

Katie Gunn is a sophomore at St. Olaf College pursuing a B.M. in Church Music/Organ. She is a student of Dr. Catherine Rodland and Organ Scholar at Colonial Church of Edina, MN. Katie studied with Carol Rosenthal and Dr. Mattilda Middleton prior to her time at St. Olaf. Growing up in Indianapolis, she sang in the choir of Christ Church Cathedral from 2007-2019. She has attended numerous RSCM courses: the Carolina Course in 2015 and 2017-2019 and the Washington, D.C. Course in 2016. In the summer of 2020, Katie was an intern at the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation in Indianapolis.

Congratulations to both!

For more information contact:

Dr. Mary Newton, Competition Coordinator

3930 Lancaster Lane, #220

Plymouth, MN 55441

Cell: 612-581-3106


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