A Few of Our Favorite …

Organ Collections

Compiled by Eric Dundore

To create this list, I contacted all our UCCMA members who had listed "organist" in their job duties about the collection of pieces they use most often and would recommend. Many thanks to those who responded to benefit anyone reading this issue. Our organist colleagues have shared these with us with no seasonal or specific use in mind.

St. Augustine's Organbook: 10 Preludes on Gregorian Chant Melodies

Gerald Near
Aureole Editions
I'm constantly searching for fresh, modern settings of familiar hymns and chants. Gerald Near never disappoints. This volume has composer notes at the end to explain themes and enlighten on registration. This is only one of several collections of Gerald Near's organ music.

— Fran Morton, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Ramsey, NJ

A Wedding Music Anthology

Compiled/edited/arranged by David N. Johnson

Augsburg Fortress Press

This "Fiftieth Anniversary Edition" is compiled from the original 5-volume books from the '70s & '80s. This collection is useful in any worship or concert setting and has been on my organ rack for decades. Around 65 works also include 57 pages of instrumental parts at the back of the book for those pieces that could use an instrumentalist. The book is spiralbound and well worth the $42 (current price) to round out your music library.

— Dr. Craig Scott Symons, First Congregational Church of Greenwich, CT

Sunday Jubilation

Jason Payne

Lorenz Publishing

Jason Payne has a beautiful arrangement of "Jesus Loves Me" that I make sure to use at least once a year. This composition captures the majesty and the playfulness of life with Christ. I love to play anything by Payne or John Dixon and Jess Perks.

— Christine Deaner-Rogers, Pilgrim UCC, Fond du Lac, WI

Gospel Prelude Collection

Charles Callahan

MorningStar Music Publishers

Although I have not used every single piece included, I have used "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" and "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" most often.

— Jane Eiker, Trinity UCC, Gettysburg, PA

Vox Organi

Edited by Dudley Buck

Published by JB Millett, 1896. Four volumes hardbound

I was lucky enough to be gifted by one of my predecessors who played this back in the 40s, and I still enjoy playing a lot of good old Victorian music. If you do a Google search, some copies are still out there.

— John Parsons, First Congregational Church, UCC, Southington, CT.

The Biggs Book of Organ Music

Edited and Arranged by E. Power Biggs

Jubilate Music Group

While some regard him as more of a showman, there can be no doubt that one of the most influential organists in the 20th century was E. Power Biggs. The Biggs Book of Organ Music is an anthology of 24 gems I've referred to so many times in my career that I had to order a second copy to replace my worn-out volume! Most are well-known and accessible for organists with modest abilities, although a couple require more advanced skills. Some pieces apply to all church liturgical seasons, weddings, and funerals. At $14.99, it's also easy on the budget.

— Jim Boratko, Frist Church, West Hartford, CT

The Ultimate Organ Book

Hal Hopson

Hope Publishing Company

This collection has 150 selections – all very useful and from all periods of history. Some keys are different but made lovely and not ruined. When I wore a younger man's clothes, I could play the Widor (especially the climax). This version has been altered slightly, and artistry prevails. This is an excellent collection-even for seasoned organists.

– Peter Stickney, Newfield Congregational Church, Newfield, ME

Toccata Brevis

Daniel E. Gawthrop

Sacred Music Press

I don't have an anthology to recommend; however, there is one piece I find worth mentioning. It isn't as challenging as it sounds and is worthy of an Easter postlude or other festive occasion. You get a lot of "bang for your buck" in this one.

– Karen Crosby, South Church Congregational, Centerville, MA

Pageant for Pipes, 24 Festal Pieces for Organ

Kevin Mayhew LTD, Suffolk, England #1400079

The Oxford Book of Ceremonial Music for Organ

Oxford Press, #Ox261DP

Fanfare for the Common Man and other Favourites for Organ

arr. Richard Lloyd

Kevin Mayhew LTD, Great Britain #1400483

Here are a few collections - I rarely do all pieces in these collections, and these music collections are old. I think there is value in these works, though.

— Jo Deen Blaine Davis, The Congregational Church, New Canaan, CT

The Essential Collection for The Church Organist and The Essential Collection for The Church Organist II

Compiled and Edited by Jane Holstein

Hope Publishing Company

These have both been invaluable in selecting music to follow themes set forth for Sunday worship. Some pieces are based on familiar Hymns, others are original compositions, and there are pieces for general use and those noted for specific seasons of the church year, all broken down into suggested categories. The books contain 55 and 50 pieces, respectively.

— Donna Murphy, West Parish of Barnstable, MA

For All the Saints; Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3

arr. by Robert A. Hobby

Augsburg Fortress

Each collection is a set of very tasteful familiar hymn arrangements for Funerals or general use. Moderately easy. I use all three volumes extensively.

— Greg Chestnut, First Congregational UCC, Sarasota, FL


Ed. - For the Journal's Winter/Spring 2024 issue, we will ask for suggestions of Handbell or Hand Chime pieces for the Lenten and Easter seasons that you would highly recommend. Please send your suggestions to Eric Dundore, Editor, at ericdundore@outlook.com by October 30th.


Come, O Come, Our Voices Raise

Composed by Peter Niedmann


The Cross of St. Peter is "a cross with the crossbeam placed near the foot, that is associated with Saint Peter because of the tradition that he was crucified head down."

— Wikipedia


The first 22 years of Worship, Music & Ministry in print.

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Worship, Music & Ministry is a publication of the United Church of Christ Musicians Association, Inc. and is issued three times a year. The journal is distributed to members of UCCMA as a benefit of membership.

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