CHASE LOOMER - First Place Winner 2018

Chase Loomer is a senior at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studies organ performance with David Higgs. A native of Charlotte, NC, Chase was awarded first prize in the 2015 AGO/Quimby Southeast Regional Competition for Young Organists and has been a prizewinner at several other competitions throughout the southeast, including the Columbia and Winston-Salem AGO competitions. Chase was also the winner of the Sarasota-Manatee AGO Chapter Competition. In high school, he was a five time Stigall Scholarship recipient. Chase has served as the interim organist at Centre Presbyterian Church in Mooresville, NC and as a VanDelinder Fellow at Christ Church in Rochester, NY, where he was awarded the inaugural Casparini Prize for excellence in organ performance. Currently, he is the Assistant Organist at Bethany Presbyterian Church in Greece, NY. Chase has also served as a summer music intern at Covenant Presbyterian Church and Christ Episcopal Church, both in Charlotte, NC. His previous organ teachers include Dr. Patrick Scott and Dr. Katie Ann McCarty, and he studied piano with Dr. Dylan Savage and the late Dr. Ruskin Cooper. Chase has an interest in jazz piano and was a member of one of the Eastman jazz ensembles in 2015. As a singer, Chase was selected for NC Governor’s School in 2012 and currently sings in the Eastman Repertory Singers and Christ Church Schola Cantorum. He was featured in the Rising Star series at the 2016 AGO National Convention in Houston and attended the 2016 OHS Convention as an E. Power Biggs Fellow. In addition, he was a featured young artist at the 2017 Pipe Organ Encounter Advanced in Birmingham, Alabama.

Elizabeth Abbott Taylor

BEN KERSWELL - Second Place Winner 2018

Ben Kerswell, the 2016 John R. Rodland Memorial Scholarship recipient, is a senior organ performance major studying with Dr. Catherine Rodland at St. Olaf College. Winner of the 2017 North Central AGO/Quimby Regional Competition, he will perform as a Rising Star at the 2018 National AGO Convention in Kansas City. Before attending St. Olaf College, Ben studied organ with Joanne Rodland and piano with Elizabeth Martyn. He has performed solo recitals in Iowa City; St. Paul, MN; New York City; and Ridgewood, NJ. A section leader in the St. Olaf Choir, he most recently sang with and accompanied the group on their international tour to Japan and South Korea.  He has held organist positions at Pompton Valley Presbyterian Church in NJ, Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in Pequannock, NJ, and All Saints Episcopal Church in Northfield, MN. He now serves as the organ scholar at The Church of St. Louis, King of France in St. Paul, MN.