The Taylor Organ Competition was established by the Atlanta Chapter of the American Guild of Organists to honor long-time chapter member, Elizabeth Abbott Taylor. In October 2006 the Chapter received a generous bequest from Mrs. Taylor’s estate and the first competition was held on Saturday, April 21, 2012. The Chapter Endowment Committee, Bobby Mays, Chair, invested the Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund in a separate account to support a national young organist competition every three years. The Executive Board of the Atlanta Chapter appointed Sarah Martin, Chair, and committee members Sarah Hawbecker, Bobby Mays, James Mellichamp, Charlene Ponder, Arlan Sunnarborg and Timothy Wissler, to set up the parameters for the first competition.
Elizabeth Abbott Taylor, 1904-2005, an Atlanta native, lived in a two-story Victorian house in the historic Grant Park area of the city from age 18 to the time of her death. She earned her music degree from Cox College in College Park, GA, and began teaching piano upon her graduation. She attracted students from all over the city, and taught into her 80s. Mrs. Taylor also developed a career as an organist and choirmaster, serving several churches in the Atlanta area. She was a parishioner at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, where the first competition was held. She specified in her will that her estate be divided between the Atlanta Chapter AGO and the Atlanta Music Club to create scholarship programs to benefit talented young musicians.