May 13, 2009

American Guild of Organists chapter honors Webb

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Marianne Webb, Distinguished University Organist and a professor of music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, will accept the Avis Blewett Award from the St. Louis Chapter of the American Guild of Organists at the chapter’s annual banquet on May 18.

The annual award goes to a person worthy of special recognition for outstanding contributions to the organ or sacred music in the region served by the chapter.

“So many people spoke of all the good you’ve done for them and for others, of your unfailing good nature and giving spirit, that we are in complete agreement that you should be the one to receive our gratitude via this award,” Chuck Peery, dean of the St. Louis chapter, wrote in his awards note to Webb.

Webb, a native of Topeka, Kan., studied organ with Richard Gayheart, and then with Jerald Hamilton at Washburn University. She earned a baccalaureate degree in music there, graduating summa cum laude. Her Master of Music degree, granted with highest distinction, is from the University of Michigan. She studied there with Marilyn Mason, and in Paris with Andre Marchal as a Fulbright scholar. She also studied with Arthur Poister and Russell Saunders.

Webb came to SIUC in 1965, where she developed the organ program, including founding an organ festival that was celebrated from 1966 to 1980, and endowing an organ recital series. A special collection in the University Archives in Morris Library, named for Webb, traces the history of organs on campus, her own professional concert career and traces the professional careers of her students. The organ in Shryock Auditorium also bears her name, dedicated as such in 2001. In 2005, she received the University’s Distinguished Service Award.

Last year, Webb received the AGO Edward A. Hansen Leadership Award from the national American Guild of Organists. That award also acknowledged her leadership role in bringing organ music to the greater public.

The award presentation and banquet is at Centenary United Methodist Church in St. Louis. For more information, contact Kathleen Bolduan at 314/725-1251 or