The Portageville Chapel Board
Timothy Smith, Executive Director, earned degrees in organ performance from Wheaton College, Northwestern University and The Boston Conservatory. His concert career has included a dozen appearances at annual conventions of the Organ Historical Society, several which have been rebroadcast nationally on Pipedreams, and two appearances with The Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa. He has released three compact discs on the Raven label, including a program of French music entitled Pipes and Angels, recorded in New Bedford, Massachusetts. As a church musician, Mr. Smith has led both volunteer and professional choirs and has conducted numerous works for choral and orchestra. A skilled organ builder, Tim is also the owner of Chesapeake Organ Service, serving churches in Maryland, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Mr. Smith spent his early years in Wyoming County, New York, beginning formal organ study with Charles Finney, professor at Houghton College and continuing with Squire Haskin, organist of the Buffalo Philharmonic. Letchworth State Park was a favorite “go-to” in those days, and Tim continued to return to the area. He first noticed the Portageville church building in 1996, and sensed that Portageville would be an ideal artists’ getaway.
Helen Smith, President, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, attended Denison University ( Granville, Ohio), and graduated from Cornell University New York Hospital School of Nursing. She worked 30 years as an R.N. in various capacities in locales from Massachusetts to California. An avid music lover, she sang with Robert Shaw in the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus for 2 seasons. She married Rev. Carlyle A. Smith in 1969, and, in addition to thirty years of parish ministry together, they owned and operated a motel on Cape Cod for 3 seasons.
Barbara Hunt, Secretary, a native of Detroit, studied organ at Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, and served as an organist/choir director for over 20 years. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Education and taught in the Columbus, Ohio Public Schools for 31 years.
John Novak, Treasurer, is the School Business Official at Letchworth Central School and also serves as Organist and Director of Music at University Presbyterian Church, Buffalo. John holds degrees from Binghamton University (M. Mus. in Organ Performance), the University at Buffalo (M, Ed. in Educational Leadership) and Houghton College
(B. Mus. in Music Education). He is very involved in music organizations in Western NY, serving as president of the Genesee Valley School Music Association, Past-Dean of the Buffalo Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), and Western New York District Convener of the AGO. An accomplished music educator, John served as the middle and high school choral director and general music teacher at Letchworth for over 10 years before moving into school administration.
Thom Robertson, Marketing Director, recently retired as full-time Director of Music at Grace Episcopal Church in Alexandria, VA and is now the the Director of Music at Green Acres Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, VA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Richmond and a Master of Sacred Music degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX where he was an organ student of Robert Anderson and a choral conducting student of Lloyd Pfautsch. He has also held full-time church positions in Hampton and Danville, VA, Amarillo, TX, and in St. Paul, MN, and was National President of the Association of Anglican Musicians from 1996-1998. He has taught organ, harpsichord, and studio piano as Adjunct Professor at West Texas A & M University in Canyon, TX, and was Principal Organist and Harpsichordist for the Amarillo Symphony.
Dr. Judy Congdon is Professor of Organ and College Organist at Houghton College (just about 15 miles south of Portageville). She holds degrees in organ from Eastman School of Music, the University of Colorado ( Boulder), Wheaton College, and the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt, Germany, where she was a Fulbright Scholar. An active performer and church musician, Dr. Congdon's recent activities have included serving as presenter, recitalist, and service organist at the January 2006 Calvin Symposium on Worship, and she is featured on a 2005 CD release entitled With Heart and Hands and Voices: Hymns and Chorales for Organ, available from ww.apadrecordings.com.
The Portageville Chapel Advisory Board
Edla Ann Bloom is Treasurer of The Leo Sowerby Foundation. Her career has included diverse positions: Former and only female Chairman of the Board of Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (a $3 billion corporation); Senior Vice President of Retail Banking in a large New England Bank; Director of Electric Service of a $10 million municipal electric company in Central Massachusetts; Former Executive Director of the most comprehensive AIDS Service Organization in New England. Her civic accomplishments include Directorships with Montachusetts Girl Scout Council, Worcester Community Housing Resources, America Red Cross of Central Massachusetts, Holden ( Mass.) Chamber of Commerce. She was honored by Governor William F. Weld when July 9, 1997, was declared Edla Ann Bloom Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Randolph R. Bloom has been a public middle school language arts teacher for the past 35 years in Holden, Massachusetts. He holds a BA in English and MA in Education. As a musician, he has served as assistant organist for Wesley Methodist and All Saints Churches in Worcester, and a substitute organist throughout the Worcester area. Raised and worked in Worcester area all his life. Randy's interests include travel, architecture, antiques, and gardening. Together Randy and Edla Ann own an 1850’s home in the Crown Hill historic district of Worcester, where they actively support historic preservation and community action.