A competition held each year in Syracuse, New York that has a strong Galion connection was won earlier this month by Valentina Huang, a remarkable talent who seeks to connect her cultural heritage with her organ playing.

More about Huang can be found here.

This prestigious event celebrates the rich legacy of Galion’s Arthur Poister, one of America’s eminent organists and pedagogues. Arthur Poister served as music director at Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel from 1948 to 1965, and as an organ professor from 1948 to 1967. Poister was taught by such masters as Marce Dupre, organist of St. Sulpice in Paris.

The competition was created in his honor in 1976 and stands as one of the leading contests of its kind in America​.

Poister was a graduate of Galion High School. Born in 1898, Poister died in 1980 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery. He grew up in a house which still stands on Harding Way West, now the home of Claire Filiberti.

While growing up in Galion, Poister played for services at both First United Church of Christ, his home church, and at Grace Episcopal. He was a student of Bessie Todd, who also taught Galion and Crestline residents Herb Krichbaum, Joyce Hayden Cating, and Boyd Epperson. This line of instruction continues today with Galion organists and pianists Thomas Palmer and Amy Baxter Jarvis, both students of Krichbaum.

The competition serves as a platform for organists at the collegiate and early professional level to showcase their talent. The competition process involves a preliminary round of recordings, followed by a final live performance round. The final round of the 2023 competition was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Syracuse, featuring three finalists, Valentina Huang, Dale Nickell, and Jennifer Shin.

Prizes for the competition include a first prize of $5000, funded by the Arthur Poister Endowment Fund of Syracuse University, and a recital engagement on the historic and fully restored Crouse College Holtkamp organ at Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music. The second prize is $3000, funded by the Arthur Poister Endowment Fund of Syracuse University, and the third prize is $1500, funded by the Syracuse Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. A $500 Audience Prize is also awarded.

Source: Syracuse Chapter/American Guild of Organists; Image by scholacantorum from Pixabay