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Bloomfield, New Jersy
Clarence E. Whiteman studied organ with Roberta Bitgood while he was enrolled at Bloomfield College and Seminary (see: Interview with Clarence Whiteman).
Buffalo, New York
Ruth Storner Barrett of Charlotte, North Carolina, now retired, grew up in Olean, New York, and studied with Roberta Bitgood after graduation from Skidmore College. She had also studied organ under Dupre in Fountainbleu. She was the assistant organist at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, before serving St. Peter's Catholic Church there. In later years Mrs. Barrett was organist at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, also in Charlotte.
Carl B. Staplin undertook his early training was with Roberta Bitgood, winning a regional organ-playing competition under her guidance. He continued his studies with Arthur Poister at Syracuse University, and later at the Yale School of Music under Charles Krigbaum and Finn Videro. He enjoyed a long career as Professor of Organ and Church Music at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and was also Minister of Music and Organist at the First Christian Church in Des Moines. He has published organ, choral, and instrumental works, as well as a textbook entitled Make A Joyful Noise! - 500 Years of Sacred Music. In 1993, Dr. Staplin was the featured recitalist of the Roberta Bitgood Jubilee organized by the New London County chapter of the AGO.
Riverside, California
Dale Wood studied organ with Roberta Bitgood while he was still a teenager, engaged as the organist and choirmaster at Eden Lutheran Church in Riverside. He had already enjoyed a degree of success as a young hymn composer, and worked regularly as an entertainer, foreshadowing his later prolific career as a composer of immensely popular works for church choirs, organ alone and organ with instruments. During the Riverside years he collaborated with Dr. Bitgood in organizing many ecumenical and AGO events in the greater Riverside-San Bernardino area. He later served as organist and choirmaster at the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin in San Francisco, authored a unique guide to music notation, and finally became influential as a publisher of sacred music.
Bay City, Michigan
MaryAnn Balduf studied with Roberta Bitgood as a high school student, and then continued with Eugene Bossart, Benning Dexter and Maynard Klein at the University of Michigan. She has been active as National Secretary of the Organ Historical Society, as well as a frequent recitalist for OHS national conventions.
Battle Creek, Michigan
Julia Goodfellow Colingsworth prepared her Master's Recital at Western Michigan University under the guidance of Roberta Bitgood, and subsequently pursued a joint career in church music and counseling. She currently serves as organist of the First United Methodist Church in Holland, Michigan. During 1998 and 1999 Julia was the prime mover in gathering materials for an oral history project documenting Dr. Bitgood's life, and in soliciting a collection of supporting reminiscences from Dr. Bitgood's friends and colleagues in many parts of the country. Julia single-handedlyshaped the whole into a manuscript, and the book was published in 2000 as Swell to Great: A Backward Look from My Organ Loft.
New London, Connecticut
Matthew Kelly studied organ with Roberta Bitgood as a high school student. After winning the Bitgood Scholarship (1997–1998), he continued his organ studies with John Anthony, and then attended Salve Regina College, where he majored in music. His choral composition entitled The Lamb was performed by the Saint Clement Choir at the 2006 national convention of the AGO.
Michael Noonan was attracted to the organ as a youngster while Roberta Bitgood was organist at his church, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, in Mystic. He began to study with Dr. Bitgood at age 15, became her assistant, and at college majored in music education. He also won a fellowship to undertake training in choral conducting in England. Michael Noonan now teaches instrumental music at Wheeler Middle and High Schools in North Stonington, and serves as Minister of Music at North Stonington Congregational Church. He also is accompanist for the Williams Chorale in Attleboro, Massachusetts.


Last revised April 10, 2019

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