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date: 17 September 2019

Bitgood [Wiersma], Roberta locked

  • J. Michele Edwards

Extract

(b New London, CT, Jan 15, 1908; d New London, CT, April 15, 2007). American composer, organist and choral director. After graduation from Connecticut College for Women (BA 1928), she studied theory and organ at the Guilmant Organ School (1930), attended Columbia University (MA 1932) and was the first woman to take the doctorate at the School of Sacred Music, Union Theological Seminary (MSM 1935; DSM 1945). Her principal composition teachers included J. Lawrence Erb, Howard Murphy, Edwin Stringham (1933–5), T. Tertius Noble (1943–5) and Wayne Bohrnsted (1957–60). During her career as organist and director of music she held positions in Protestant churches and temples in New York, New Jersey, California, Michigan and Connecticut. She was the first woman president of the American Guild of Organists (1975–81). As a composer she focussed exclusively on church music, writing many anthems for young people and giving special attention to practicable works for small church choirs (e.g. ...

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