Photos of far off cathedrals, impressive pipe organs, and shining accolades aplenty adorn the walls in a comfortable office, a collection completed only by the warmth of family photos hung with pride. “I really lucked out,” the gentleman explains, as modest as he is kind. “People have been very kind to me.” Brian A. Bogey, a master of the pipe organ, a talented musician and a beloved teacher, has impacted the lives of many through his music and benevolent spirit.
“I was born and raised in Jamestown,” he recalls with a smile. “I took piano lessons since age five.” He recalls his first piano teacher being his grandmother, passing down a love for the ivory keys. Later, he also took pipe organ lessons, furthering his dedication to music. “Then I was really interested in the pipe organ,” he explains. He attended Jamestown High School, studying under A Cappella Choir director Donald Bube, a man he held in highest esteem. Bogey Graduated from SUNY Fredonia, and later pursued a career in teaching.
Mr. Bogey looks back fondly on his 34 year teaching career, proud of his students, their accomplishments, and contented with the daily impact he made on their lives. “I taught three years in Mayville, and 2 years in Ripley,” he says. “After that, it was 31 years at Jamestown Public Schools.” Starting out at Jefferson Middle School, Bogey describes a lively and loyal bunch of students, which were one of his favorite groups to teach. “I love that age group,” he explains.
He was reluctant to leave his spot in the middle school when asked to become the director of the A Cappella Choir, a highly cherished Jamestown tradition he once was a member of. “I refused,” he says. “Who wants to follow two legends?” Founded in 1924 by Ebba H. Gorenson, the A Cappella Choir had a long reaching history, with a reputation for splendid music and amazing talent. A year later, Bogey was informed that he was to become the director, despite his original refusal – an involuntary transfer.
“A job I didn’t even apply for – and I got it!” he exclaims with a laugh. “I’m glad they made that decision because it was always fun at the high school – I am most fond of those years.” Throughout his tenure as director, Mr. Bogey opened doorways into new and exciting opportunities for his students, with performances at the National Basilica in Washington, D.C., Westminster Cathedral in London, England, New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Toronto, Canada, St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, the Basilica at Innsbrook, Austria, the Cathedral in Salzburg, Austria, and many more.
During this time, the A Cappella choir became known as the “Choir of Cathedrals”, bringing their angelic music into hallowed halls across the globe. Under his direction, the choir also went to many NYSSMA competitions, receiving superior ratings for several years. In 2003, he retired from his position, however not from making music. “It was a great honor, being a student and then becoming the director of that choir – we became more than just a class. We were a family.”
Mr. Bogey went on to become the choral director at Jamestown Community College, as well as the Organ Instructor at SUNY Fredonia. Spreading his passion for music at a college level was also a treat..” During his time at JCC, he had the pleasure of directing the Jamestown Community College Choir. “We just had a wonderful time – it was wonderful.” He says.
In his own right, Mr. Bogey is a highly esteemed organ player, performing more than 25 Dedicatory Organ recitals in both Pennsylvania and New York State. In 1969, he was the official organist of the American Baptist Assembly Grounds in Green Lake, Wisconsin. He also served as the Assistant organist for Chautauqua Institution for seven years. He has been involved with several churches, as a choir master and choir director, making a joyful noise unto the Lord. Currently, he serves as the Minister of Music and Worship arts at Zion Covenant Church in Jamestown, NY. “I had the church job always, the high school, and taught privately,” he explains, his love of music encompassing much of his life.
In the sparse moments of spare time, he enjoys spending quality time with his family. “I love to visit the family,” he explains, motioning to photos prominently placed on his desk. Bogey and his wife Sandra Kae have two daughters, Kristin and Kathryn, and a son, Johnathan. “Kristin is a teacher – she has two boys now, so she stays at home to raise them,” he beams, showing a photo of the grandchildren. “Katie live in Chicago, and is attending the Booth School of Business, a part of the University of Chicago.” His son, Johnathan, recently graduated from University of Buffalo Law school. “I am very proud of my family,” he says with a smile.
Throughout the years, Brian Bogey has let music lead, lending his kind heart and extraordinary talent to organizations, churches, schools, and students to bring the magic of melody into the hearts of many. “My life has been all about music – music, music, music!” He says, smiling. “It always stays with you.” From directing choirs in a multitude of cathedrals and bringing organ music to the masses, to making music class fun for his students, Bogey has certainly made a profound impact on the Jamestown area and beyond – one note at a time.