Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Newsletter • April 2021

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist!
In this issue:
  • Dean's Message
  • Virtual "Bach & Baroque" member recital available on YouTube, March 31, celebrating J. S. Bach's birthday
  • April 24: Live Virtual Mini Super Saturday
  • Looking ahead to May: Chapter in-person Informal recital
  • Diversify Our Repertoire by Miranda Wilcox, featuring Margaret Vardell Sandresky (1921- ) 
  • New Member Spotlight - Dr. James Welch
  • May 28: Renee Gastelum, sophomore recital
  • BYU Organ Online Training Sessions
  • Piping Up! - Organ Concerts at Temple Square
  • We value your membership
Dean's Message
Miranda Wilcox

Dear Friends, 
I would like to invite chapter members and friends to enjoy the virtual Bach recital on our chapter YouTube channel. The playlist of chapter members sharing pieces by Bach and other Baroque composers will be available on Wednesday, March 31. Many of the performers will share chorale preludes that they have been working on for monthly organ challenges. I share the Schübler chorale that I learned last spring in the early months of the great pandemic pause—Wo soll ich fliehen hin [Whither shall I flee] (BWV 646). Bach evokes images from the Lenten hymn of fleeing from sin and Christ’s flowing blood with a running motif. This chorale prelude became part of my pandemic soundtrack and seemed appropriate to share a year later. Here is a link to Wolfgang Zerer playing this chorale prelude for the Netherlands Bach Society, a wonderful resource for Bach’s music. 

Please join the chapter on April 24 for our first virtual mini Super Saturday from 9 to 11 am on Zoom. We are excited to learn from Seth Bott, Jay Goodliffe, and Bradley Dickson. Seth Bott, our keynote speaker, received his DMA in organ performance from the University of Kansas last May, and many will remember his contributions to Super Saturdays while an organ student at BYU. Seth currently serves as Director of Music and Organist at St. James Episcopal Church in Midvale, Utah, works in the school of music at the University of Utah, and teaches private students. The title of his keynote presentation is “Bearing Testimony through Hymn Playing.” Jay Goodliffe, a member of our chapter and accomplished organist, will share five tips for effective organ practice. Bradley Dickson, a BYU organ student, will share online resources for organists. After the presentations, we will have the opportunity to ask the presenters questions and socialize in break out rooms on Zoom.

The chapter plans to meet in person for an Informal on Saturday, May 15 at 7 pm at the Spanish Fork Stake Center, 1006 East 200 South, Spanish Fork. We invite you to share music that you have been working on for the organ challenges and any other pieces. We will follow the social distancing guidelines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the Informal. 

Best wishes for a Blessed Holy Week and very Happy Easter. 

You're invited to a party! Enjoy the virtual Bach & Baroque recital in commemoration of J. S. Bach's birthday on our chapter YouTube channel. The recital will be available on the YouTube channel on Wednesday, March 31.

Here's the list of pieces and performers:

(NOTE: The order on the YouTube playlist may differ.)

Buxtehude - Fuga in C Major, Bux WV 174, performed by Katherine Rosenvall

J.S. Bach - Wachet auf BWV 645 performed by Heidi Rodeback

J.S. Bach - Herzlich tut mich Verlangen, BWV 727, performed by John Hoopes on Hauptwerk using Azzio sample set

J.S. Bach - Wo soll ich fliehen hin, BWV 646, performed by Miranda Wilcox

J.S. Bach - ADAGIO, BWV 974, arranged and performed on piano and organ by Mike Carson

J.S. Bach - “Vater unser im Hemmelreich,” BWV 737, performed by Margo Wilcox

Buxtehude - “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ,” BuxWV 196, performed by Lori Serr

J.S. Bach - Nun komm der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599, performed by Janet Blackmer

J.S. Bach - In dir ist Freude, BWV 615, performed by Rex Ripplinger

J.S. Bach - Schafe können sicher weiden (Sheep may safely graze) from Cantata 208, performed by Rob Stillmar

April organ challenge...
Topic: UVAGO Virtual Mini Super Saturday
Time: Apr 24, 2021 09:00 AM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 998 6415 2062
Passcode: 890199

Glen Hicks, the chapter's social media coordinator, has created an event on Facebook for the upcoming Super Saturday. We would appreciate your help in publicizing this event. Here is the link so you can share it with your organ friends:
Looking ahead to May...
The chapter plans to meet in person for an Informal on Saturday, May 15 at 7 pm at the Spanish Fork Stake Center, 1006 East 200 South, Spanish Fork. We invite you to share music that you have been working on for the organ challenges and any other pieces. We will follow the social distancing guidelines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the Informal. A stop list for the organ in the stake center will be provided in next month's newsletter.

Diversify Our Repertoire 
by Miranda Wilcox

In addition to enriching our organ skills by participating in the monthly organ challenges, chapter members are also invited to accept the challenge to learn a work by a woman or minority composer and perform this piece at the member recital in May 2021.  

Sadly, little of the organ music performed or recorded is by women or minority composers. Organists and audiences are missing out on unknown or forgotten gems. Every month I will spotlight an organist and invite the chapter to "diversify our repertoire."

This month's featured musician is...
Margaret Vardell Sandresky (1921- ) 
Margert Vardell Sandresky was born to a musical family in Macon, Georgia in 1921. She grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina where her father was a professor of organ and composition at Salem Academy and College, founded by the Moravian Church in 1772. Sandresky’s musical development was deeply influenced by her musician parents. She recalled, “I made up little pieces on the piano and my mother or father would transcribe them for me, until I was old enough to write out the notes for myself.” She became the fourth generation of women composers in her family. Her mother was a pianist and singer, and her grandmother founded the Conservatory of Music at Flora MacDonald College.

Sandresky studied organ and composition with her father at Salem College, graduating in 1942. She earned her Master of Music in composition from Eastman School of Music in 1944, and she studied organ with Helmut Walcha in Frankfurt on a Fulbright grant in 1955. She also studied improvisation and composition in Frankfurt, and each week she composed a fugue and a chorale prelude in the style of Bach for homework.  

Sandresky balanced performing, teaching, parenting, and composing. She taught at Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Texas at Austin, but she returned to Salem College as professor of composition and theory from 1946 to 1986. She also established the organ department at the North Carolina School of Arts in Winston-Salem. In 1956 she married musician Clemens Sandresky, and they had three children. Her compositions have been commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, the North Carolina Music Teachers Association, and the American Guild of Organists. Sandresky received the distinguished composer of the year award by the American Guild of Organists in 2004. Her compositions are characterized as very approachable tonal music, much of it based on hymn tunes. “When I sit down to play the organ, it is another way of speaking,” Sandresky says. “I love the many colors and the sense of power that you get from the organ.” Here is a recording of the premiere of her "Veni Sancte Spiritus: Five Versets on the Golden Sequence" and a selection of Five Sacred Dances, including “I will bow down toward your holy temple.”  
Ten volumes of Sandresky’s organ music are published in Wayne Leupold’s Contemporary Organ Repertoire series. I gathered information for this spotlight from Virginia L Haisten’s preface to the first volume and from Wanda Duncan’s “Fluent in Music.” 
New Member Spotlight

The chapter welcomes James Welch (DMA, AAGO) to Utah Valley! Jim comes from California's Santa Clara University where he was University Organist and lecturer in music since January 1993. He also served as organist at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto. Learn more about his fascinating career at: “I’m happy to be here,” Jim wrote in an email, “and I look forward to being involved with the Utah Valley chapter.”
Renee Gastelum to present sophomore recital

It's nearing the end of the school year at BYU, and so we're entering the student organ recital season! Renee Gastelum will perform her sophomore recital on Friday, May 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Madsen Recital Hall, Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU.

All BYU student recitals are planned to be streamed on the BYU School of Music website. They are open to the public as well, but due to COVID there are restrictions as to how many people can attend (i.e., maximum of 20 in the Madsen Recital Hall).

BYU Organ Online Training Sessions

This is a monthly offering of nine different topics of interest to early-level church organists, including those serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All events are free of charge and available to pianists and organists in any location. 

Each month includes a 2-part series:
  • a live presentation on the given topic
  • and a live masterclass that follows up on the topic discussed in the presentation.
The live presentations take place on the first Thursday of each month, followed by the mid-monthly masterclasses (reinforcing the same topic) on the third Thursday of the month, both from 7-9 pm Mountain Time. Previous sessions may be viewed online. Contact Sharee Thompson at for assistance in finding the recorded sessions.

Learn more by clicking the button below to enroll for the sessions of interest. We hope to see you at many, if not all of the training sessions!

Dr. Don Cook
Sharee Thompson
Learn More

The five accomplished Tabernacle and Temple Square organists, Richard Elliott, Andrew Unsworth, Brian Mathias, Linda Margetts, and Joseph Peeples, plus occasional guest organists, are featured in a new online concert stream: 

We Value Your Membership

The chapter appreciates your continued support of its mission to "engage, support, and uplift every organist." If you already have a membership, you may receive an email reminder when it is time to renew it. Your contributions enhance the chapter's ability to sponsor monthly organ events each year. Please reflect on how your associations in the guild have supported and uplifted you, and consider joining or renewing today!. 
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