Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Newsletter • December 2020

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist!
Header design by Glen Hicks
In this issue:
  • Dean's Message
  • Chapter Christmas Informal - Watch Party Dec. 10!
  • Looking ahead: Creating Preludes from a Hymnal with Mike Carson - Jan. 14
  • ANNOUNCING! 2021 AGO Quimby/Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO)
  • Enhance your organ skills with Jennifer Morgan, CAGO
  • Diversify Our Repertoire - featuring Norberto Guinaldo 
  • BYU Organ Online Training Sessions
  • Did you know? Private instruction has many benefits
  • Piping Up! - Organ Concerts at Temple Square
  • Eccles Organ Festival - Utah Symphony Brass Quintet and Organ, Dec. 13
  • We value your membership
Dean's Message
Miranda Wilcox
Dear Friends, 

The UVAGO board hopes the monthly organ challenges have stretched and deepened your musical skills and engagement with the organ. We have enjoyed gathering with old and new friends on Zoom this fall. We thank Neil Harmon for his presentation about playing Baroque organ chorales, and we hope you have started working on a Baroque chorale to play in the March chapter recital.  

This month we invite the chapter to celebrate Christmas organ music on Thursday, December 10, at 7:00 pm. Chapter members have recorded videos of their performances of favorite Christmas pieces. We will view the videos together in a Facebook Watch Party (see below for the options for watching). The videos are also featured on the chapter YouTube channel. Here is the link, including a playlist of the Christmas Informal videos.  

We thank DeeAnn Stone for her heroic efforts in setting up the chapter YouTube channel and for figuring out how to upload chapter members’ videos. We also thank Glen Hicks for setting up the Facebook Watch Party. We thank chapter members for preparing and recording their pieces. It is heartening to see the fruits of braving new things to stay connected and share music with each other. 

For more local holiday organ music, watch the Brass & Organ Christmas Concert at the Cathedral of the Madeleine on Sunday, December 13, at 8:00 pm. On December 24 (and thereafter), enjoy David Chamberlin’s recorded Christmas Eve recital at Zion Lutheran Church at The program includes a really delightful piece by David Sargent, Weldon Whipple's "I Wonder as I Wander", David’s voluntary on "While Shepherds Watched.../"God Rest Ye Merry... ," and Rick Elliott's "I Saw Three Ships" —not to mention Bach, Guilmant, and others. 

May your holidays be filled with peace, health, and music. 


We are making 2020-2021 a year of achieving challenges for organists. Each month, we’ll suggest something that you can do to improve your efforts. We’ll help you by sharing handouts or worksheets and hosting online forums. Some months these will take the form of a Zoom roundtable discussion; other months we’ll invite you to record and post your performance online, or join us for a watch party on Facebook.
Click on the button below and take a minute to look at the overview for the year. You’ll find there’s something for everyone.
Organ Challenges Overview
What was the challenge last month?
November's Challenge:
Learn a Baroque Chorale Prelude

First, work through the handout below. It links to some brief but solid introductions to the art form, featuring works of Martin Luther, Bach, Brahms (non-Baroque), and others.
Handout: Baroque Chorale Preludes
Next, watch Dr. Neil Harmon’s presentation about Baroque chorale preludes on the chapter's YouTube channel at:

Next, choose a chorale prelude. The handout will point you to trustworthy collections in print or, alternatively, to a list of chorale preludes in the public domain and available free for instant download.

Then start practicing! We can’t over-emphasize the importance of working with a teacher, but if you’re on your own, go back to the handout for an introduction to the non-legato touch used in Baroque organ playing. 
December's Challenge:
Record a Piece for the Christmas Informal
This month we invite the chapter to celebrate Christmas organ music on Thursday, December 10, at 7:00 pm. Chapter members have recorded videos of their performances of favorite Christmas pieces. We will view the videos together in a Facebook Watch Party, or you can watch them on YouTube. 

How to Watch: The Watch Party will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Facebook. (You will need a Facebook account to participate.) In order to be notified that we are going live, it will be necessary for you to "Like" or "Follow" the Utah Valley AGO Facebook page. Or, just go to the page at 7:00 p.m. and watch. Here's the link:

Instructions on how to "Like" the page:
  • Go to the Page. 
  • Click Like below the Page's cover photo. 
  • When you like a Page, you automatically follow it, which means that you may see updates from that Page in News Feed. 
To follow a Page: 
  • Go to the Page.  
  • Click  then click Follow. 
  • When you follow a Page, you may see updates from that Page in News Feed. 
If you choose to "Like" or "Follow" the page, once the Watch Party starts, you will receive a notification that we are going live. The videos are also featured on the chapter's YouTube channel. Click here to watch the Informal on YouTube, including a playlist of the Christmas Informal videos.  
Looking ahead to January's challenge....
January's challenge is to learn how to create artistic preludes at the organ from a hymnal. Have a copy of HYMNS from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a pencil in hand as you watch.
2021 AGO Quimby/Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO)
We are excited to announce the 2021 AGO Quimby/Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO), which the UVAGO chapter hosts jointly with the Salt Lake City AGO chapter. The purpose of the RCYO is to encourage young organists to pursue excellence in organ performance and in service playing, and all organists who were born after December 31, 1998 are eligible to compete.
Competitors are required to play: If you would like to preview or peruse the required piece in its entirety, please reach out to Heidi Alley ( who has obtained a copy of Sonata at Sea.
For more information or to submit an application, please visit or contact Heidi Alley, chair, at or Jennifer Morgan, co-chair, at The application deadline is January 15, 2021.

An invitation to...

Enhance your organ skills!
Jennifer Morgan, CAGO

Thank you to all those who attended the Zoom meeting on November 11. In the meeting an overview of the different certification options was presented, and several participants expressed a desire to form a study group. Watch for information on certification study groups in the January newsletter. If anyone is interested in joining the study group, please reach out to me.
I look forward to working with each of you.

Jennifer Morgan

Click the button for general information about organ certification in the AGO.
Learn More

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...
Norberto Guinaldo (1937- )
Norberto Guinaldo was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He studied organ with Hermes Forti at the University of La Plata and Catholic University in Buenos Aires. He was Forti’s assistant at the great four-manual Cavaille-Coll organ at the Basilica of the Holy Sacrament from 1953 to 1959. After he immigrated to the United States, he studied theory and composition at the University of California at Riverside, and he studied with Jean Langlais at the Schola Cantorum in Paris, France. 

Guinaldo has been organist at the United Methodist Church of Garden Grove, California, since 1965, where he plays the three-manual 48-rank Reuter organ. He has been organist at Temple Ner Tamid in Downey since 1962. He has performed in the United States, Europe, Argentina, and Mexico. 

Guinaldo composes music for organ, piano, choir, and ensembles. He has published 19 collections of his organ music. Much of his music shows the composer meditating on scriptures and the life of Christ. Guinaldo regularly writes articles for the Garden Grove United Methodist newsletter titled “The Church Organ.”  These articles explain the history as well as the inner workings of the organ itself.   

Of interest to Latter-day Saint organists are Mr. Guinaldo's meditations and fantasies on hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as many familiar liturgical hymns and carols. Mike Carson will perform two of Guinaldo’s Christmas preludes—“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “In the Bleak Midwinter” from The New Paltz Organ Book at the chapter’s Christmas Informal on December 10, 2020. 
In case you missed it...

BYU Organ Online Training Sessions

This is a new 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 will include 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 will 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

Did you know?

Private instruction by a well-qualified organ teacher is a time-honored approach that has many benefits. The individual accountability provides motivation to practice regularly, and the instructor can focus on the particular needs of the student. Also, the interactions and friendships between teacher and student can enrich the lives of both. Visit the Utah Valley chapter's website under the Education tab to find a teacher and to inquire about their services.
If you would like to request to have your name appear on the organ teacher or substitute lists on our website, please send a photo with your qualifications and contact information to:

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: 

December 13, 2020
​​Cathedral of the Madeleine, 8:00 pm

Brass and Organ Christmas Concert

Featuring the Utah Symphony Brass Quintet

The brass section of the Utah Symphony will join forces with Cathedral Organist Gabriele Terrone in the performance of original works, transcriptions and carols. The wonderful sound of brass will pair with the Cathedral’s monumental Kenneth Jones pipe organ for a spectacular holiday performance.
Program and Bio
Join Us Virtually!
All performances of the 27th Season of the Eccles Organ Festival and all Sunday Evening Organ Recitals will be live streamed and archived on the Festival's YouTube Channel. Join us remotely from the comfort of your house; enjoy performances live or replay them later!

Detailed Season Schedule
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!. 
Learn How
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Photo by Kari Nay

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