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

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist!
In this issue:
  • Sub-Dean's Message
  • January Challenge: Creating Preludes from a Hymnal with Mike Carson - Jan. 14
  • Looking ahead to February: Embellishing hymns
  • Looking ahead to March: Bach & Baroque virtual member recital on YouTube
  • In case you missed it...Christmas Eve Festival Organ Recital by David Chamberlin
  • Deadline approaching: 2021 AGO Quimby/Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO)
  • Enhance your organ skills with Jennifer Morgan
  • Diversify Our Repertoire by Miranda Wilcox, featuring Barbara Harbach 
  • Eccles Organ Festival - Kenneth Udy performs Jan. 10
  • BYU Organ Online Training Sessions
  • Piping Up! - Organ Concerts at Temple Square
  • We value your membership
Sub-Dean's Message
Heidi Rodeback
Hello Friends!

It’s January, and the bleak midwinter is upon us. If we measure by the calendar, it's a new year, a time for new beginnings and re-dedications. By other measures—the school year, for example—the year is half over. For us in the UVAGO, our year of challenges is in full swing. We have loved seeing new faces in our Zoom conversations, and we were inspired by no less than 15 beautiful performances in the Christmas Informal. (If you missed it, it’s not too late—you can still catch these performances at the UVAGO’s YouTube channel:

In January, we’re offering two more challenges for organists. The first is to join us in a Zoom discussion on the art of creating preludes from hymns. Led by the talented and personable Mike Carson of This event will take place on Thursday, January 14, at 7:00 p.m.

The second is the all-important decision to choose, and then learn, a Baroque chorale prelude to perform in March. Keep reading for instructions on how to record your selection, and if you haven’t already done so, be sure to watch Dr. Neil Harmon’s YouTube lecture: He’ll guide you through the technique and the literature and make you feel like nothing could be easier.

Of course, you’ll feel differently once you start practicing, but it’s January, and we’re ready (in the words of Charles Wesley) to “finish the work,” to “[fight our] way through.” Never were better words written for organists than these, first published under the title "The Changing Year" in Wesley's 1750 Hymns for New Year's Day
Come, let us anew . . . our talents improve 
By the patience of hope and the labor of love.

And I especially love this extra verse, omitted from most hymnals:
Our concert of praise
To Jesus we raise . . .
The joy it imparts
Is heaven begun in our musical arts.

Happy New Year to you all, and happy practicing!
Heidi Rodeback
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 presentation; other months we’ll invite you to record and post your performance online, or join us for a premier on our YouTube channel.
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?
December's Challenge:
Record a Piece for the Christmas Informal
Chapter members and friends celebrated Christmas organ music with recorded videos of their performances of favorite Christmas pieces. The videos are featured on the chapter's YouTube channel. If you missed it, click here to watch the Informal on YouTube.  
January's challenge....
January's challenge is to learn how to create artistic preludes at the organ from a hymnal considering timbre (tone) and texture. Have a copy of HYMNS from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a pencil in hand as you watch.
Join Zoom meeting on Thursday, January 14 at 7:00 p.m.
Meeting ID: 967 8256 0264
Passcode: 643305
Looking ahead to February's challenge...

Join Zoom meeting on February 26 at 7:00 p.m.

The UVAGO will hold its annual Bach recital virtually in March 2021. We hope you will share a recording of your performance of a piece by Bach or any chorale prelude or other piece by another Baroque composer. Please upload your piece onto the chapter's Google Drive following the instructions below by March 15. A recital playlist will be made public on the chapter's YouTube channel on Bach's birthday, March 31.
  • Make a video recording of you playing the piece by Bach or another Baroque composer that you would like to share with the chapter.
  • Here are some tips about recording on mobile devices from an AGO webinar.
  • If you would like help recording your piece, please contact UVAGO board member Margo Wilcox ( 
  • If you would like to record your piece on the Bigelow Opus 16 tracker organ at the Provo Central Stake Center, please contact Laura Pettersson ( to make arrangements.
  • Please record in one of the following video formats: MOV, MPEG4, MP4, AVI, WMV, FLV, 3GPP.
  • After the video is ready, you will upload the recorded video to the chapter's Google Drive account by March 15. Once you've uploaded your video to the chapter's Google Drive account, DeeAnn Stone will upload it to the chapter's YouTube channel.
1.  Upload the recorded video from a computer or smartphone to your personal Google Drive account.  
2.  Access your Google Drive account and go to “My Drive” or "Recent."
3.  Find and select the uploaded video file. Before you share the file to the chapter's Google Drive account, be sure to rename the file how you want it to appear at YouTube. Find and click “Share.”  
4.  When the box comes up that says “Share with people and groups,” type (or copy and paste) in the area that says “Add people and groups.” 
5.  In the description caption, please include your name, the composer, the title of the piece you recorded, and the BWV number (if you are playing a piece by Bach, and if you know it). Then click the post button.

We look forward to hearing your piece on YouTube! 
In case you missed it...
Enjoy chapter member and former UVAGO dean David Chamberlin’s Christmas Eve recital at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church. The printed program notes can be accessed here (
2021 AGO Quimby/Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO)
Application deadline: January 15, 2021
The application deadline for the  2021 AGO Quimby/Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO) is fast approaching. The purpose of the RCYO is to encourage young organists to pursue excellence in organ performance and in service playing. All organists who were born after December 31, 1998, are eligible to compete. The UVAGO chapter hosts this competition jointly with the Salt Lake City AGO chapter.
For more information or to submit an application, please visit or contact Heidi Alley, chair, at or Jennifer Morgan, co-chair, at

Enhance your organ skills
Jennifer Morgan, CAGO

I don't know about you, but maybe now that the holiday season has passed, we can begin focus again on our study groups. At our Zoom meeting in November an overview of the different AGO certification options was presented, and several participants expressed a desire to form a study group. If you are still interested in joining a study group to enhance your organ playing skills, please reach out to me.
I look forward to hearing from 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...
Barbara Harbach  
Dr. Barbara Harbach is the Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emerita of Music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is an organist and harpsichordist, composer, and musicologist. In addition to performing around the world and composing in a number of genres, including opera and ballet, she has been a passionate advocate for the music underrepresented composers: Mexican, Black, and particularly women. In 1989, she founded Vivace Press to publish the music of historical women and underrepresented composers.   

Harbach first performed on a pump organ in the Appalachian hills of Pennsylvania and then received a baccalaureate degree in music from Penn State and a master of musical arts degree from Yale. She studied with Helmut Walcha and was awarded the Konzertdiplom from the Musikhochschule-Frankfurt. As a doctoral student at Eastman School of Music, she became interested in recovering women’s keyboard music. Read the fascinating story of her musical advocacy by Cynthia Green Libby in “From Bach to Vivace Press: The Metamorphosis of Barbara Harbach.” 
Harbach has edited multiple volumes of historical organ works, including the work of Elizabeth Sterling, a Victorian English organist I will feature in March, as well as Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (German composer, conductor, and pianist), Ann Mounsey Bartholomew (English pianist, organist, and composer), Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen (Italian composer, violinist, and singer), and Clara Schumann (German pianist, composer, and teacher). These editions can be ordered from Vivace Press

Recordings of Harbach’s compositions are available on the MSR Classics, Naxos, Gasparo, Kingdom, Albany and Northeastern labels, and her music is published by Hester Park, Robert King Music, Elkan-Vogel, Augsburg Fortress, Agape Music, Vivace Press, and Art of Sound Music. 

The August 17, 2020 episode of Pipedreams featured two of Harbach’s hymn tunes. She performs her arrangements of O waly, waly and Kingsfold (with surprise twists) on the 1965 Aeolian-Skinner organ at the Christ Church Cathedral in Saint Louis. Her performance is between minute 11:20 and 18:20

P.S. Here is additional information about Ethel Smyth, the organist spotlighted in the November newsletter: Leah Broad writes in The Guardian, “Without Ethel Smyth and classical music’s forgotten women, we only tell half the story.” 
Best wishes for a Blessed Year 2021 from the Eccles Organ Festival and The Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City! 

Kenneth Udy performing for the first Eccles Organ Festival Recital of 2021

University of Utah organ professor Kenneth Udy will perform on January 10 at 8:00 PM MST. The program will honor Utah's organ professors, featuring music by Bush, Keeler, and Schreiner. The Young Artists Chamber Players will join Dr. Udy in the performance of Robert Cundick's Organ Concerto.
View program & more!

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 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!. 
Learn How
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