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

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist!
In this issue:
  • Sub-Dean's Message
  • November's Challenge: Learn a Baroque chorale prelude
  • December's Challenge: Record a piece for the Christmas informal
  • Let's talk about AGO certification - Jennifer Morgan, CAGO
  • Diversify Our Repertoire - Miranda Wilcox
  • Did you know? Private instruction has many benefits
  • Pedal extensions for sale
  • Piping Up! - Organ Concerts at Temple Square
  • Eccles Organ Festival - Andrew Unsworth performs November 8
  • New chapter member! Harold H. Stuart, CAGO
  • We value your membership
Sub-Dean's Message
Heidi Rodeback, CAGO

Hello Friends,

In November, as we continue our year of challenges for organists, we are inviting everyone to choose, prepare, and perform a Baroque chorale or chorale prelude—and yes, we mean you!

We’re already looking forward to the annual March Bach Recital, and we want you to join us on the program. We know it’s a challenge, but we’re inviting you to start early and we’re supporting you with some fantastic resources.

Here’s how it works:

First, work through the handout you’ll find in this newsletter. It links to some brief but solid introductions to the art form, featuring works of Martin Luther, Bach, Brahms (non-Baroque), and others.

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 articulate touch, which is key. Best of all, join us for November’s video presentation on the Baroque chorale prelude, given by Dr. Neil Harmon of the BYU organ faculty.

Dr. Harmon is highly regarded as a composer, conductor, and organist, and has been teaching students in all of these areas since 1989. He holds degrees in organ performance from Brigham Young University and the Eastman School of Music and served for 19 years as full-time music director and organist at Grace United Methodist Church in Wilmington, Delaware. He has also served as a guest organist in the Salt Lake Tabernacle at Temple Square since 1991.

Please check the UVAGO YouTube channel after November 15 for Dr. Harmon’s presentation. We’ll email you a link as soon as the video becomes available. After you’ve watched Dr. Harmon's tutorial, we’re confident you’ll be able to rise to our challenge and perform with us in March.

Are you also preparing for December’s Christmas informal? You’ll find directions for recording and submitting your video later in this newsletter. The submission deadline is coming right up on November 23. Whether you’re performing in the Christmas informal or not, we hope you can join us for the Facebook Watch Party on Thursday, December 10. Otherwise, you can watch later, on the UVAGO YouTube channel.

Thank you for joining us in this year of challenges! We are all striving to become better organists, and we're grateful to have company on this journey. If there's more we can be doing to support you in your needs, please get involved and let us know!
Heidi Rodeback

P.S. 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?

October's Challenge: Organ Registration
October’s challenge presented an opportunity to learn or review general principles of organ registration. Jennifer Morgan led us in the discussion, and, as promised, here is one of the the documents she used in the Zoom meeting. 
Quick Organ Registration Guide
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, 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. 

Then join us for Dr. Neil Harmon’s presentation about Baroque chorale preludes on the chapter's YouTube channel. The video will become available on YouTube after November 15. 
December's Challenge:
Record a Piece for the Christmas Informal
We invite you to prepare a favorite or new Christmas piece to share with the chapter at our annual Christmas Informal. The informal will be online this year, so we are asking you to record and upload your video (instructions below). The chapter will watch the videos of the Christmas pieces together on Thursday, December 10, at 7:00 pm as a Facebook Watch Party. The deadline for the video submissions is November 23.
How to record your video for the Christmas Informal 

1. Choose the piece you would like to play. If you are looking for a new piece to try, check out free pieces, most in public domain, on IMSLP in the "Scores Featuring the Organ" and the "Scores Featuring the Organ (arr)" categories. Try a title search for "Christmas," "Noel," and "Carol.” 

2. Submit the title and the following information about the piece as soon as possible to Miranda Wilcox at Please include:
  • your name,
  • the title of the piece,
  • name of the composer,
  • the title of the volume (if you are playing a piece in a book),
  • the publisher of the sheet music,
  • the date the sheet music was published.
For example: Chloe Smith plays “Silent Night” by Jim Kasen (Christmas Postludes, Vol. 1, Jackman Music, 2004).
3. Make a video recording of you playing the Christmas piece that you would like to share with the chapter at the Christmas Informal. The videos will be shared on the chapter's YouTube channel and a Facebook Watch Party on Thursday, December 10, at 7:00 pm. 4. After the video is ready, you will upload the recorded video to the chapter's Google Drive account by November 23. Look for instructions in the November newsletter on how to upload your video. 

How to upload your video to the chapter's Google Drive account 

NOTE: 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. (Supported video formats: MOV, MPEG4, MP4, AVI, WMV, MPEGPS, FLV, 3GPP, WebM.) 
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.  Create a message or description of your piece, if desired, and click the post button.

And finally, if you need help with any of the processes above, please reach out to: Miranda WilcoxMike Carson, or DeeAnn Stone.

An invitation to...

Enhance your organ skills!
Jennifer Morgan, CAGO

Thank you to all those who expressed an interest in learning more about the AGO's certification program and receiving training. It looks like Wednesday, November 11, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. will work well for those who have already reached out to me. Anyone who would like to join the Zoom meeting is welcome!

That evening we'll present an overview of the different certification options, see who is interested in which aspects of training, and make plans to go forward. We may even have time to do a little bit of training.
I look forward to "meeting" each of you.

Jennifer Morgan

Here's the information to join the Zoom meeting on November 11:

Topic: AGO Certification Information Meeting
Time: Nov 11, 2020 06:30 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting 

Meeting ID: 947 7966 1421
Passcode: 043383

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...
Dame Ethel Smyth (22 April 1858 – 8 May 1944) 
Dame Ethel Smyth was the first female composer in England to be honored with damehood. She composed songs, operas, chamber music, and works for piano, orchestra, chorus, and organ. 

Ethel Mary Smyth was born on April 23, 1858 in London as the fourth of eight children of Major-General John Hall Smyth and Emma Struth Smyth. Ethel made music with her sisters and mother; they played and transposed by ear. A governess introduced Smyth to Beethoven’s piano sonatas and was a catalyst for Smyth’s musical passion. 

She began composing church music at age twelve and studied harmony as a young adult. Against her father’s wishes, she enrolled in the Leipzig Conservatory at age nineteen. Dissatisfied with the quality of teaching at the Conservatory, she studied with Heinrich von Herzogenberg and met many of the most significant composers of the day, including Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvořák, Clara Schumann and Tchaikovsky. Later she wrote that she learned in Germany “the necessity, and acquired the love, of hard work, as well as becoming imbued with a deep passion for Bach, which I think is in itself an education” (Smyth, Impressions that Remained, Vol. 1, 273). Her love for Bach led her to organ lessons while visiting her family in England in the summer of 1885. She describes herself as being “bitten with organ playing, which, as a sort of athletic exercise, appealed to me far more than the violin, not to speak of the prospect of tackling Bach on his own instrument” (Smyth, Impressions that Remained, Vol. 2, 111). In England, she studied with Sir Walter Parratt, the first professor of organ at the Royal College of Music, and Sir Frederick Ouseley, a professor of organ at Oxford University. 

Smyth composed five chorale preludes for the organ, most likely between 1882 and 1884. They were published by Novello in 1913 (now available in the public domain). Smyth’s chorale preludes drew on the German Lutheran chorale tradition, a tradition that was initiated by Martin Luther’s translation of Latin hymns into the vernacular. In “The Organ Music of Ethel Smyth: A Guide to Its History and Performance Practice,” Sarah Moon explains that Smyth composed in the three primary forms of Baroque chorale preludes (52-75). Her “Du, o schönes Weltgebäude,” the first setting of “O Gott, du frommer Gott,” and “Erschienen ist der herrlich’ Tag” are cantus firmus or melody chorales in which the chorale tune appears in one voice with little embellishment; Johann Pachelbel cultivated this form. Smyth’s second setting of “O Gott, du frommer Gott” is a short chorale canon. Her “Schwing dich auf zu deinem Gott” and prelude on “O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid” are ornamental chorales in which the chorale tune appears in one voice with extensive ornamentation; this form was developed by Heinrich Scheidemann and Dieterich Buxtehude and employed by Bach and Brahms. Listen to Angela Kim play Smyth’s "O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid," her best known organ piece today.  Moon concludes that Smyth’s chorale preludes “reference stylistic elements of the Baroque era and the effects of the Bach revival through her choice of text, use of counterpoint, and conservative harmonic structure” (2). Smyth also composed “Prelude on a Traditional Irish Air” for organ which was published in 1939. Her unpublished organ works, including several unfinished fugues, are now archived at the British Library. 

Smyth returned to England in 1890 and made her orchestral debut in London with her Serenade in D and Overture to Shakespeare’s ‘Antony and Cleopatra.’ She devoted the next two decades to writing operas, which were performed in Europe and North America.  The opera that received the most acclaim was The Wreckers; it premiered in Leipzig in 1906 and three years later in England. 

In 1910 Smyth joined the Women's Social and Political Union, a suffrage organization led by Emmeline Pankhurst. Like many suffragettes, Smyth was arrested and jailed in her efforts to win the right to vote. Smyth composed  "The March of the Women" in 1911, and it became the anthem of the women's suffrage movement.  

With her many ties to Germany, Smyth was devastated by World War I. She served as an assistant radiologist in a French military hospital in Vichy from 1915 to 1918. After the war, Smyth received many honors in recognition of her compositions. She became a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1922, and she was the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate in music from Oxford University in 1926.

Her last major piece, “The Prison” (1931), was recorded for the first time this year by Chandos. Hearing loss gradually impeded composing, and she turned to writing memoirs.  

Smyth resisted conforming to social and musical expectations; she particularly despised being characterized as a “lady composer.” She exclaimed, “Because I have conducted my own operas and love sheep-dogs; because I generally dress in tweeds, and sometimes, at winter afternoon concerts, have even conducted in them; because I was a militant suffragette and seized a chance of beating time to The March of the Women from the window of my cell in Holloway Prison with a tooth-brush; because I have written books, spoken speeches, broadcast, and don't always make sure that my hat is on straight; for these and other equally pertinent reasons, in a certain sense I am well known.” 

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 your credentials and contact information to:
For Sale: Pedal Extensions 

I have some organ pedal extensions for sale (pictured below). I have all the pieces for the black and white keys. The boards sit on top of the pedal board so younger or short people can use the pedals and keep a correct posture for playing. I would like $60 or best offer. I want to recoup the costs of the wood and cutting the wood.

Thank you!
Diane Scott 
Kearns, Utah
801-349-6695 (call or text)

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: 

Andrew Unsworth to perform on November 8

Tabernacle Organist Andrew Unsworth will perform a solo recital on Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 8:00 PM in the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Salt Lake City. The program will last about 60 minutes and will include works by Johann Sebastian Bach, César Franck and Louis Vierne. Free in-person attendance passes are still available. Click below for more information:
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
New Chapter Member!

Harold H. Stuart, CAGO, is moving to Lindon in a few months, so he switched his chapter affiliation from the San Jose chapter when he renewed. Harold is currently serving on the National AGO Technology Committee. Welcome, Harold!
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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