Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Newsletter • September 2019

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist
Dean’s Message 
Lori Serr, BM, CAGO, NCTM

We are excited to welcome everyone back to a new year of events and activities in the Utah Valley Chapter! All of the executive and supporting board members for our chapter will continue to serve again this coming year, with the addition of one new member, Heidi Rodeback, who will be the publicity officer. She has many valuable talents and skills, and she will be a great asset to our AGO board!

Some of the goals the board has set for the chapter for the upcoming year include:
  • Encourage and strengthen members and welcome new members and visitors
  • Provide opportunities for members to perform
  • Focus on strengthening and building organ playing skills for young organists
We hope that the activities and programs planned for this upcoming year will help us in accomplishing these goals.

Some of the events include informative lecture/recitals; an organ crawl; member recitals; Pedal, Pipes & Pizza for the youth, etc. And a very important event for our chapter will be the 40th Anniversary Gala in October! We have a very special and fun evening planned to celebrate this milestone! (We invite Utah Valley composers who would like to showcase their music at the Gala, i.e. bring their music to display on a table and meet/greet chapter members after the program portion of the evening) to contact Miranda Wilcox via This is an event you will not want to miss!

Also, a new event this year will be a Super Saturday Hymn Playing Workshop in April.

We value all members of our chapter and hope that everyone feels a part of the group! We hope to continue building and nurturing relationships and friendships within the guild as we work “to strengthen and engage the members,” as was stated by Elizabeth George, director of AGO Member Engagement and Chapter Development.

We need you and look forward to meeting you at the chapter events!

Lori Serr, Dean
Other Upcoming Chapter Events 
September 7:
Recital by Felipe Dominguez, Provo Central Stake Center, 1220 West 500 North, 7:00 p.m. (details below).

October 18 (Save the Date):
Opening Social - 40th Anniversary Gala, 1315 East 900 South, Provo, 6:30 p.m. Door Prizes!

November 9:
Lecture/Recital by Andrew Fellows and Neil Harmon, time and location to be determined.

Christmas Organ Music Informal, Provo Sunset Stake Center, 1560 South 1100 West. Hosted by Blaine Olson, date and time TBA.

Organ Crawl and Bench Time on a Notable Organ in the Valley

February 8:
Pedal, Pipes & Pizza (for youth), 10 to noon, home of Sarah Reed and Ruth Eldredge Thomas, 883 North 1200 East, Provo, from 10:00 a.m. to noon.

Bach Birthday Recital at the Provo Central Stake Center, 450 North 1220 West, date and time TBA. 

April 25:
Super Saturday Hymn-Playing Workshop, 9:00 a.m. to noon, Orem YSA Third Stake Center on Geneva Road

Closing Social and Member Recital, Spanish Fork Stake Center
La musica per tastiera italiana nella Seconda Prattica

Seventeenth Century Italian Keyboard Music

Felipe Dominguez, organ

September 7, 2019
7:00 PM

Bigelow Op. 16
450 North 1220 West, Provo

Photos from the (Very) Informal Member Recital in June
Our informals are very enjoyable. It's fun to interact with one other and share music together in a relaxed, unstructured format. Here are some photos from the informal on Saturday, June 15, at the home of Ruth Eldredge Thomas (top left). Other participants were Blaine Olson, who played a hymn submission; Gayle Farnsworth; Laura Pettersson; Katherine Rosenvall, Melanie Jones, and Mike Carson (not pictured).
Recitals! Recitals! Recitals!
Sebastian Greim
September 3, 2019
St. Ambrose Catholic Church, SLC
7:00 p.m.
Young German organist, Sebastian Greim, will give a recital at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Salt Lake City on Tuesday evening, September 3, at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. The church is located at 2315 E. Redondo Avenue (1975 South).

Greim was born in 2000 in the vicinity of the Fichtel Mountains in Bavaria, Germany. At a young age he began playing the accordion and later branched out to the organ and piano. He currently studies the organ under Reinhold Schelter in Wunsiedel, Bavaria. In 2018, he won first prize in the German “Jugend Musiziert” (“Young Musicians”) competition. Since that time, he has given numerous organ recitals and performances with soloists, including mezzo-soprano Anna-Katharina Hilpert. Having successfully passed his A-level examinations in 2019, Sebastian will begin his university studies in church music in 2020. During his spare time, he volunteers as a paramedic for the German Red Cross.
Upcoming Recitals on Temple Square 
Neil Harmon – September 2 (Labor Day), 12:00 p.m. in the Tabernacle and 2:00 p.m. in the Conference Center. Music of Buxtehude, Vierne, Landes, and Harmon. Lasts about 30 minutes. You rock, Neil!
Raúl Prieto Ramírez, recently appointed San Diego Civic Organist, performs at the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Friday, September 27, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. Free admission.

The performances of Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego’s Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ, have been described with words such as “sizzling,” iconoclastic,” and “transcendent.” Performing a wide-ranging classical and popular repertoire on the pipe organ with the flair and bravado of a matador, this Spanish master has a riveting way of entertaining general audiences of young and old, music experts, and casual listeners like few others.

Christophe Mantoux – October 30, 7:30 p.m. in the Tabernacle at Temple Square. Mantoux is Titular Organist at the Church of Saint-Séverin in Paris, and Professor of Organ at the Pôle Supérieur and the Conservatoire régional de Paris, where he teaches students from all over Europe, the United States, South America, South Korea, and Japan.
Upcoming Recitals at BYU 
Neil Thornock – September 17, 7:30 p.m. in the Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU, in the Madsen Recital Hall. Featuring the premiere performance of Thornock's Planetarium, a series of pieces for organ and electronics that evoke a journey through the expansiveness of space. Free admission.

BYU Organ Faculty Recital: Don Cook, Neil Harmon, Neil Thornock – February 6, 2020, 7:30 p.m., Madsen Recital Hall. Free admission.
Eccles Organ Festival
The Eccles Organ Festival is an internationally recognized organ recital series, which seeks to provide the highest quality and most engaging organ performances free of charge to Salt Lake audiences, as well as masterclasses and public lectures.

The Eccles Organ Festival is made possible by a generous grant from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, with additional funds from the Salt Lake Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, the Salt Lake County Zoo Arts and Parks Program and many Friends of the Eccles Festival.
Amanda Mole to play the Inaugural Recital of the 26th Season
International prizewinner Amanda Mole will kick off the 26th Season of the Eccles Organ Festival on Sunday, 8 September 2019, at 8:00 PM with a wonderfully varied program that will highlight the instrument's power and color, not to mention the performer's virtuosity. Amanda Mole is one of the leading concert organists of her generation, a DMA Candidate at the Eastman School of Music and Director of Music at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Rochester, and at Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Webster, New York.
View the entire 2019-2020 Eccles Organ Festival schedule.
Eccles Schedule
A Pilot Program

The AGO Achievement Awards are designed to assist and encourage early-level organists as they improve their skills. A mentor from the chapter volunteers his/her time and energy throughout the process – from planning through completion. The candidate, who must be a chapter member, prepares the requirements independently or with the help of the mentor, a teacher, a chapter member, or friend. He/she may then complete the requirements at any time during one or more appointments with the mentor. This process provides a simple way for the chapter to involve new organists in chapter activity, and to encourage them to continue their education through AGO certification.

Our chapter is one of four that has been selected to do a field test of the five new Achievement Awards. They are designed to help brand new organists to take steps in the direction of learning to play the organ.  All five tests have been attached as well as everything that the chapter, the mentor (assigned by the chapter), and the candidate need to begin. Mentors should ideally hold an AGO certificate or a college degree in organ. Also, the program is free to members of the guild.
This program was announced at Super Saturday in April and a few who were interested signed up for more information. 
Read over the material and consider ways to go about testing it out in our chapter.  A few of the board members discussed introducing it to some of their new students.
Guidelines & Requirements
National AGO Volunteer Organist Pilot Program

In January, 2017, the AGO Councillor for Education, Dr. Don Cook; the Committee on Membership Development and Chapter Support; and the AGO National Council voted to introduce a pilot program that established a new category of membership for volunteer organists. To date, we have acquired 57 members and know that with your help, we can grow this membership.

This membership will be extended only to those who have attended an educational workshop for volunteer organists hosted by Don Cook. At the conclusion of each workshop, participants who are interested in joining the AGO will submit a Volunteer Membership Form and receive a complimentary six-month membership. Once the Volunteer Membership is processed, AGO Headquarters will send a “welcome to the AGO” email to each new volunteer member, copying the appropriate chapter dean.

After the initial six-month period, volunteer members will receive an offer to continue their membership at a discounted rate of $50. The dues are to be split evenly between national headquarters and the local chapter, each receiving $25. This introductory membership includes all the benefits of a regular AGO membership with one exception: Volunteer members may access The American Organist magazine (TAO) online, but will not receive a printed copy.

If this program is successful, this new AGO membership category will be available to any musician who earns less than $1,000 per year while serving as an organist and/or choir director.

If you know of a volunteer organist who would be interested in this category, please advise your colleague to contact Dr. Don Cook at We have asked Don to send us his schedule of upcoming workshops so that we can immediately inform each chapter of the date, time, and location of Don’s presentations.

One of the greatest benefits of being an AGO member is the community offered through local chapter meetings and programs. We encourage you as chapter officers to reach out to your new Volunteer Members during their first six months of introductory membership to immediately engage them by inviting them to chapter events, recitals and if needed, to set up carpools to support their attendance.
Help Us Grow This Membership Program!
  • Make immediate contact with volunteer organists upon receiving membership notifications
  • Add these members to your newsletter list to inform them of upcoming activities
  • Assign an enthusiastic member to offer to pick them up to attend a program and personally introduce them to other members
  • Support local workshops for volunteer organists
  • Continue to involve them in self-sustaining chapter activities
  • Offer a service through which local chapter members would be available to meet with volunteer organists to teach them about their organs/consoles.
Reminder: Please Initiate or Renew 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 your membership. If you've not become a member yet or do not receive the reminder, now is your chance!

Your contributions enhance the chapter's ability to sponsor monthly organ events each year, including Super Saturday. Please reflect on how your associations in the guild have supported and uplifted you, and consider what you can do to help. Thank you!
Learn How
For Temple Organists
At the informal in June, Laura Pettersson reminded us that Verena Hatch had made arrangements for manuals of many of the Primary songs and some hymns for temple organists.

Click the button below to view all 13 approved Primary songs for temple use and a few approved hymns. (Note: When printing, enlarge print size ratio to 125%.)
View Primary Songs and Hymns
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