Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Newsletter • April 2023

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist!
In this issue:
  • Dean's Message
  • Upcoming Activities
  • Bach & Baroque Recital Photo
  • BYU Recitals
  • BYU Organ Workshops
  • Eccles Organ Festival 
  • Tabernacle Virtuoso Performance Series 
  • Piping Up! Online Organ Concerts at Temple Square
  • Utah Valley Pipe Organs Highlight: Spanish Fork Stake Center
  • We Value Your Membership
Dean's Message

A common thing that happens when you play the organ is making mistakes during a performance. Many organists get embarrassed when they make such mistakes, which is an understandable reaction. Some reactions may even be stronger than that: some organists have refused to play in public ever again, or even quit playing altogether. I submit that negative reactions to making mistakes is neither productive nor helpful.
When should we do, then, when we make mistakes? First, we must accept that we are human and therefore making mistakes is inevitable. Instead of being upset when we make mistakes, we can take them as an indicator that our playing can still improve and use the mistake as motivation for further and better practice.
Second, we tend to forget that, generally speaking, mistakes are relatively rare in our playing. It’s really not a question of the number of notes we get wrong. Instead, it’s a question of how many notes we get right! We do ourselves a disservice when we concentrate on the exceptions rather the overall quality of our work. We should also remember that others see our playing differently. I have many times had an organist tell me that they were frustrated with their mistakes when I, who had listened to them play, did not hear any.
The organ is a unique instrument in that its primary use is religious in nature. When we play the organ, we serve our congregations by helping them unite and learn sermons in song. This is a tremendous opportunity for service. Why would we deprive ourselves of such blessings, merely because we occasionally make mistakes?
I encourage you to take mistakes in stride, practice hard, and work diligently to improve. The biggest mistake you can make is to stop trying.

Harold Stuart

Upcoming events
The Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists is excited to announce that we will once again be holding our Super Saturday for Organists! 

Super Saturday is our chapter’s gift to the growing community of church organists in Utah Valley and beyond. This free training day, held April 29, 2023 at the new BYU Music Building, is our chapter’s gift to the growing community of church organists in Utah Valley and beyond. This training is open for the public to learn more about the organ and to be inspired to improve their organ-playing skills. If you are a pianist wishing to try the organ, someone called to play for church services, or an advanced organist with the desire to meet with others who share your love for music, this workshop is for you!
Super Saturday, held from 8:00-3:00, begins with a keynote address by local organist, choral director and composer James Kasen, followed by several break-out sessions, and concludes with a hymn sing. Classes are offered on varied topics geared towards youth, beginning, intermediate and advanced organists. We invite all to come and enjoy!  Admission is free.
Pre-register here:
  • While pre-registration is optional, the first 200 attendees to pre-register will receive a complimentary boxed lunch.
  • Please note: pre-registration is required for the youth track.
  • See for the schedule of workshops.
Volunteers needed: We are currently seeking volunteers to help with Super Saturday, please sign up:
Many thanks to President Harmon and the Provo Central Stake for hosting the chapter's Bach & Baroque Recital on March 17. Thanks to the performers: Lori Serr, Levi Kelley, Harold Stuart, Linda Christensen, Miranda Wilcox, Neil Harmon, Debbie Faires, Sam Stevens, Landon Finch. Thanks Marcine Sawyer for organizing the recital, Laura Pettersson for arranging practice times, Heidi Rodeback for writing the program notes, and Katherine Rosenvall for the birthday cake.

BYU Organ Online Training Sessions

The BYU Organ Online Training Sessions for Entry-level Organists have been scheduled for the coming season. These webinars are free of charge and available to pianists and organists in any location! 

The presentations will offer a pre-recorded video from 7:00-8:00 pm Mountain Time, with interactive chat with the instructor during the video, followed by a live Question & Answer session until 8:30 pm Mountain Time. Recordings of each class will be available to view for one month following the live presentation.

Additional sessions for Beyond the Basics topics and Individual Feedback will be scheduled soon. We hope to see you at many, if not all training sessions!

Hymn Playing
Instructor: Dr. Jacob Hofeling
April 6, 2023
7:00-8:30 pm MDT

Figuring out Pedaling for Hymns
Instructor: Elizabeth Forsyth
May 4, 2023
7:00-8:30 pm MDT

The Organ for Primary Series
Instructor: Laurie Swain
May 18, 2023
7:00-8:30 pm MDT

Register for BYU Online Training Sessions
BYU Organ Workshop 2023

The BYU Organ Workshop will be held at the new BYU Music Building on August 7-11, 2023. Click here for more information and to register.
The 29th Season Replay! Did you miss a performance or want to enjoy it again? Click the Eccles Festival button below to watch on YouTube.
Eccles Festival
The Tabernacle Organists are pleased to announce that James O'Donnell,
Professor of the Practice of Music at Yale University, will perform the next Tabernacle Organ Virtuoso Performance Series recital on Friday, May 12 at 7:30 PM.

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 this online concert stream: 

Utah Valley Pipe Organs Highlight: Spanish Fork Stake Center
by Blaine Olson

The Springville Utah Stake Center at 245 South 600 East ("Kolob Circle") in Springville is home to a somewhat "unique" organ, compared to other pipe organs in the Valley.  They say that every pipe organ is unique, that no two are exactly alike, and this is true. However, there is another reason why I consider this organ even more unique: its chimes!
Installed in December of 1950, the 10-rank organ was donated to the stake (called Kolob Stake at the time) by Ernest and Norma Strong.  It was built by the Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, Kansas, who had done many installations and/or revisions to pipe organs in LDS buildings and many other churches around the country during that time period.  A memorial plaque honoring the Strongs for their donation is attached to the back of the console.
The organ has been retrofitted with a Syndyne MS8400 Master Stop Controller.  This add-on feature is similar in function to the Peterson ICS 4000 that many of our organists are familiar with.   I am only aware of a couple of other organs in the Valley that have the Syndyne system.  The control panel for this system is located in the "pencil drawer" under the right side of the keydesk, and consists of a small touchscreen from which the organist has access to a transposer plus various programmable (customizable) features (such as customizable crescendo patterns, personal memory features, etc).  The touchscreen requires a firm touch— simply swiping your finger across it won’t do anything.  I didn’t see an operating instruction manual for the Syndyne Master Stop Controller, but I found one online at:
The Great
The stop complement is fairly typical for smaller organs Reuter built for churches like LDS chapels and such during the post WWII era, with some extremely soft ranks placed in the same division as much stronger ranks to provide greater contrast.  Thus, we have a whisper-quiet 8' Dulciana in the Great to contrast with the more assertive 8' Principal in the same division.  The only other "core" rank in the Great is the 8' Clarabella;  all other Great stops are either extensions of these 3 ranks or are extensions/borrows from the Swell. . . . til we come to the Chimes.
The chimes on this organ are intriguing because, unlike most chimes on small pipe organs, they have a compass of 37 notes!  Most small pipe organs are lucky to have any chimes at all, but when they do, it is usually only 20 or 21 notes, or  occasionally 25 notes.  But the Chimes on this instrument begin at Tenor C in the Great and extend upward 3 full octaves!  Sweet!  However, they are quite soft.  I could not locate a chimes volume control anywhere on the console, not even in the Syndyne Master Stop Controller.  (However, Syndyne only puts chimes volume controls in their MS8400 units if there is already a rotary volume control on the organ, so that may explain why I couldn't find one there).  When I tried playing the chimes as a descant to a soft chorus (for "Silent Night"), I found that the Chimes could hardly be heard above anything more than 8' Salicional + 8' Celeste.  With the entire organ under the same expression, I had no way of balancing the accompaniment in the Swell to the Chimes in the Great.  This, of course, was very disappointing, as the chimes really do have a nice tone to them and a highly unusual compass of 37 notes! The chimes are digital reproductions, but very convincing.
The Swell
I'm always thrilled to have an 8' Geigen Principal or Violin Diapason in the Swell, which this organ does have!  That stop is extremely valuable in building an easy-to-hear easy-to-sing-to chorus so very important in accompanying congregational singing!  For those not familiar with what a Geigen Principal is, it is a String/Diapason hybrid stop which is definitely a member of the Diapason family of tone, but which also contains a higher-than-usual concentration of overtones associated with String stops. Its timbre is usually softer but brighter than other Diapasons, making it an ideal Swell organ Foundation stop. Typically, the pipes are cylindrical, just like most Diapasons, although they may be of smaller scale (“skinnier”) and have lower cut-up (the distance between lower lip and upper lip of the mouth), which is what gives it the “stringier” timbre.
The 8’ Geigen Principal in the Swell of this organ is extended to play also at 4’pitch.  The Swell also features an 8’ Gedeckt, 8’ Salicional and 8’ Voix Cèleste, with a nice 8’ Trompette to provide a little fire when needed.  All other Swell stops are extensions or borrows. 
As an example, the 4’ Flute in the Swell is actually borrowed from the 8’ Clarabella of the Great.  I found the 8’ Gedeckt and 4’ Clarabella, when played together, were less than satisfying, as the 4' Clarabella overpowered the Gedeckt quite noticeably.  (A Gedeckt is a very common stopped Flute, often made of wood;  a Clarabella is an openwood Flute which used to be much more common than it is today).  
The Salicional and Cèleste have just a wee bit more “bite” or incisiveness than most Strings I've heard in LDS organs, but they weren’t bad (as long as they are kept out of any chorus meant to accompany singing;  otherwise it sounds like a merry-go-round band organ).  I heard this on one of several “live” visits where I sat in the congregation during actual services to experience first-hand what the congregation hears.  We need to remind organists that Strings (and especially String Celestes) tend to damage the chorus rather than help it when accompanying singing.
Typically in small organs, the Flute chorus will consist of a stopped 8', such as a Bourdon or Gedeckt, or a half-covered Flute such as a Rohrflute/Chimney Flute, with a half-covered 4' rank such as a Koppel Flute or Spill Flute, and an open 2' Flute (which often ends up being an open extension of the 8’ rank or the 4’ rank, voiced to continue the desired timbre throughout the compass, rather than an independent 2’ rank— in order to save on space and costs).  The jump from fully stopped soft 8' Flute (8' Gedeckt) to fully open and louder 4' Clarabella without any medium-strength "Copula" effect between the two just sounded out of balance in this Swell, in my opinion.  
Informative Note
“Copula” = “to couple” — An organ stop whose function is to “couple” soft stops with louder stops, or lower pitches to higher pitches, or dull timbres to bright timbres, etc.  The “Copula” improves overall blend.  Typical ranks include Spill Flute and Koppel Flute—especially at 4-foot pitch. Koppel (in German) means “couple.”
Perhaps a 4' Spillflute would have been a better choice in the Swell of this organ, rather than borrowing from a fully open Flute in the Great, although it would mean an additional expense.
A “Footnote” about the Pedals
It’s always exciting to have a 16’ Reed in the Pedals, whether true wind-blown pipes or digital reproduction, so the Pedal department here was a nice surprise, even though the Pedal has no dedicated ranks of its own.  All Pedal stops here are borrowed from the manuals.  The 8’ Trompette in the Swell has a nice, solid tone, as it should!  So to have a 16’ Contra Trompette in the Pedal (along with 8’ and 4’ Trompette borrows from the Swell) greatly add to the versatility of the Pedal stops.
The entire organ is under expression: the display pipes are just for show, and are not speaking pipes. Memory levels can be changed using the + and - thumb pistons next to the Sforzando piston, or on the touchscreen. The Swell shades all react in unison, all blades moving together in gradual increments, as opposed to each blade moving individually, as in most Wicks organs.

To see more photos of this and other pipe organs in the Valley, click on the Utah Valley Pipe Organs link.
Utah Valley Pipe Organs
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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