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

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist
Message from the Deann 
Lori Serr, BM, CAGO, NCTM

Last month marked a significant milestone for our chapter. It was forty years ago in October of 1979 that our chapter was organized. I remember when the chapter was formed, and I’m amazed at how quickly time passes!

Reading through the names of the founding charter members, I recalled fond memories of associating with many of them. They were my teachers, professors, fellow students of the organ, and friends. Knowing them has made a difference in my life.

This thought from our chapter’s website says it well:

“Think about the many things that would be different in your life today, if the charter members had not met that night in the fall of 1979. Because of them we enjoy a community of friends who share a common cause and purpose; we are encouraged, inspired, and challenged; and we share an outlet for musical growth and improvement.”

Take a moment to look up our chapter History & Purpose on the chapter’s web page. You will soon find out that there have been twenty deans who have served our chapter since 1979. Each leader has unselfishly giving their time in promoting the organ and offering support to the members. We appreciate their dedication in our behalf!

The past activities of our chapter have included lectures, workshops, recitals, organ crawls, hymn sings, organ training for the youth, etc. You will also discover the annual traditions of the Bach recital (which has been held for 14 years) and the Super Saturday Training that has continued for 17 years!

Many of our chapter members have had a role in these activities. As we remember things that are important to us, we then build memories of events and occasions that are a part of a shared history that we have with others. It becomes our legacy that we can pass on to the next generation of organists.

As we look forward to another 40 years of promoting and enjoying the organ, please join us as we commemorate the founding of our chapter at a gala that will be held on Friday, November 22nd. It will include composers from the Utah Valley chapter who will speak and perform some of their organ works, a slideshow of UVAGO activities, refreshments, and door prizes! You don’t want to miss this event!
Chapter Dean, Lori Serr, displays the original charter that was received from the National American Guild of Organists in recognition of the formation of the Utah Valley Chapter. Photo by Kari Nay

In the fall of 1979, a group of organists gathered at the home of Ephraim and Verena Hatch in Provo for the purpose of forming a local chapter of the American Guild of Organists. The chapter was named the Utah Valley Chapter. Officers were selected, with Gerald Dick as the first dean, and a petition was then sent to National Headquarters for the official chartering of the chapter. The charter was issued October 9, 1979, and it was signed by Roberta Bitgood, National President of the AGO.
Upcoming Chapter Events 
Don't Forget!
Saturday, November 2, 10:00 a.m.
BYU, Harris Fine Arts Center, Room E-400, FREE!
November 2:
Lecture by Andrew Fellows and Dr. Neil Harmon on the Organs of Cavaille-Coll. Saturday, November 2, 10:00 a.m., Room E-400, Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU. Andrew and Neil made an extensive tour of European organs of this famous organ builder this summer, and they're going to share their experiences and introduce us to some of these organs and their amazing venues. You won't want to miss it!
November 22 :
Fortieth Anniversary Gala, 1315 East 900 South, Provo, 6:30 p.m. Hors d'oeuvres and door prizes! Performances by Neil Harmon, David Chamberlin, James Kasen, and Weldon Whipple.
December 7:
It was so much fun last year that we are doing it again! A Christmas Organ Music Informal, Provo Sunset Stake Center, 1560 South 1100 West. Hosted by Blaine Olson, 6:00 p.m. Bring Christmas music and play the Johannus organ.
Organ Crawl and Bench Time on a Notable Organ in the Valley, date and time TBD.

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.

March 20:
Bach Birthday Recital at the Provo Central Stake Center, 450 North 1220 West, 7:00 p.m.

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
Upcoming Recital at BYU 
BYU Organ Faculty Recital: Don Cook, Neil Harmon, Neil Thornock 
February 6, 2020, 7:30 p.m., Madsen Recital Hall. Free admission.

We extend a warm welcome back to Cynthia Allred, who recently renewed her membership. We look forward to associating with you at many of our upcoming events, Cynthia.
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, 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
BYU Traveling Organ Workshops Come to Utah Valley in January and February 2020
These single-day organ workshops are sponsored through the BYU Organ Department and endorsed by the General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Inform your piano and organ students, along with adult and youth organists and pianists in your circle of influence to attend one of the workshops. Registration is free!
Photo by Kari Nay

About the Workshops

The BYU multi-stake organ workshops are designed to offer training to pianists interested in learning to play the organ and to organists at every level of experience. The single-day workshops, together with a recital and hymn-sing the evening before, are customized to meet the needs of the specific geographic areas, including up to three sessions every hour on topics such as:

  • Introducing the Organ! A Tour of the King of Instruments
  • On the Bench: Things YOU Can Do On the Organ TODAY!
  • Choosing Stops to Fit the Occasion
  • Inspiring Hymn Playing
  • Effective Prelude and Postlude
  • Teaching LDS Organists
  • Developing Your Pedal Technique
  • Coping with Challenging Pedal Parts
  • Making the Most of Your Practice Time
  • Learning Organ on Your Own
  • Free (optional) mini organ lessons

NEW: There is now a special track of classes for youth and young adults!

The goal is to inspire musicians, young and old, to better serve through continued organ training. Instructors include BYU faculty and graduate student instructors, along with well-qualified local organists. 

Learn More
Organ for Sale
1985 Rodgers 655 Essex 
Very good condition and regularly serviced
Full pedal board
External speakers
Located in Provo
$2500 OBO
Contact Margo Wilcox, 626-417-9466

An organ blogger characterized the Rodgers models from the 1980s as follows:
1985-1987 [is] in the sweet spot for Rodgers analogs. Just the basics, but a nice-sounding practice organ. 
Analog Rodgers organs need tuning now and then, so you may need to call in a tech to have it tuned and the voices regulated. A competent tech should be able to do it without any trouble, as the service literature is readily available from Rodgers, and it's pretty much standard Rodgers analog anyway, very familiar and easy to service.
As I said, this is the sweet spot. Organs from that time period don't suffer from the deteriorating stop actions and other parts common with analogs from the previous decade, nor do they have the shortcuts and poor workmanship that characterised some of the analogs built about 89 or 90 when Rodgers was trying to change over to digitals and not paying as much attention to quality and details. So this is a good one. 
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.
Eccles Schedule
If You Missed It...
Important Information from Last Month's Newsletter
A Pilot Program

The AGO Achievement Awards are designed to assist and encourage early-level organists as they improve their skills. The candidate, who must be a chapter member, prepares the requirements independently or with the help of a 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.  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. 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.

The organ workshops in Highland and Saratoga Springs in January and February 2020 would qualify as the required educational workshops for volunteer organists. If you know of a volunteer organist who would be interested in this category, please advise your colleague to contact Dr. Don Cook at
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Photo by Kari Nay

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