Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Newsletter • October 2022

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist!
In this issue:
  • Dean's Message
  • Upcoming Activities
  • BYU Surplus Organs for Sale
  • Utah Valley Pipe Organs website
  • Musical Adventures in Portugal
  • BYU Online Organ Workshops
  • Eccles Organ Festival 
  • Tabernacle Organ Virtuoso Performance Series
  • Piping Up! Online Organ Concerts at Temple Square
  • We Value Your Membership

Dean's Message

As winter approaches and the days get shorter, we should remember that it’s a great time.
It’s a great time to practice more diligently. Practice helps us improve as musicians, and it’s good for the soul, too. I find that when I am having a darker day, practicing brightens my mood.
It’s a great time to learn more about our instrument, which has a long and colorful history.  While we are at it, we can make plans to be a part of that history by serving others in some way.
It’s a great time to increase our enjoyment of the Christmas season. Maybe we could learn a new Christmas prelude or postlude, or improve our performance of a favorite carol.
It’s a great time to pass our enthusiasm for the organ on to the next generation. Those children who watch us as we play are learning. Perhaps we could invite them to the bench and show them our instrument. They can press the keys and listen to pallet of aural colors that are at our disposal. Perhaps in the future they will want to do that, too.
Yes, it’s a great time to be an organist, but remember, so are all the other times.
Harold Stuart, CAGO
Upcoming events
The December newsletter will provide more information about signing up to play the Tabernacle organ.
BYU Surplus Organs for Sale

BYU’s School of Music will move into their beautiful new facility as soon as it’s ready! In addition to saying goodbye to the building we’ve called home for decades; we need to say goodbye to some of our organs.

TWO of the organs that will NOT making the move are:
1) The Madsen Recital Hall’s Walcker Pipe Organ
2) The Rodgers, Model 835-B organ that currently resides in the ORGAN PRACTICE ROOM, located on the 2nd floor of the HFAC, room # E225.

Click the button below for prices, organ details, and BYU contact information.
BYU Surplus Organs for Sale
Utah Valley Pipe Organs80 and counting!

We have been surprised to find out how many pipe organs there are in Utah County—80!—many more than we initially thought. With our onsite visits to see each organ, and with the help of many other individuals, including organists, organ enthusiasts, and the Operations and Maintenance Division in the Meetinghouse Facilities Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we now feel that we have an excellent working list of the pipe organs, the buildings where they are located, and the essential details (builders, model and opus numbers, number of manuals, ranks, etc.), including numerous photos of each organ. 

We invite you to become part of the project. Please report errors, omissions, needed additions, and updated information to Mike Carson at:, or by using the contact information on the Utah Valley Pipe Organs website.

We hope this project will increase interest among organists, resulting in more training and cultural activities in those venues that house these unique instruments. You may view the instruments here:
Mike Carson
Blaine Olson
James Welch

Photo: Highland Utah South Stake, Schantz (1994)
Musical Adventures in Portugal by Margo Wilcox
Margo and her husband are serving a mission at the Lisbon, Portugal Temple.

In May we explored the National Palace and Basilica in Mafra, which was about an hour away from Lisbon by bus (but only about 30 kilometers away). The Basilica of Our Lady and St. Anthony was started as part of a vow made by King João V that if he were able to conceive an heir, he would construct a convent (and basilica and palace) to rival St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It was started in 1717 and finished in 1755.

When King João V asked the cost of a rank of carillon bells, he was told they were 400,000$, which was probably too much for a small country like Portugal. King João V immediately ordered two sets of 58 bells; he was after all the richest monarch in Europe, thanks to the gold coming from Brazil. The largest bells weigh more than 9,108 kilograms (double that plus a little for pounds), and smallest are 15.

What caught our attention was that the basilica has six organs! They were keyed to be played simultaneously, and they were built from 1792-1807 by the organ builders Fontanes and Cerveira. The pipe casings were partially constructed of gilded Brazilian wood. Two organs are installed in each of the transepts and the apse. Music was composed especially for the six organs. The organs were refurbished in 1994, and in conjunction with the city of Mafra, organ concerts are performed the first Sunday of each month.

We returned to the Mafra Basilica on a beautiful, clear, always windy day to hear the concert of the six organs. What a treat it was! Certainly an experience that can only be had in Portugal because it is the only cathedral with six organs in the same room. The closing piece was the only one of the six pieces performed was composed during the time the organs were constructed. One piece was a quartet composed in the 18th century, and it was performed by the transept organs: όrgãos de Sao Pedro d’Acantara, do Sacramento, and de Santa Barbara. One was a duet for two organs, performed on the όrgãos do Evangelho and da Epistola, the Chancel organs. The other four pieces were by famous composers, including Bach, that had been arranged for six organs by the senior organist, João Vaz. From quiet and peaceful to majestic and strong, we heard a range of pieces in a magnificent setting. If you ever come to Portugal, plan your trip so you can be in Mafra on the first Sunday of the month.

To share your musical adventure in a newsletter, email

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!

Pitches and Families of Organ Tone
Instructor: Nora Hess
November 3, 2022
7:00-8:30 pm MT

This session will explain both the names and numbers that appear on organ stops, including the four families of organ tone (principal, flute, string, and reed) along with numbers/numerals (pitch designations) and what they mean. 

Register for BYU Online Training Session

Sunday 13 November 2022 at 8:00 PM

Joshua Stafford
Director of music ministries and organist for Riverside Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, Florida and Director of Sacred Music at the Chautauqua Institute in New York

All events are held at the Cathedral of the Madeleine and live-streamed on our YouTube channel. Performances are offered free of charge. Donations are welcome.
The 28th 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
Tabernacle Organ Virtuoso Performance Series
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square is pleased to announce the inaugural season of the Tabernacle Organ Virtuoso Performance Series. Dr. Andrew Unsworth, Tabernacle Organist on Temple Square since 2007, will perform on November 4, 2022 at 7:30 pm in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. These events do not require tickets and are free of charge to the public.

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: 

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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