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

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist
Message from the Sub-Dean 
Miranda Wilcox

Dear Friends,

The anniversary gala was a great success last month! It was wonderful to celebrate with so many chapter members and friends. We are especially grateful to Jim Kasen for hosting the event at the Provo Stake Center and for performing. We also thank David Chamberlin, Neil Harmon, and Weldon Whipple for performing. We are deeply grateful for Linda Rehart; she has facilitated food at our chapter events for many years; we wish her every happiness as she marries and moves from the valley.

Please join the chapter on Saturday, December 7, at 6:00 pm for a Christmas Informal. Blaine Olson is hosting us at the Provo Sunset Stake Center. We enjoyed playing the Johannus organ at this building last year and look forward to sharing Christmas music with each other again.

Amid the business and stress of the holidays, may you find peace in making music, and may you share this peace with others.

Christmas blessings,
Performances of four notable Utah Valley organists highlighted the 40th Anniversary Gala of the Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists on November 22, 2019. Each performer played several of their own compositions to the delight of an eager and appreciative audience at the Provo Utah Stake Center on the R.M. Ballantyne 2014 refurbishment. Pictured are Weldon Whipple (seated) and from left: James Kasen, David Chamberlin, and Dr. Neil Harmon. View Organ Specifications.
"Some Sunday, someone is going to walk into the chapel and bring with them a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is in indescribable misery. Whether or not they go out with hope will depend a great deal on how well you and I do our craft; how well we plan and pray to create an atmosphere where the Spirit can be felt." – James Kasen at the 40th Anniversary Gala, Nov. 22, 2019
Upcoming Chapter Events 
This Week!
December 7:
It was so much fun last year that we are doing it again! A Christmas organ music informal at the Provo Sunset Stake Center, 1560 South 1100 West. Hosted by Blaine Olson, 6:00 p.m. Come and play or listen to others play Christmas music on the Johannus organ.
January 11 (Saturday morning): 
Organ crawl and bench time on the newly renovated pipe organ at the American Fork Tabernacle! This should be of great interest to many who have ever played this organ in concerts or stake conferences. The event will be hosted by Tyler Anderson of Anderson Organ Works from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 11.
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

May 8: Save the date!
Closing social, member recital, and potluck dinner hosted by Jack Stoneman at his stake center in Spanish Fork. Time to be determined. 
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 to Margo Wilcox, who recently subscribed to a new membership. We look forward to associating with you at our upcoming events, Margo. (Margo is Miranda Wilcox's mom!)
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
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.

Sunday, December 15 at 8:00 PM
Cathedral of the Madeleine 
Brass and Organ Christmas Spectacular!

Come and celebrate Christmas with the entire brass section of the Utah Symphony and Cathedral Organist Gabriele Terrone! One hour of music that is not only good for the ears, but also good for the soul. The program, including an avant-garde solo horn work, a massive Renaissance triple choir, as well as transcriptions, carols and organ solos, will conclude with a festive hymn sing-along. The concert is free and open to the public. No tickets or passes are required.
Eccles Schedule
If You Missed It...
Important Information from Past Newsletters
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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