Utah Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists
Newsletter • January 2020

Engage, Support, and Uplift Every Organist
Message from the Dean 
Lori Z. Serr, BM, CAGO, NCTM

Dear Friends,

In December one of my piano students reminded me during his lesson that not only was a new year approaching but that a new decade would begin! The significance of this didn’t occur to me until I started noticing news accounts of events that have happened in the last decade and the effects of them on our lives.

As I reflect on the past 10 years of chapter activities, I have come to realize that so many of them are memorable and have made an impact on our lives as organists and organ enthusiasts. Some of these events included training, education, pedagogy, service, recitals, tributes, lectures, etc. As I have noted before, many of our members have had important roles in these events. I appreciate the devotion and energy of many who freely give of their talents and abilities in our behalf.

Associating with fellow organists and making connections with each other cause us to reflect on dear friends and colleagues who have passed during the last 10 years. Their noteworthy contributions have made enduring impressions on us.

Claire B. Rogers (1941-2010)
Thomas K. Hinckley (1933-2010)
LuJean Robinson Moss (1937-2011)
Verena Ursenbach Hatch (1922-2012)
Gerald Dick (1939-2013)
Douglas Bush (1947-2013)
Robin Cardon (1929-2017)
Carol Dean (1947-2018)
Paul Duncombe (1946-2018)
Parley Belnap (1928-2018)
Levente Medveczky (1991-2019)

Our chapter has experienced a prodigious decade of promoting, celebrating, and enjoying the organ. Consider joining us in upcoming chapter activities, as we endeavor to make another memorable 10 years!
Upcoming Chapter Events 
This Month!
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. 
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. RSVP:
March 20:
Bach Birthday Recital at the Provo Central Stake Center, 450 North 1220 West, 7:00 p.m. To play in the recital please contact Heidi Rodeback at
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.
Jay Goodliffe assists Jennifer Morgan at the December chapter informal, with Blaine Olson looking on. Members and friends of the chapter shared favorite Christmas music on the Johannes in the Provo Sunset Stake Center.


Highland Central Stake Center, 5853 West 10400 North, Highland, Utah 

Three Tracks Available at the Training on Saturday:
  • Youth - Experience the Organ!
  • How To - How to be confident at the organ with the basics
  • Beyond the Basics - More advanced training
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 & Register
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 Organ Festival Recital
Sunday 12 January 2020 – 8:00 PM
Dr. Neil Harmon, organist
Professor of Organ at Brigham Young University-Provo

Dr. Harmon joined the organ faculty at Brigham Young University in Fall 2018. Prior to his appointment at BYU he worked as full-time Director of Music and Organist at Grace United Methodist Church in Wilmington, Delaware for 19 years, where he became known throughout the region for his fine choral conducting, organ playing, composing, and arranging. 

The concert is free and open to the public. No tickets or passes are required.
Eccles Schedule
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 joining or renewing today!. 
Learn How
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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