Utah Valley Chapter Organized

How did the Utah Valley chapter come to be? 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.

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. In 2019, the chapter will celebrate its 40th birthday!

Founding Charter Members

Parley L. Belnap, Michael C. Bigelow, Heidi Brown, Janice Burton, Douglas E. Bush, Robin Cardon, Don Cook, C. Gerald Dick, Gladys Farmer, Verena Hatch, Lillian Heil, J.J. Keeler, Erla Knudson, Lawrence E. Weidmann, Steven Wright, Zara Tonks

Past Deans

1979—1980:  C. Gerald Dick

1980—1981:  Michael L. Bigelow

1981—1982:  Dr. Don Cook

1982—1984:  Dr. Douglas E. Bush

1984—1986:  Joan Stevens

1986—1987:  Dr. Brett Zumsteg

1987—1990:  Scott Mills

1990—1992:  Thomas K. Hinckley

1992—1994:  Carol Dean

1994—1996:  Lella Pomeroy

1996—1998:  Larry Tomkinson

1998—2000:  LuJean Moss

2000—2002:  Dr. Parley L. Belnap

2002—2004:  Cynthia Wells

2004—2006:  David Chamberlin

2006—2008:  Nancy Christensen

2008—2010:  Mike Carson

2010—2012:  Florence Hawkinson

2012—2016:  Sheri Peterson

2016—2018: Quinten Knudsen


History & Purpose of the National Organization

The American Guild of Organists (AGO) is the national professional association serving the organ and choral music fields. The Guild serves approximately 20,000 members in more than 300 chapters throughout the United States and abroad.

Founded in 1896 as both an educational and service organization, the Guild seeks to set and maintain high musical standards and to promote understanding and appreciation of all aspects of organ and choral music.

The purposes of the American Guild of Organists are:

  • To advance the cause of organ and choral music, to increase their contributions to aesthetic and religious experiences, and to promote their understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment.
  • To improve the proficiency of organists and choral conductors.
  • To evaluate, by examination, attainments in organ playing, choral techniques, conducting, and the theory and general knowledge of music, and to grant certificates to those who pass such examinations at specified levels of attainment.
  • To provide members with opportunities to meet for discussion of professional topics, and to pursue such other activities as contribute to the fulfillment of the purposes of the Guild.
  • Guild sponsored activities include a series of examinations for professional certification as well as programs and an extensive list of publications, CDs, DVDs, and learning resources for all levels of interest. The Guild sponsors competitions in organ performance and improvisation and in organ and choral composition. National and regional conventions held in alternate years, present the finest performers. THE AMERICAN ORGANIST magazine, published monthly by the AGO, is the most widely read journal devoted to organ and choral music in the world.