|Darwin K. Wolford passed away peacefully at his home in Rexburg Idaho on November 4, 2023, from causes incident to age. Darwin was born on October 19, 1936 in Logan, UT to Harry Lloyd and Lucille Lamoreaux Wolford. He was the youngest of 4 children.
As a young child, he was always fascinated with the piano and the sound of the organ. He began taking music lessons at a young age and studied under renowned musicians such as Irving Wassermann, Robert Cundick, Dr. Leroy Robertson, and Alexander Schreiner. He studied at Utah State University where he Completed BA in Organ and Composition in 1960. He continued is educational pursuits and completed a master’s degree in 1963 and a Ph.D in 1967 both from the University of Utah. His doctoral dissertation for his Ph.D was his own Symphony No. 1 which was performed by the Utah Symphony. After completion of his Ph.D he continued his studies with Ned Rorem and John LaMontaine who were both visiting composers and both were recipients of Pulitzer Prizes.
At the age of 19,he was called to be a traveling representative for the General Music Committee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He traveled to approximately 200 stakes of the church throughout the west to teach organ and conducting classes. These stakes were throughout Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.
In 1967, Darwin joined the Music Department at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) where he taught organ and music theory & composition until his retirement in 2004. He loved his career, teaching, and composing.
As a member of the General Music Committee and also as a member of the Executive Hymnbook Committee that was responsible for the creation of the 1985 hymnal and the Children’s Songbook. He composed two hymns included in the hymnbook and dozens of arrangements and compositions in the beloved Children’s Songbook. He also arranged the Hosanna Anthem, which has been sung in every LDS temple dedication since the Tokyo temple which was dedicated in 1983.
Dr. Wolford’s obituary can be read here.
|Lillian Harmon Heil (1927-2023) On March 5, 2023, long-time Utah Valley AGO Chapter member, Lillian Heil, passed away in Lindon, Utah. Lillian was a stalwart and dedicated supporter of the chapter going back many years and served as chapter historian from 2000 to 2010. She provided us with a valuable archive of past chapter activities, and will be remembered for her cheerfulness and her willingness to help when needed.
|David T. Worlton (1941-2022), CAGO, an active member of the UVAGO chapter for many years, passed away in Lehi on April 8, 2022. David and his wife Lorene raised five children in the Lehi-Highland area. He was an electrical engineer and engineering consultant at Kennecott Utah Copper and faithfully served in his Latter-day Saint congregations. According to his obituary, “At an early age, David began taking piano lessons, which he excelled at for about ten years. He became the designated pianist everywhere he went, and even played with Bud Hutchings in his dance band for three years. While serving his mission in Ireland and Scotland, he took an interest in the large organs in iconic European cathedrals. He had found his true musical outlet. After only a few lessons from Tabernacle organist, Roy Darley, David became the designated organist at nearly every church meeting from that moment on.” In 2004, David passed the AGO Colleague Exam, and he served as UVAGO sub-dean in 2005-6.
The chapter thanks Marianne Denison and her siblings for making a contribution to the chapter’s Memorial Scholarship Fund on behalf of their uncle Dave.
Photo: David & Lorene Worlton at the UVAGO 30th Anniversary on October 30, 2009
Dr. Jay Cordell Bott (1947-2022) unexpectedly passed away in his sleep, Saturday, February 19, 2022. He was a member of the Utah Valley Chapter of the AGO. Cordell loved the fine arts and music. He played the piano and cornet when he was young. He became an extraordinary pianist. Cordell also composed his own music. He loved to play the organ and served as a church organist.
Dr. Bott’s obituary can be read here.
|Linnea Smith Barney (1936-2020), a member of our chapter, passed away in Orem, Utah, on November 3, 2020, at the age of 84. She was a beloved wife and mother of seven, a dedicated and skilled nurse, a talented musician and singer, an accomplished civic leader, and a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Linnea loved to sing and play music. While at BYU she participated in the Women’s Chorus and was the pianist for the Men’s Chorus. She later sang with the Utah Valley Choral Society. She was an experienced organist and pianist in church congregations from Iowa City, Iowa and Columbia, Missouri to Beijing, China and Suva, Fiji.
Linnea’s obituary can be read here.
|Dr. Parley L. Belnap (1928-2018) was a long-time leader and supporter in the Utah Valley chapter. He served on the organ faculty of the Brigham Young University School of Music between 1965 and 1998. Hundreds of organists enjoyed his caring mentorship.
His musical training was excellent; he had a way of inspiring his students and guiding them skillfully into excellence in performance. Even more valuable, though, was his life-skills training, reminding his students to balance their passion for music with other important priorities, such as their relationships with family and with God.
At BYU he instigated the group organ program with its organ lab and the Independent Study organ courses. The wonderfully varied practice organs were designed and installed under his leadership. His Hymn Studies for Organists is still an excellent resource for hymn playing. Many of his students have become teachers and strive to pass along his teaching legacy.
Dr. Belnap’s obituary can be read here.
|Paul Duncombe (1946-2018) served the chapter as a sub-dean. He was a loving husband, father, brother, uncle, and a hands-on grandpa. He served faithfully in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all his life.
Paul’s treasures in life were his faith, family, and his love of sacred music and the organ. He began playing the organ at the tender age of 12, and it became a life-long passion. All those who know and love him have been touched by his dedication to sharing his musical talent.
Paul’s obituary can be read here.
Carol Deanne Peine Dean (1947-2018) was an avid teacher and student of the organ for over 30 years. She played her first solo organ recital at age 40 and, at age 51, received a Master of Music in Organ Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University.
In 1986 she became a protégé and private student of Dr. Douglas Bush. Carol once stated that “Dr. Bush’s knowledge of and respect and love for Johann Sebastian Bach and his music changed my life forever.” Her other respected mentors and teachers were Dr. Darwin K. Wolford, Dr. Richard Elliott, Dr. Don Cook, and Dr. Parley Belnap.
Carol was a popular instructor at church, chapter, and BYU organ workshops. She also taught hundreds of young people in group organ classes at BYU, which, she said “was the most defining preparation I could have possibly had for ‘my life’s calling’—to teach the hymns of the Church, especially to beginners, and to help as many pianists as possible become proficient, service-playing organists.” She regularly traveled from Draper to Santaquin to her students’ churches and homes to give private lessons.
Carol served the chapter, beginning in 1988, as secretary/newsletter editor (twice for a total of 14 years), officer over educational concerns from 1990 to 1991, dean from 1992 to 1994, and board member at large until her death. She was always ready and willing to help the guild in any way that was needed, organizing events, such as the annual Bach recitals, and preparing refreshments for many chapter meetings. Carol is a certified Collegue in the AGO.
Carol published and distributed at cost, Hymns from the LDS Hymnal Marked for the Organ, a landmark collection of every hymn in the 1985 hymnal, with notations for fingering, articulation, and pedaling to assist pianists to learn how to correctly play the hymns on the organ. The book is available through a former student, Jennifer Morgan, by emailing ldsorganistblog. Read Carol’s 2013 Super Saturday keynote address, Forge Ahead with Faith, here.
Carol’s obituary can be read here.
Robin Cardon (1929-2017) was a founding member of the Utah Valley Chapter of the AGO. She taught individually and in groups to all who had a desire to learn to play the organ. Robin served for decades as a ward and stake organist, but her greatest joy came from being a temple organist. It was her desire to bear her testimony and love of the gospel through her music. She was an example in word and deed to all who knew her.
Robin’s obituary can be read here.
|Douglas E. Bush (1947-2013) was a founding member of the AGO in Utah Valley and served as chapter dean. He was a renowned concert organist and musical scholar, as well as a beloved teacher and friend. Doug was born in rural western Montana. He completed bachelors and masters degrees from Brigham Young University in 1972 and 1974 and joined the faculty at BYU in 1978. He completed a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1982. Dr. Bush concertized extensively in the United States, Mexico, and Europe and was a frequent guest artist at the Mormon Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. He left a profound legacy as a mentor and colleague at BYU. Over the years, many were touched by his kindness and inspired by his knowledge and wisdom.
Chapter member recital: A Memorial Tribute in Honor of Dr. Douglas E. Bush
Dr. Bush’s obituary can be read here.
|Gerald Dick (1939-2013) was a founding member and the first dean of the Utah Valley AGO chapter. He received multiple degrees from Brigham Young University, including a masters in organ performance and a masters in library science. Gerald worked at Wicks Organ Company in Highland, Illinois; BYU Hawaii (Church College of Hawaii) in Laie; and then at the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU-Provo for 33 years. After his retirement he pursued his passion of building harps, forming the HR Harps Company. He was the organist at St Mary’s church in Provo for many years and also taught countless organ and piano students. Gerald was a lifelong student of the world’s cultures and religious traditions.
Gerald’s obituary can be read here.
|Verena Ursenbach Hatch (1922-2012) was a founding member of the Utah Valley chapter. An accomplished church organist and teacher, she served in LDS wards and stakes for many years and for ten years as an organist trainer and coordinator over 90 organists in the Provo Temple. She wrote an instruction manual for church organists titled Church Organ Playing: An Independent Study Course, which was later revised into a 182-page manual called The Ward Organist: A Hymn-based Course of Study. She also wrote and published a book titled Worship and Music in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Verena was an active genealogist, historian, and temple worker.
Verena’s obituary can be read here.
| LuJean Robinson Moss (1937-2011) was a dedicated student of the organ and a faithful member of the Utah Valley chapter of the AGO. She served as chapter dean from 1998 to 2000. LuJean had a passion for church music and singing and was a loving servant to all around her.
LuJean’s obituary can be read here.
|Thomas K. Hinckley (1933-2010) was a faithful friend to the local chapter of the AGO. He served as chapter dean from 1990 to 1992. Thom was a captain and navigator in the US Air Force for 15 years during the Vietnam War. After 25 years at BYU he retired in 1995 as a geography professor and the cartography lab operator. Thom was an etymologist and scripturian, and was affectionately known as a walking encyclopedia. He was an avid reader, a printer, woodworker, and clockmaker.
Thom’s obituary can be read here.
|Claire B. Rogers (1941-2010) served our chapter diligently for many years, organizing many concerts, including some of the chapter’s annual Bach recitals. She was raised in the San Francisco Bay area by immigrant parents. As a teenager she played for Primary and then served as ward and stake organist—even as priesthood organist—until graduation from high school. She then attended BYU and studied organ with J.J. Keeler and two of his graduate students, John Lyle and Donnell Blackham. Later in life she began listening to Baroque music on the radio. The orderliness and motivic structure spoke peace to her soul at a time of severe turmoil. Upon her return to Utah she studied for a number of years with Dr. Douglas Bush, solidifying her love of Bach and other Baroque composers and the music of earlier periods. Music always played a central role in her life, and she was very involved in mentoring music students. Her favorite past-times were gardening, flower arranging, and counted cross stitch.
Claire’s obituary can be read here.
|J.J. Keeler (1913-1996) was a well-known music educator and organ instructor and a founding member of the Utah Valley AGO chapter. He formed the organ department at BYU, and functioned as its head for forty years. Teaching was his passion. Hundreds of students studied organ performance under his tutelage.