Meet the Instructors of the BYU Organ Workshop
Click the instructor’s image or name to read their biography
Click the instructor’s image or name to read their biography
Don Cook joined the organ faculty of Brigham Young University in 1991. In that capacity he serves as organ area coordinator, as university carillonneur, and oversees the group organ program. Formerly he held associate organist/choirmaster positions at Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and at First United Methodist Church, Lubbock, Texas. He toured Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia with the Lubbock choir, and accompanied the Parish Choir of Christ Church Cranbrook on a singing tour of England.
After earning Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in organ at Brigham Young University, he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance from the University of Kansas. His principal organ teachers were J.J. Keeler at BYU and James Moeser at KU. For many years he served as head of the instrumental area for the BYU Workshop on Church Music, and currently directs the annual BYU Organ Workshop, founded in 2002. He appears frequently as a Guest Organist at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.
Dr. Cook studied carillon with Albert Gerken while pursuing doctoral studies in organ at the University of Kansas. He became a full member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 1984, and has performed actively throughout North America since that time. He has served on the Board of Directors and as chair of the Music Publications Committee for the Guild. Carillon performances include a concert tour of Holland in 1990, and a recital tour of east-coast carillons in the summer of 1992. In 1994 he hosted the annual Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America at Brigham Young University.
He has developed and published the first multimedia organ tutorial for pianists,Organ Tutor Organ 101in several versions. The tutorial is used for private and group instruction, BYU Independent Study courses, and by individuals in at least nine countries.
Ryan Eggett holds degrees in Music Education from Brigham Young University and a doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Utah. He has directed the Utah Valley Institute Singers for the past 16 years, and currently directs the 500 voice Valley-Wide Young Adult Choir. He also directs the Provo MTC Choir and the Utah Valley Children’s Choir. He is a Music Manager for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints overseeing music training and awareness. He and his wife, Angela, have 6 children and 9 grandchildren.
Mark Campbell is a native of Provo, UT. In high school he began his organ studies with Carol Dean (1947-2018), one of the most prolific and important private organ teachers in Utah Valley. She made sure to immerse Mark in the vibrant organ culture in the region, as well as introduce him to the organ program at Brigham Young University.
Since then, Mark has studied with Professors Douglas Bush (1947-2013) and Don Cook (BYU), Professors David Eaton and Robert S. Brewer in San Antonio (UTSA), and recently completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Church Music at the University of Kansas (KU) where he studied with Professors James Higdon, Michael Bauer and Kevin Vogt.
A native of San Francisco, Elizabeth Forsyth received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in organ performance from BYU. Active in church music for almost 50 years, she has served Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and LDS congregations as both organist and director of music. Currently, she is the organist at First Congregational Church, Berkeley. She has served on the executive boards of both the San Francisco and Philadelphia chapters of the American Guild of Organists and will serve as one of four program chairs for the AGO National Convention in 2024.
As a recitalist, Ms. Forsyth has performed throughout the Bay Area, Utah, Idaho, and Pennsylvania. Recent collaborations with performing groups have included the First Church Festival Chorus, Chora Nova, the Young People’s Symphony Orchestra, the Folsom Lake Symphony, and the Stockton Symphony. Elizabeth teaches both piano and organ at her home in Orinda, CA, where she takes special delight in introducing her teenage piano students to the organ. She is the proud mother of four sons, and has nine grandchildren.
Bonnie Lauper Goodliffe studied piano and organ at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Brigham Young University, and the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music theory from Brigham Young University.
From 1979 to 2019, she was an organist on Temple Square in Salt Lake City where she performed organ recitals and accompanied the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square and the Temple Square Chorale.
She is a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists and has held key positions in that organization, including regional education coordinator and member of the National Certification Committee. She has presented workshops at AGO conventions and has written several articles which appeared in the Guild’s official magazine, The American Organist.
She is a published composer and arranger and served on the General Music Committee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which produced the 1985 Hymnbook.
Alena Hall loves playing the organ!! Accompanying and collaborative work are part of that continuing passion, as is teaching. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Combined Piano and Organ Performance from BYU and then a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance, also from BYU. One of the personal highlights of her career was working as an organist at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Currently she has a small studio of piano and organ students and enjoys teaching at a variety of workshops.
Neil Harmon joined the BYU Organ Faculty in August 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. Dr. Harmon earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Brigham Young University and a Master of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts from The Eastman School of Music. He enjoys a career as teacher, performer, accompanist, composer, arranger, and conductor. He is known throughout the country for his creative organ arrangements and for his choral and handbell compositions.
Valerie Harris has performed on many notable historic pipe organs in Europe and the United States. An active recitalist, she recently performed in Belgium and the Netherlands. She performs frequently as a guest recitalist at the Tabernacle.
She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Organ Performance from Arizona State University, where she studied with Kimberly Marshall. She also holds a Master of Music in Organ Performance from Shenandoah University in Virginia and a Bachelor of Music degree in piano from Brigham Young University. She has done post-graduate historical organ performance study in Europe with Pieter Dirksen, Hans Davidsson, Luc Ponet and Léon Berben. She serves as Dean of the Central Arizona Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, as National Media Chair for the National Federation of Music Clubs, and as Director of Music Ministries and Organist at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Scottsdale, AZ.
She has taught piano, organ, and conducting to hundreds of students, motivating many young musicians to study music in college and achieve successful experiences competitively and through community and church service. She is committed to promoting the vision of excellently prepared and spiritually reflected music in the Church.
Nora Hess, CAGO, MM, MS, is an adjunct faculty member in organ at Brigham Young University. Her research specialty is developing curriculum for elementary-aged children to learn the organ as their first instrument. Nora also enjoys composing, performing, accompanying, and conducting church music. She has conducted numerous church choirs, and served for 10 years as a member of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. Nora holds a Master of Music degree from Brigham Young University in Organ Performance, where she studied with Don Cook and Brian Mathias. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Education from the University of Utah. Nora and her husband, Bret, are the parents of 10 children and 13 grandchildren.
A native of Arizona, Hofeling has a bachelor of music degree from Arizona State University in Organ Performance, where he studied under Kimberly Marshall. Hofeling holds a master of music degree in organ from the University of Kansas where he studied under James Higdon. He is currently pursuing his doctoral of musical arts degree in organ along with a master of music degree in music theory at The University of Kansas, studying organ with Michael Bauer. Recently, Hofeling has returned from a study abroad in Bremen, Germany. While there, he studied at the Hochschule für Künste under Professor Edoardo Bellotti. Hofeling holds a position as Director of Music at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri, and was recently the interimprofessor of organ at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas.As a solo recitalist, he has recently performed concerts in Tampa FL, Wichita, Lawrence and Topeka KS, Kansas City, MO, and Worpswede, Germany. In addition, he performs frequently at the Community of Christ Temple in Independence, Missouri, where he holds the title of staff organist. The KC Metropolis wrote that Hofeling’s playing, “had a wonderful variety of registers and colors and displayed a secure sense of control.” As a continuo player, he has most recently had the honor of performing with the Kansas City Symphony in December 2018. Hofeling was a semi-finalist in the Mikhael Tariverdiev International Organ Competition in Kaliningrad Russia, and he was awarded second prize in the Fort Wayne, IN National Organ Playing Competition. His performances have been heard on the radio at KBAQ in Phoenix, Arizona, and KPR in Kansas. Recently Hofeling has also participated as an instructor in the traveling BYU Organ Workshop in Kansas City, KS.
Dr. Daniel Kerr is the Director of Organ Studies at BYU-Idaho, where he also oversees the Musicianship program. Additionally, he coordinates the BYU-Idaho Hymn Festival, which commissions new hymn texts and tunes each year. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he studied organ with Dr. Ladd Thomas and Professor Cherry Rhodes. Prior to his appointment at BYU-Idaho, he taught at USC and at California State University Los Angeles and was organist and handbell choir director at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. He was also the accompanist for the Claremont Chorale and musical director of the Foothill Summer Theatre. He has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra as well as at various conventions of the American Guild of Organists (2004 National Convention, 2011 Northwest Regional Convention, and the 2017 West Regional Convention). He was a soloist for the 2008 Eccles Organ Recital Series at Salt Lake’s Cathedral of the Madeleine and is a regular recitalist on the organs of Temple Square in Salt Lake City. He is an Associate of the American Guild of Organists and is currently the dean of the Eastern Idaho Chapter of the AGO.
Kymberly (Stone) Payne is a young organist who is passionate about sharing her love of the organ, and the power we have as organists to bless others and change lives. Kymberly completed both her Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees with an emphasis in Organ Performance at BYU, where she studied with Dr. Don Cook.
While at BYU, Kymberly taught and performed extensively, both on the organ and carillon. As a graduate student, she taught group organ classes, sight-singing and dictation classes, as well as private carillon and organ lessons for the BYU School of Music. In 2016, she became involved with the Traveling BYU Organ Workshops, and since then, she has had the opportunity to plan, perform, and teach at many organ workshops around the country.
Kymberly and her husband now live in Katy, TX where she continues to teach and perform. Her busy schedule includes recitals as Guest Organist at the Tabernacle of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, accompanying, running her large private organ and piano studio, and serving as Ward Music Chair and Ward Organist. She is an active member of the Music Teachers National Association, and is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Piano and Organ.
Prior to his appointment as Temple Square Organist, Peeples was the university organist at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California, where he taught courses in applied organ, keyboard harmony, and music appreciation courses. He gave monthly faculty recitals in Samuelson Chapel on the Thousand Oaks campus. Peeples also served as the organist at First United Methodist Church in Santa Barbara, where he accompanied the Chancel Choir. He was previously the organist of Speedway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Speedway, Indiana, and accompanied the nationally recognized collegiate choirs of Brigham Young University. He received his master’s degree in organ performance from Brigham Young University (BYU). While at BYU, he studied organ with Don Cook and Douglas Bush, conducting with Rosalind Hall, and carillon with Don Cook. He has completed coursework for a doctorate at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied organ with Janette Fishell, Christopher Young, and Bruce Neswick. Peeples is on the faculty for the annual Brigham Young University Organ Workshop and through the years has taught a wide variety of courses in music theory and musicianship at Pepperdine University, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and Brigham Young University.
Sheri Peterson, adjunct organ faculty at Brigham Young University, received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in organ performance from Brigham Young University where she studied with Don Cook, Douglas Bush, and Brian Mathias. In addition, she has studied with Carol Miles, and Gabriele Terrone, from Italy. Sheri is an experienced organ performer and teacher. She has taught university classes in music theory, sight-singing, dictation, group organ, and private organ lessons and has taught extensively at workshops and conferences, including the annual BYU Organ Workshop. In addition, she has a large private organ and piano studio. Sheri has been involved in church music for over forty years, worked as a professional organist for St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Provo, Utah, for many years, as well as ward organist, and temple organist. She has performed with symphonies, the Utah Baroque Ensemble and other choirs, as a soloist for BYU Devotional, performed numerous recitals and concerts throughout the United States, including at a convention for the West Region American Guild of Organists.
Actively involved in the American Guild of Organists (AGO), she has served in a variety of capacities, including two terms as dean of the Utah Valley Chapter, sub-dean, and as a member of the Regional Nominating Committee. Sheri has earned her Colleague Certification (CAGO) and has organized many organ workshops, including a Pipe Organ Encounter (POE) for youth, and annual workshops attended by hundreds of people.
Sheri delights to teach, serve, and help others through music.
Active recitalist, recording artist, scholar and author David Pickering is Professor of Music and Chair of the Keyboard Division at Kansas State University where he teaches organ and music theory. His career as a performer has carried him across the United States as well as to Canada and Europe.
Pickering’s multifaceted research has focused on the composers, music, organs, and pedagogues of the American organ scene in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His four solo recordings have focused on the organ music of American composers from the twentieth century to the present day. His scholarly works are published by the Organ Historical Society Press and Wayne Leupold Editions.
Pickering completed his degrees from the University of Kansas and Brigham Young University in organ performance and musicology; he has also pursued technical studies with pianist Sheila Paige. His organ teachers include Parley Belnap, James Higdon, J.J. Keeler, and Arlene Small.
Pickering and his wife, Melinda, are the parents of seven children.
Laurie Swain graduated from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a master’s degree in organ performance studying with Dr. Paul Hesselink and a bachelor’s degree in organ performance studying with Ethelyn Peterson. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. Laurie is a certified teacher in both piano and organ through the Music Teachers National Association. Her piano teachers have included Carol Stivers, Roger Bushell, and N. Jane Tan.
For many years Laurie has taught piano and organ, and she loves teaching students of all ages. She has conducted frequent music pedagogy workshops for both piano and organ in various settings including festivals, conventions, and church music seminars. Laurie is the author of Organ for Primary, an innovative approach for teaching organ to the young student. Laurie currently serves as the Las Vegas Music Teachers Association State Certification Chairman. Since 2015, she has served as an organ editor for the Federation Festivals Bulletin of the National Federation of Music Clubs. Laurie was recently named an MTNA Foundation Fellow for distinguished service to the music teaching profession.
Laurie feels her greatest accomplishment is having a terrific husband, five beautiful children and nine grandchildren. Her musical expertise has grown with each of her children, who have pursued advanced music degrees and have been recognized in music competitions on various instruments at the local, state, regional and national levels. She has also learned much about teaching and development from her second child, age 37, who is profoundly mentally delayed with cerebral palsy.