Dr. Don Cook
Dr. 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 101 in several versions. The tutorial is used for private and group instruction, BYU Independent Study courses, and by individuals in at least nine countries.
Eric McKirdy has played the organ in sacrament meeting since the age of 14, and later earned B.Mus and M.Mus degrees from the University of Oregon studying with Dr. Barbara Baird. He has performed as an organist across North America and the United Kingdom, and is in frequent demand as an accompanist for several choirs in the Pacific Northwest. As a member of both the American Guild of Organists and the Church Music Institute, Eric has served in numerous executive leadership roles and organized frequent outreach events.
Eric is also a frequent presenter at the Portland Regional LDS Music Workshop held in Beaverton, Oregon each February where he teaches courses for organists as well as best practices training for ward and stake music chairpersons. He enjoys playing the organ at the Salt Lake Tabernacle as organist for choirs directed by his friend and colleague Merrilee Webb.
He currently serves as principal organist and music director at Albany First United Methodist Church in Albany, Oregon, where he plays for Sunday services and directs the church’s Chancel Choir, which toured and performed across Ireland in 2016 and England in 2018. In addition, Eric produces two organ recital series each year during Lent and Advent which are presented on the church’s IV/55 Möller pipe organ.
Eric enjoys teaching private lessons to a small number of students locally, and remote students via Skype. He also serves as stake music chairperson and has built a strong stake choir program of 100+ voices. In his “free time,” he manages a Facebook group for LDS ward and stake choir directors, currently with just under 2000 members from around the globe. He and his wife, Rachel, live in Salem, Oregon with their family.
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 her Masters of Music with an emphasis in Organ Performance at Brigham Young University in 2016, even though she didn’t start playing the organ until just a few years earlier.
While at BYU, Kymberly taught and performed extensively, both on the organ and carillon. As a graduate student, she taught group organ classes, sightsinging and dictation classes, as well as private carillon and organ lessons for the BYU School of Music. She taught at her first organ workshop in 2014, and has taught at various LDS Organ Workshops around Utah County (including teaching at the annual BYU Organ Workshop), as well as in Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, California, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Kymberly and her husband now live in Katy, TX where her busy schedule includes recitals as Guest Organist at the Tabernacle of Temple Square in Salt Lake City Utah, teaching private piano and organ lessons in her home studio, and serving as Ward Organist and Primary Pianist in the Katy 2nd Ward. Her professional memberships include the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA), Katy Music Teachers Association (KMTA) and the Organ Historical Society (OHS).