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.
Alena Hall loves playing the piano and organ!! Accompanying and collaborative work are part of that continuing passion, as is teaching. She has worked as rehearsal pianist/member of live orchestras for various musical theater productions including those at The Conference Center in Salt Lake and the Outdoor Theater at Sundance. Alena earned a BS in Combined Piano and Organ Performance from BYU and then an MS 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 annually at BYU’s Organ Workshop.
Dr. Matthew Thompson
Dr. Matthew Thompson is an accomplished organist, conductor, composer, pianist, and music technologist. He was recently appointed Music Director and Principal Organist of Country Club Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri and is excited to make a return to a full-time career in music after having spent a decade employed as a software engineer.
In the past few years, he founded and directed a non-profit semi-professional organization, Vox Humana Choral Ensemble, a women’s choir comprised of members from Northern Utah County whose performances featured mainly sacred choral literature accompanied by organ.
Matthew completed a Bachelor’s degree in organ performance studying with Dr. James Drake. He continued his organ studies at the University of Kansas, studying with Dr. James Higdon and earning a Master of Music degree in church music, organ emphasis followed by a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting studying with Dr. Paul Tucker.
As a choral conductor, he has worked with mixed, men, women, early music, and jazz ensembles from small chamber groups to large choruses consisting of over 300 singers. As a church musician, he has been both a music director, choir director, organist, and accompanist. He loves a variety of musical styles and while at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lawrence, KS created a new Jazz Eucharist service led by a jazz combo.
Matthew’s passion for music includes English choral and organ literature, jazz piano, and combining music with technology. His wife, Sharee, is also a very accomplished musician and organist and they especially enjoy opportunities to collaborate either in duet keyboard performances or as conductor (Matthew) and organist (Sharee). Outside of music, Matthew is extremely interested in psychology and human development, meditation, and loves spending time with family especially out in nature. Matthew and Sharee are parents of three talented and opinionated children.
Sharee Thompson holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Music degree from Utah State University, both in organ performance. While living in Kansas, she served as organist at First Presbyterian Church, Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church, and Baldwin First United Methodist Church. Sharee performs with various choirs and ensembles along the Wasatch Front including Vox Humana Choral Ensemble, The Utah Symphony, Sterling Singers, Utah Valley Millennial Choirs and Orchestras, and Maple Mountain High School Choirs. She is a guest organist on Temple Square, playing frequently for the daily organ recitals. Sharee runs a large private studio of organ and piano students and is the organ area executive assistant at BYU. She and her husband, Matthew, are the parents of three children.