Sacramento Organ Workshop – April 2017

Welcome to the 2017 Sacramento, California workshop held on April 7th and 8th! There were 154 attendees from 24 stakes at the Organ Training on Saturday morning. A huge thank you to Jim Fisher, the local coordinator, for putting this great event together!

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Instructor Biographies

Elizabeth Forsythelizabeth-forsyth

A native of San Francisco, Elizabeth Forsyth first studied organ with Esther Johnson of Berkeley, CA.  She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in organ performance from Brigham Young University where she studied with Robert Cundick and J.J. Keeler.  She is a past winner of the American Guild of Organists, San Francisco Chapter, student competition. Long active in the AGO, she has served on the Executive Committees of both the San Francisco and the Philadelphia chapters and has chaired committees on Long Range Planning and The Young Organist.  Serving in church music for over 40 years, she is currently the organist at First Congregational Church of Berkeley.  A past guest organist at the Salt Lake Tabernacle, she has given recitals throughout the Bay Area and the greater Philadelphia area. Elizabeth teaches both piano and organ students and delights in getting her teenage piano students over to the organ bench.  Each August she can be found presenting classes and workshops at the BYU Organ Workshop. On Saturday, April 22 she will be the soloist with the Folsom Lake Symphony in works by Handel and Saint-Saëns. You are all invited! She is the proud mother of four sons and grandmother of eight.

Nora HessNora Hess grew up studying the piano at BYU, but began playing the organ in her 20’s after the only organist in her small Iowa congregation moved away. She has been active as a piano teacher, organist, accompanist, conductor, and member of community choirs for many years, eventually serving in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 2004-2014. A few years ago, Nora began more serious organ studies, and she is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance at BYU. She has extensive experience teaching students of all ages and accompanying choirs. Her special passion is teaching children and youth how to play the organ.  Nora and her husband, Bret, have been married for 36 years and are the parents of 10 children and 9 grandchildren.

Brian MathiasBrian Mathias Dr. Brian Mathias is Adjunct Professor of Music at Brigham Young University, where he teaches applied organ and carillon, as well as courses in organ literature, keyboard harmony, and hymn playing. Before coming to BYU in 2014, he taught at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, and was Associate Organist at Country Club Christian Church in Kansas City, Missouri. A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dr. Mathias earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organ performance at BYU before completing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Kansas, where he studied with James Higdon.

Dr. Mathias’s recent solo performances include recitals at Washington National Cathedral (Washington, D.C.), Texas A&M International University (Laredo, Texas), and the Community of Christ Temple (Independence, Missouri). He has performed regularly as a guest organist at the Salt Lake Tabernacle since 2007. He has also been a competitor in major international competitions, including the Canadian International Organ Competition (Montreal, Quebec) and the Grand Prix de Chartres International Organ Competition (Paris, France).

Dr. Mathias currently resides in Provo with his wife, Alicia, and daughters Claire (4) and Evie (2).

dsc_0371croppedKymberly (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. Her first introduction to the organ started at BYU in 2009 when she took Music 115: Basic Organ Skills from Don Cook. While listening to the organ at an evensong service in Oxford the next summer, her love of the organ blossomed, and the rest is history! She began the music program in 2010 and graduated with her Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Organ Performance, Magna Cum Laude, August 2013.

While at BYU, Kymberly taught and performed extensively, both on the organ and carillon. As part of her graduate assistantship, Kymberly taught group organ classes, sightsinging and dictation classes, as well as private carillon and organ lessons. In addition to teaching, Kymberly was an Associate Carillonneur at Brigham Young University where she gave weekly carillon recitals, and assisted in organ tuning and repair on campus. She accompanied the congregational hymn for the weekly BYU Devotionals seventeen times, and performed in both group and solo organ concerts frequently.

In January of 2016, she began working as Organ Department Executive Assistant, and continued her work for BYU after graduation. She married Curt Payne in November 2016 and moved to California, but she is humbled that she gets to continue her involvement with these LDS Organ Workshops from her home in San Leandro, CA as BYU Organ Workshop Administrator. During her involvement with these workshops, she has planned, performed, and 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, and Oregon.

Kymberly currently serves as Ward Organist in San Leandro, CA, and is working on starting her private organ studio in her new home. She is a member of the American Guild of Organists (AGO), the Organ Historical Society (OHS) and is a carillonneur member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA). Her newest organ service opportunity is her appointment as Guest Organist at the Tabernacle on Temple Square.