San Jose – March 2017

Welcome to the 2017 San Jose, California workshop held on March 3rd and 4th! There were 137 attendees from 24 stakes at the organ training on Saturday morning. Huge thank you to the local coordinator, Harold Stuart, for all the hard work he put into making this workshop happen! Instructor biographies can be found at the bottom of the page


Presenters at the San Jose Organ Workshop from left to right: Elizabeth Forsyth, Valerie McDougal, Harold Stuart, Kymberly (Stone) Payne, Matthew Burt, Dr. Don Cook. Not pictured: Elisabeth Pintar – performer


Reunion of the dear friends at the San Jose Organ Workshop! From left to right: Kymberly (Stone) Payne, Dr. Don Cook, Marjorie Volkel and Valerie McDougal

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Instructor Biographies

mfb-headshotMatthew Burt is an organist, choir director, and liturgist with over fifteen years’ experience of service in churches. Born in the United Kingdom, he moved to the United States after college, and holds masters’ degrees in theology and sacred music from Oxford, Harvard, and Boston Universities. He has held Music Director positions at Episcopal churches in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Alameda and Portola Valley, California, and is currently the Music Director at Transfiguration Episcopal Church in San Mateo. Matthew holds the position of West Regional Councillor in the American Guild of Organists, a professional organization of 15,000 members, and also serves on the eight-member AGO National Council together with Professor Don Cook.


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.

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.  She is the proud mother of four sons and grandmother of eight.

Valerie McDougalValerie McDougal is a graduate in Organ Performance from Brigham Young University where she received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees, studying organ with Dr. Douglas Bush, Dr. Brian Mathias, and Dr. Andrew Unsworth.

She holds both Colleague and Service Playing Certificates from the American Guild of Organists, and is a member of the Salt Lake and Utah County Chapters of the AGO.

Mrs. McDougal currently serves as Stake and Ward organist, and has conducted and taught LDS training for organists of all levels.

She is an organ teacher of private students.

Valerie and her husband Mark, reside in South Jordan, Utah.  They are the proud parents of five children and grandparents of four grandchildren.


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. 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 Organ Workshop Consultant on behalf of the BYU School of Music. 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 loves to share the beauty of music, and does so through her teaching and performing. She is a Guest Organist at the Tabernacle of Temple Square in Salt Lake City Utah, and Interim Organist at First Covenant Church in Oakland. Her professional memberships include the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and the Organ Historical Society (OHS), and she is currently serving as Sub-Dean Elect on the SFAGO’s Executive Board. In June of 2015, Kymberly passed a rigorous exam and was voted into carillonneur membership of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America (GCNA).

62903_1575350059116_5788604_n.jpgHarold Stuart started taking piano at age 5. His piano teachers were Jay Evans and Joyce Weston. He fell in love with the organ listening to recordings at his grandparent’s home when he was 13 and started taking lessons when he was 15. A Colleague of the American Guild of Organists, his primary teachers have been Lynn Thomas and Elizabeth Forsyth.

In addition to his duties as ward organist, Harold writes organ music and publishes his compositions and thoughts about church service on his website, He also teaches organ lessons in the San Jose area. When he’s not serving in the church, he is a senior staff cryptography engineer for a computer security company.
Harold and his wife Kathleen are the parents of four children and have five adorable grandchildren.