Arts & Humanities

Campbell Organ Festival Returns to Celebrate 50 Years of the Campbell-Holtkamp Organ

By Whitney Schulte |

Richard Elliott, principal organist at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, will perform at Utah State University on Saturday, March 12, 2022.

LOGAN — The Caine College of the Arts at USU welcomes Principal Tabernacle Organist Richard Elliott to the Daines Concert Hall this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for the opening concert of this year’s Campbell Organ Festival.

The organ previously underwent a renovation made possible due to a donation by Paul and Paulette Campbell, the festival’s namesakes. Over the past decade, Paul and Paulette also established the Paulette J. Campbell Organ Program Endowment, the Richard Elliot Organ Studies Endowment, the Parley Belnap Organ Studies Endowment, and the Lynn Thomas Organ Studies Endowment. As the number of students in the program increases, USU’s Keyboard Studies area, headed by Kevin Olson, will add a concentration that serves sacred music.

“The renaissance of the organ program at USU was made possible by the convergence of passionate donors and a devoted teacher of the organ, both arriving at the same time,” said Craig Jessop, steward of the Campbell-Holtkamp Organ and director and conductor of the American Festival Chorus. “Through their love of the organ and their generosity, Paulette and Paul Campbell brought the necessary funds needed to prime the pump and rebuild the magnificent Holtkamp Organ. Through his love of organ teaching and performance, Lynn Thomas had the vision, knowledge and desire to bring organ instruction back to USU as a service to this community.”

As the 50th Anniversary of the Campbell-Holtkamp Organ approaches, the college is also reflecting upon the generosity and vision of the original donors, Melvin and Editha Kent. They, along with Glen Taggart, president of USU from 1968-1979, and Max Dalby, head of the Department of Music, were instrumental in bringing the Holtkamp Organ to USU.

The festival honors the Campbells and their continued role in sustaining the USU Organ Program while also celebrating 50 years of the organ at USU.

“How fortunate we have been to have had Paulette and Paul Campbell and Lynn Thomas to bring this treasured instrument and skill back to USU,” Jessop said. “Now, with the retirement of Lynn Thomas, Dr. Neil Harmon begins his tenure as director of Organ Studies at USU to continue this important discipline as part of the Department of Music at USU.”

As a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and former student at the Peabody Conservatory and the Catholic University of America, Richard Elliott earned a bachelor of music from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and master’s and doctoral degrees from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

A former assistant organist for Philadelphia’s famed Wanamaker organ, he currently sits on the advisory boards for the Friends of the Wanamaker Organ and the Eccles Organ Festival at Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine. Prior to his appointment as Tabernacle Organist in 1991, he was an assistant professor of organ at BYU. He and his wife, pianist Elizabeth Cox Ballantyne, are the parents of two sons.

This year’s Campbell Organ Festival also features concerts with the American Festival Chorus and Orchestra and guest organist Bradley Hunter Welch on March 19 and Tabernacle organist Brian Mathias on March 23.

The March 12 and March 23 concerts are free and open to the public. Visit americanfestivalchorus.org for March 19 concert tickets. For more information, contact the CCA Box Office in room L101 of the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s campus, call (435)797-8022, or go online to cca.usu.edu.

WRITER

Whitney Schulte
Public Relations Specialist
Caine College of the Arts
435-797-9203
whitney.schulte@usu.edu

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