Becoming the Ward Organist
January 2014

“Becoming the Ward Organist,” New Era, Jan. 2014, 47

Becoming the Ward Organist

Elaine N., Utah, USA


When I was 10 or 11, I started learning how to play hymns on the piano. I enjoyed playing the piano, and I really wanted to learn to play the organ too. Playing the organ would be so much fun!

My mother, who teaches me, told me that I could start learning to play the organ when I learned to play 100 hymns on the piano. That seemed like a big task, but I was driven to succeed. At first, I learned a hymn once every few weeks, but eventually I got to the point where I would learn two each week. The number of hymns kept growing.

The summer that I learned my 100th hymn, my mother organized a small group of students and taught us all to play the organ. Learning the organ took a lot of practice.

At the end of the summer, the first counselor in the bishopric pulled me aside during a bishopric youth discussion. “Our ward needs a new organist,” he said. “The bishopric has discussed this, and we would like to call you as ward organist.” I felt the blood draining from my face, but I nodded.

My first time playing the organ during sacrament meeting was terrifying. I arrived early to play the prelude music. I played the opening hymn, which went rather well; there were only a few jarring notes. As I played, I had to be careful to watch the chorister, press the keys with my hands, and use my feet on the bass pedals. Between the opening hymn and the sacrament hymn, I was very nervous. But when I played the soft and sweet notes of “How Great the Wisdom and the Love” (Hymns, no. 195), I felt the Spirit fill me with joy and peace.