Tabernacle Organist’s Invitation to Lutheran Music Minister Leads to Concert Performance

Contributed By Kelly Foss, Church News contributor

  • 10 March 2017

Mormon Tabernacle organist Linda Margetts plays the large organ at Trinity Klein Lutheran Church in Spring, Texas.  Photo by Jennifer Martino.

Article Highlights

  • Tabernacle organist Linda Margetts accepted an invitation to perform at a Lutheran church in Texas.
  • She and the minister of music discussed similarities between the two pioneer groups, the Latter-day Saints and the German Lutherans.

SPRING, TEXAS

Tabernacle organist Linda Margetts first met Dr. Bill Brusick, minister of music at Trinity Klein Lutheran Church in Spring, Texas, in the Conference Center at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. She invited him to play the Conference Center organ following the noon concert that he and his wife attended. According to Dr. Brusick, an organist himself, “She spoke seven magical words to me, which were … ‘Do you want to play the organ?’”

That encounter resulted in a reciprocal invitation to Sister Margetts to come to his church and play January 29 at an organ concert he was arranging. She accepted. Fitting for such an occasion, Dr. Brusick decided to compose a special piece based on the LDS hymn “High on the Mountain Top” for her to play at the event.

In addition to music, the two bonded over the similarities between the two pioneer groups, the Latter-day Saints that came to the Salt Lake Valley and the German Lutherans who settled the Spring area in the 1870s.

Dr. Brusick researched the story of the Mormon pioneers from “Joseph Smith and the plates; their move to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois; Brigham Young taking them the rest of the way—the whole bit,” he said. “I saw a Church video of them going across the plains, the desolation, death, and starving, then the exhilaration when they saw the mountain Ensign Peak, and the choir sang ‘High on the Mountain Top.' Linking the story is a powerful testament of those people,” Dr. Brusick said. “That kind of fortitude staggers me.” His composition mirrored the struggles and victory of those pioneers.

Dr. Brusick shared this story at the concert as an introduction to the premiere performance. Along with Sister Margetts at the organ, the composition included brass and timpani, conducted by Dr. Brusick.

The concert began with the original nonmetrical version of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” a beloved hymn composed by Martin Luther. “This is the beginning of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther, and here I am in this wonderful sanctuary with this wonderful organ in this beautiful Lutheran church able to play that special hymn,” Sister Margetts said.

As well as being one of the five Mormon Tabernacle organists and performing regularly on Temple Square, Sister Margetts has traveled around the world in concert. She is an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Utah and teaches organ students in a community outreach program. “It is a real honor to have this opportunity,” she said.

Dr. Brusick is in his 10th year as minister of music for Trinity Klein. He has organized the concert series since 2008 as a way of giving to the community. “As musicians we can get together on common ground. Music transcends beyond politics and theology and builds common bonds,” he added.

Mormon Tabernacle organist Linda Margetts at the organ in the sanctuary of the Trinity Klein Lutheran Church in Spring, Texas. Photo by Jennifer Martino.

Trinity Klein Lutheran Church in Spring, Texas, January 2017. Photo by Jennifer Martino.

Tabernacle organist Linda Margetts gets accustomed to the large organ in Trinity Klein Lutheran Church in Spring, Texas. Photo by Jennifer Martino.

The brass and timpani ensemble conducted in rehearsal by Dr. Bill Brusick of the Trinity Klein Lutheran Church in Spring, Texas. Photo by Jennifer Martino.

Linda Margetts, a Mormon Tabernacle organist, was the guest organist performing at the Trinity Klein Lutheran Church in Spring, Texas, on January 29, 2017. Photo by Jennifer Martino.

Mormon Tabernacle organist Linda Margetts rehearsing for her performance of a special arrangement of the LDS hymn “High on the Mountain Top.” Photo by Jennifer Martino.

The brass and timpani ensemble perform with Linda Margetts at the Trinity Klein Lutheran Church in Spring, Texas, on January 29, 2017. Photo by Jennifer Martino.