Nevada SALSA: Delightfully Lemmon

SALSA—Society of Awesome Latter-day Saint Accompanists

PreludesSACDouglas Lemmon made his church organist debut at age 15. He’s written several organ, piano and choral books. One of my favorites is Preludes SAC—a great late beginner/early intermediate organ collection. Great stuff! (Thank you, Douglas, for providing the LDS organist with arrangements that are accessible (aka degree-in-music-not-required) and sound great!)

He also published a book about JJ McClellan, Tabernacle Organist called “Sweet Is The Work.” (I haven’t read that one, but I’m sure it’s good too.) Douglas and his wife Kathleen reside in Henderson, Nevada, where he teaches private and group organ lessons.

Take a moment to get acquainted with Douglas—our newest member of the Society of Awesome Latter-day Saint Accompanists, who claims that playing the organ is easy—then go to Questionnaire and tell us your story!

. . .

Douglas Lemmon—Nevada

What was the first musical calling you received? How was that experience? Before the “block-program” in the church, I was the Junior Sunday School pianist at age 12, then the Sunday School organist and ward organist at 15. Stake Organist at 17. I loved the Junior Sunday School book and its music. Playing the hymns has been a great experience through the years.

How long have you been playing the organ?  I began piano lessons at age 6. Organ lessons began at about 12. I barely reached the pedals. My parents purchased a Baldwin organ for our home when I was 15. I think they got tired of taking me to the church every couple of days. I was always interested in the organ and was always watching the Tabernacle Organists in their noon recitals and conference. They were and are the inspiration that taught me much more than most of my teachers.

Do you play other instruments? Piano and organ are the only instruments today. I tried flute, guitar and percussion, but stayed with the keyboard instruments.

What is your favorite hymn?  There are about 341 hymns in the hymn book. Each has something special for any specific occasion. I love them all, but especially love the hymns of the restoration.

What about a favorite prelude or postlude piece? I love playing arrangements of the hymns. I have many arrangements in my books I’ve written, and love playing any of the Darwin Wolford and Robert Manookin arrangements.

What sort of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I love yard work and puttering!

What is one of the challenges you face as an LDS organist? I’ve never faced any challenge as an LDS organist. My students are taught to play appropriate music for the service and I think in the church that can be a challenge for organists. I’ve been playing for such a long time that I’ve seen many bishops and stake presidents come and go. I always meet with the new ones and ask them for their suggestions. None have ever told me to only play hymns. I think that would be a challenge for me, but it hasn’t happened because I play appropriate literature for the occasion. Somewhere I try to include Bach!

What is one of the blessings you have received through accepting the call to serve as an organist?  I’ve met many wonderful people in and out of the church as an organist. I’ve also learned that the Spirit can be strong. An organists needs to listen to those promptings.

Is there anything else you would like to share about you or your experience as an organist? Even though I’ve played for many years, there is still much to learn. I practice the organ and piano daily and encourage those holding an organist position in the church to do that also.

Organ playing is easy. Many musicians dodge playing the organ because they think it’s too difficult, especially playing pedals. I’ve maintained that playing pedals is the easiest part of organ playing. The manual technique is more difficult which will come with practice.

Want more of Douglas? Check out his website at

. . .

Thanks for introducing yourself to us, Douglas!
Are you or someone you know ready to join SALSA? Just go to the SALSA questionnaire, fill it out and submit. No cost, no obligation, no contract and no fine print. Just a wonderful opportunity for lds organists to get acquainted!
btw If you accepted the call to sit on that organ bench, you are awesome!  If you think you’re not, please see The Calling.

. . .


Obituary for Douglas Earl Bush

Douglas Earl Bush was born March 1, 1947 to Joe and Phyllis Bush and died in his home on October 4, 2013 after battling cancer. Dad frequently talked about his upbringing in rural Montana — working on the farm with his grandparents, gardening, cooking, and spending time with his family.

From a young age, he had a deep love and interest in history and a strong inclination toward music and organs specifically. These two loves became the defining interests of his life. His passion for good music led him to become a world-renowned organist, a “Bach-aholic”, and beloved teacher, with a particular gift to love, motivate and inspire others to want to become better people. He was passionate about family history and temple work as though it were his second profession, spending all of his time invested in family – both here on earth, and on the other side of the veil. His faith was the guiding force in his life, along with a persistent quest for that which would bring depth, beauty and meaning to all around him. Dad had magic hands; everything he touched always bloomed. His was a life characterized by selfless service, compassion, gentleness, and excellence. He created beauty wherever he went, and we feel profoundly blessed by such a lovely father, example and friend.

He is survived by five daughters: Sarah Bush, Rebecca Buchert (Martin), Susan Bush (Joshua Trammell), Elizabeth Bush Campbell (Scott), and Christa Groesbeck (Garrett); 12 grandchildren who were the light of his life; his father, Josiah Douglas Bush (Mary Bush); and two siblings, Rick Bush (Jackie) and Dianne Reeder.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at the Provo Central Stake Center, 450 North 1220 West, Provo, Utah. Friends may call at the Berg Mortuary of Provo, 185 East Center Street, Monday from 6-8:00 p.m. and at the church Tuesday from 10-10:45 a.m. prior to services. Interment, Provo City Cemetery.

Comraderie or Competition?

One of my organ geek friends sent me an email about her recent European Organ Tour. Looking at the photos of really old, really awesome pipe organs got me kinda excited…and only slightly jealous.

Being the friendly sort of person I am, I invited her to do a guest post on Pedal Points. Being the intelligent woman she is, she decided to start her own blog!

So now instead of having really cool Bach organ photos on my blog, she gets all the glory. Almost. I swiped copied a few of her photos to give you a sneak peek. You can check out the full story with more photos at Musical Musings and More.

Love ya, Janet!

I’m an Organist…it’s time to lighten up!

Sometimes I can get way too serious about my responsibilities in life. This post is an attempt step back for a moment and not take myself, my passions and my calling too seriously. Hope you enjoy!

. . .

Playing a pipe organ is a lot like throwing a javelin blindfolded—
you don’t have to be very good at it to get people’s attention.

How many music directors does it take to change a light bulb?
No one knows, because nobody ever watches a music director.

Why doesn’t heaven have a pipe organ?
Because they needed the keys in hell to make accordions.

Why is an 11-foot concert grand better than a studio upright?
Because it makes a much bigger kaboom when dropped over a cliff.

Why did Handel kill his chickens?
Because they always ran around going “Bach! Bach! Bach!”

. . .

Got a music joke you want to share? You’re invited to comment below. Clean ones only, please!