Tabernacle organist’s invitation to Lutheran music minister leads to concert performance

Credit: Jennifer Martino
Credit: Jennifer Martino
Credit: Jennifer Martino
Credit: Jennifer Martino

By Linda Talbot

For the Church News


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 Jan. 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 Mormons 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 Mountaim 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 non-metrical 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.

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