SALT LAKE CITY — Before the COVID-19 pandemic, one of Andrew Unsworth’s favorite parts of being a Tabernacle and Temple Square organist was performing at the noon organ recitals in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

The recitals drew a smaller audience. They were not broadcast or recorded. The organist selected the music.

“For me, it was a much more relaxed environment than playing for a live television broadcast,” Unsworth said. “So I do miss that.”

Organ enthusiasts and fans of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square will be happy to know the traditional recitals are returning this week, with a technological twist and perhaps a little stress, at least to start.

The five Tabernacle and Temple Square organists — Richard Elliott, Unsworth, Brian Mathias, Linda Margetts and Joseph Peeples — will once again play recitals in a new online concert series called “Piping Up: Organ Concerts at Temple Square.”

The concert series will be streamed three times each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon and be available on the Tabernacle Choir’s YouTube channel, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live watch page (, and the choir’s website (

An evening online organ concert featuring all five organists on Wednesday at 7 p.m. will kick off the weekly organ series. The 45-minute concert, filmed without an audience, will include a variety of music from classical to traditional hymns and spirituals and be streamed on the same choir and church channels.

The new organ concert series starts on Monday, June 22, at noon, with a different organist each day. More information about the concert series, including concert programs, is available at

The concert series will feature both Temple Square organs. From June 22 to July 10, the organists will stream music featuring the Salt Lake Tabernacle organ. On July 13 the concerts move to the Conference Center organ while the Tabernacle organ receives scheduled renovations.

The daily organ recitals in the Tabernacle were suspended on March 15 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Unsworth said the idea for the organ concert series came from Elliott, the principal Tabernacle organist.

“I think he felt, and we all agreed, that this is unique time. We don’t know when the Tabernacle Choir will be able to meet again,” Unsworth said. “This is a musical offering that we can make under these conditions and we ought to contribute some sort of artistic, musical and even spiritual offering to the world at this unique time.”

Streaming the organ concerts could potentially reach a wider online demographic, which is good, Mathias said.

“We have a chance to reach a bigger, wider audience,” he said. “We’re excited to see what kind of interest there is in these recitals online.”

Before the pandemic, the recitals attracted Temple Square tourists, music and organ lovers, as well as the curious. This new format may be more stressful in some ways. Instead of a visible, in-person audience there will be a production staff and cameras. All selected music must be public domain.

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“It’s going to be different,” Unsworth said. “When I get a little more used to it, it’ll be easier, but right now I think it’s probably more stressful than playing a recital for an audience that you can see and communicate with.”

Both Unsworth and Mathias are grateful to be able to share their talents and continue playing the historic and world famous Tabernacle organ.

“I recognize it as an honor and a privilege to get to play this iconic instrument,” Unsworth said. “I think when anybody discovers something beautiful, they want to share it with other people. That’s how it is with me and music. I want to share that love with the audience.”

On a number of previous occasions Mathias has greeted audience members after a recital who told him a piece he performed inspired them or helped them feel something special. He and the other organists hope more listeners will find something “beautiful” in the music that will be streamed across the web, especially at this time when the world is searching for peace, hope and healing.

“This is a great blessing and opportunity to use the talents and skills I have in a way that can bless a lot of people,” Mathias said.