Laura Adams
Laura’s love of music and talent garnered from her teaching career, have given her an incredible gift for creating amazing choir programs. For years, she has created Christmas and Easter programs that include all ages, and various instruments, as well as a Christmas Worship service that is an annual tradition for missionary service in her community.
Jim Carter
Jim Carter graduated with a double-major in Elementary Education and Organ Performance and Pedagogy from Brigham Young University, where he also played the bassoon in the philharmonic and chamber orchestras. He received his MEd from Mercer University. He has taught numerous group and private piano and organ students. Jim and his wife, Rebecca, have six children and hopefully will move in with one of them someday so they can write on their walls and stop up their toilets with toothbrushes. He is currently an assistant principal at Berkeley Lake Elementary in Duluth.
Don Cook
Don Cook joined the organ faculty of Brigham Young University in 1991. In that capacity he serves as organ area coordinator, as university carillonneur, and oversees the group organ program. Formerly he held associate organist/choirmaster positions at Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and at First United Methodist Church, Lubbock, Texas. He toured Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia with the Lubbock choir, and accompanied the Parish Choir of Christ Church Cranbrook on a singing tour of England.

After earning Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in organ at Brigham Young University, he received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Organ Performance from the University of Kansas. His principal organ teachers were J.J. Keeler at BYU and James Moeser at KU. For many years he served as head of the instrumental area for the BYU Workshop on Church Music, and currently directs the annual BYU Organ Workshop, founded in 2002. He appears frequently as a Guest Organist at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.

Dr. Cook studied carillon with Albert Gerken while pursuing doctoral studies in organ at the University of Kansas. He became a full member of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America in 1984, and has performed actively throughout North America since that time. He has served on the Board of Directors and as chair of the Music Publications Committee for the Guild. Carillon performances include a concert tour of Holland in 1990, and a recital tour of east-coast carillons in the summer of 1992. In 1994 he hosted the annual Congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America at Brigham Young University.

He has developed and published the first multimedia organ tutorial for pianists, Organ Tutor: Organ 101 in several versions. The tutorial is used for private and group instruction, BYU Independent Study courses, and by individuals in at least nine countries.
Sharla Dance
Sharla Dance has long been a favorite instructor at our workshops. She loves to teach children’s music. She published the book, To Teach a Child a Song, keeps a Primary blog,, and is about to publish a book to help people read the bass clef easily called “Using the Black Forest: Learning to read the Bass Clef”.

Her Bachelor of Music Education degree at BYU was a good start for post graduate studies in How the Child’s Brain Learns Music. Sharla is Kodaly and Orff Level trained, and she is currently studying how to teach children through improvisation at the piano with Forest Kinney. She combines brain research, teaching research an good plain fun as a way to teach teachers in her workshops. Her favorite workshops are those that combine gospel truths with the power of music to help each of us learn. Sharla has 5 children and an incredibly supportive husband. They live in the Seattle area.
Ginger Dean
Ginger started piano lessons as a young girl and stuck with it. She became the ward organist at age 13 even though she’d never played the organ. By age 15 she found she had a singing voice. She accompanied for many church choirs and youth groups. When her college art studies were postponed, she filled in the gap by taking music theory. Ginger found it exciting and spent the next four years continuing with music studies. Since then she has taught piano and organ, accompanied numerous musicians and choirs, played for church services, coached vocalists, started and led handbell choirs and led vocal choruses.
Linda Field
Linda has played the organ and piano since her teens in Falls Church, Virginia near her Washington, D.C. birthplace. She studied with J.J. Keeler and Robert Cundick at Brigham Young University and attained a B.A. Degree (cum laude) in Humanities. Though she took a hiatus from formal music studies to pursue a career and raise a family, she continued to play for the organ for New Canaan, Connecticut Ward for ten years.

Retiring from the business world — Linda is on her second career as a musician. She was guest organist for a variety of churches in Southern Delaware including Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Christian Science. She also co-founded the Southern Delaware Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and served as its first Dean.

She continues her organ studies with Dr. Thomas Schmidt (ret.) from Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City, where she gave her first recital in 2009. In 2011 she completed an 18-month assignment as Music Director at the Hyde Park Chapel in London, England, for the LDS Church as a volunteer missionary. While there, she taught over 50 students from 45 different countries and managed the Chapel’s public concert program featuring outstanding young musicians from the top London music schools.

In 2015 she moved to Roswell, Georgia, where she teaches piano and organ in her home studio. She is currently a member of the Atlanta Chapter of the AGO. She and her late husband have six children, and her first grandchild, Gemma, is the power behind her move south to Georgia.
Lori Finlay Hamilton
Lori is a Nurse Practitioner, who now specializes in integrative health and healing the Body, Mind and Spirit. Her fascination with music therapy began in Graduate school, where she started programs for critically injured patients. Since that time, she has studied with various experts in healing the brain, including Dr. Daniel Amen. She loves to play the flute and singing. Although she now has the blessing of singing under the baton of Gladys Knight, her favorite conductor has been her husband Mark.
Meghann Gavin
Meghann Gavin is a Georgia native and grew up singing and performing in a variety of musicals and choirs including All-State Choirs and the Governor’s Honors Program. She holds a Bachelors degree in Music Education (Choral Emphasis) from Brigham Young University where she studied conducting under the baton of Dr. Ronald Staheli. She sang and toured with the world renowned BYU Singers. She has taught music and choir at the elementary, middle, and high school levels as well as private voice lessons. Her greatest joy is her husband and their amazing three children.
Mark Hamilton
Mark has been conducting since he was a baby, clinching a bottle in his teeth, and bouncing his arms like a conductor, to the music! He started playing the piano and became the Sunday School organist at age 10. Although he excelled at and loved the piano, his mother told him that “the person really in charge was the director / chorister”.

He founded and directed for 25 years – Chords of Faith, an auditioned LDS choir in the Atlanta area. He was trained in the BYU choral conducting technique & learned how to really make a choir become a Zion choir, ie, become of one voice and one heart. It changed his life – and he’d love to change yours by sharing what he has learned.
Larnie Higgins
Larnie was called as the Ward organist at the age of 11 and has held that calling for over 40 years. (His autobiography will be titled, “My Life On the Bench”.) He studied organ with Steven Egler at Central Michigan University and developed an interest in the mechanics of pipe organs at an early age. He raises the level of worship and praise to a whole new level every time he plays. A graphic designer by trade – he has created numerous handouts, charts and tips that will transform anyone’s organ skills and understanding.
Joseph Hopkins
Joseph Hopkins studied Piano Performance at Brigham Young University with Dr. Jeffrey Shumway and Marlene Bachelder. He makes a living leading a team of consultants at a healthcare technology firm. He and his violinist wife, Tricia, enjoy performing at church and community events. They have four children (18, 16, 13, and 6) and reside on a small urban homestead in Decatur, Georgia.
Keri Hughes
Keri Hughes has been teaching singers for over 20 years in Georgia, Florida, and Utah. With a bachelors degree in Choral Music Education and a Masters degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy, Keri loves using her skills in her callings as Ward Music Chair and Ward Choir Director. She had the privilege of co-conducting the Atlanta based choir Chords of Faith for nine years and is thrilled to be returning to work with singers and choir directors in the Atlanta area. Keri is a Mentor Teacher with the International Voice Teachers of Mix where she currently serves as the United States Area Coordinator. She has been a guest vocal instructor for the Broadway Dreams Foundation and worked for thirteen years as the resident vocal coach for Atlanta’s Aurora Theatre. She is passionate about healthy, powerful singing and helps her clients develop their artistry and connect personally to their repertoire so they shine in professional and college auditions. Her clients have made the American Idol Top 40, signed recording contracts, toured nationally, and been accepted to the country’s top collegiate musical theatre programs. As a professional actress, her favorite roles include Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, Ilona in She Loves Me, and Abigail Adams in 1776.
Jim Kasen
Throughout his life, Jim has held a deep and abiding love for Church Music. He began piano studies at the age of eight working with Lois Olsen and Barbara Lee. At the age of 16, he began organ studies with Ethelyn Peterson and continued working with her until he was called in 1975 to serve a mission in the Philippines Manila Mission. Upon returning home, he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Organ Performance and a double major in Interpersonal Communications from Brigham Young University. In 1988, he completed a Master of Social Work (clinical) degree from the University of Utah. After working for a few years, he felt his formal music education was not complete and decided to return to Brigham Young University part-time to earn a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting which he completed in 1999. His mentors have included Dr. Mack Wilberg, Dr. Ronald Staheli, Dr. John Longhurst, and many other accomplished musicians. He has served as a guest organist on Temple Square giving to date 75 recitals. He has served as one of the founders and conductors of the Missionary Training Center Choir, and been the assistant director of both the BYU Men’s Chorus and the BYU Oratorio Choir. He has been significantly involved in teaching and training LDS Church musicians and has directed choruses for various worship services including General Conferences of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other general meetings. Mr. Kasen has served as a member of the LDS Church Music Committee and sang with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1990 to 1995. He has published numerous choral arrangements and in 2016 completed a seventh volume of organ works.

In 2000, he began working at Brigham Young University in the University Relations department and currently holds the position of director of the department. In addition, he is an adjunct instructor in the BYU School of Music where he is presently teaching Choral Arranging.
Eric Kristjanson
Eric started playing the piano when he was 8. He took lessons for about 4 - 5 years and decided to continue on his own. He performed in choral groups in high school and in college. However, most of his musical experience has been within the church accompanying congregations, soloists, and choirs. Currently he is one of two accompanists for the Sugar Hill LDS Choir. He feels like “I’m my best musician” when I’m accompanying someone else. Those who hear Eric’s music say “Eric’s approach to accompanying worship is the best, the most Spiritually thoughtful, attuning, and inspiring I have ever heard, especially in the prelude and postlude, where improvisation and color make a world of difference.”

Eric and his wife and have two daughters and two sons, three of which are married, as well as 10 grandchildren (five girls and five boys).
Deanne Ohman
Deanne has a passion for music! This passion lead her to pursue and graduate with her bachelor degree in piano. She especially enjoys accompanying for choirs and soloists. She was fortunate this past year to be asked to be the accompanist for her sister and brother-in-law (both international opera singers) for their concerts in Holland, England, Norway and here in the States. She has had the privilege and enjoyment of accompanying for many other choirs, one of which was Mark Hamilton’s, “Chords of Faith” and currently is playing for a community choir in Douglasville! She has been a ward organist for her ward and stake the past 35 years, teaches piano and is the co-vice president for the CCMTA dealing with their music festivals held at KSU.
Kymberly Stone Payne
Kymberly (Stone) Payne is a young organist who is passionate about sharing her love of the organ, and the power we have as organists to bless others and change lives. Kymberly completed her Masters of Music with an emphasis in Organ Performance at Brigham Young University in 2016.

While at BYU, Kymberly taught and performed extensively, both on the organ and carillon. As part of her graduate assistantship, Kymberly taught group organ classes, sightsinging and dictation classes, as well as private carillon and organ lessons.

In January of 2016, she began working as Organ Department Executive Assistant, and continued her work for BYU after graduation. Kymberly currently serves as Ward Organist in San Leandro, California, and has a private organ studio in her new home. Her newest organ service opportunity is her lifetime appointment as Guest Organist at the Tabernacle on Temple Square.
Christine Smith
Christine formally began studying piano at age 6. After studying with concert pianists Adelina Krivoshena and Asya Markova, she continued her studies at BYU earning a degree in Piano Performance. Since then she has enjoyed performing in solo recitals and in collaboration with other musicians and ensembles across the country. She lives in Cumming, Georgia with her husband and two children and serves as Stake Cultural Arts Director for the Roswell Stake and ward choir pianist. She is currently Sound & Music Director/Composer-in-Residence for RPR studios and also teaches private piano lessons in her studio in Cumming, Georgia.
Victoria Wilcox
Victoria Wilcox is a singer, songwriter, speaker and author who has directed Ward, Stake, and Regional choirs for over 30 years in the Atlanta area. A highlight of her musical service was being called to conduct the 250 voice choir that sang for President Gordon B. Hinckley on his historic visit to the South. In addition to her service in church music, Wilcox is founding director of Georgia’s Holliday-Dorsey-Fife Museum, the antebellum home of the family of Western legend, Doc Holliday.
As a composer, she's written songs recorded by Nashville artists, as well as the Primary song Jesus Walked Upon the Water and the hymn O Lord, Make us a Holy People, chosen by Sister Wendy Watson Nelson as the theme song for her firesides around the world.