The Tabernacle Choir Blog

Credit Scott Scheetz

New Temple Square Organist Appointed

After a broad and thorough search of applicants that was announced through Church and media channels around the world, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square announced on Friday, April 12, 2019, that Joseph Peeples has been appointed as the newest Temple Square organist. Peeples joins a long line of distinguished musicians who have served as organists on Temple Square, continuing a tradition that stretches back to early pioneer days in Utah. When he begins his service this June, he will join three current full-time Tabernacle organists: Richard Elliott, Andrew Unsworth, and Brian Mathias, and two other part-time Temple Square organists, Bonnie Goodliffe and Linda Margetts.

Temple Square organists are key members of The Tabernacle Choir’s musical staff and are known for their high level of professional organ skills. They bring the sound of the iconic Tabernacle and Conference Center organs alive for audiences from around the world. Temple Square organists provide missionary and public relations service through daily organ recitals and periodic performances with The Tabernacle Choir. As part-time organists, they give classroom instruction for the Choir training school, provide accompaniment for rehearsals and concerts of the Temple Square Chorale and Bells on Temple Square performing groups, and provide organ support for other Church and community events held on Temple Square.

Mack Wilberg, music director of the Choir, looks forward to the addition of Peeples to the artistic staff on Temple Square. “We are extremely pleased to welcome Joseph Peeples as Temple Square organist,” he said. “He is a talented musician who will add to the excellent tradition of the Choir family.”

“We warmly welcome Joseph to the organ staff and look forward to his musical contributions on Temple Square,” said Richard Elliott, principal Tabernacle organist, on behalf of the entire organ staff.

Prior to his appointment, Peeples was university organist at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California, where he taught courses in applied organ, keyboard harmony, and music appreciation. He has given monthly faculty recitals in Samuelson Chapel on the Thousand Oaks campus. Peeples has also been serving as organist at First United Methodist Church in Santa Barbara, where he accompanied the Chancel Choir. He was previously the organist of Speedway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Speedway, Indiana, and he has accompanied the nationally recognized collegiate choirs of Brigham Young University. 

He received his master’s degree in organ performance from BYU. While there, he studied organ with Don Cook and Douglas Bush, conducting with Rosalind Hall, and carillon with Don Cook. He has completed coursework for a doctorate at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he studied organ with Janette Fishell, Christopher Young, and Bruce Neswick. Peeples is on the faculty for the annual BYU Organ Workshop and has taught a wide variety of courses in music theory and musicianship at Pepperdine University, Indiana University, and Brigham Young University.