On the night of June 13, Elliott, the principal organist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will paint the Eliza R. Snow Center’s Barrus Concert Hall with music played on the Ruffatti Organ.
“It goes all the way from this huge, full organ, all the way down to the softest sounds on the organ and every color in between,” said organist Richard Elliott about a song he has practiced for his upcoming concert. “I’m using almost every color on this organ at one point or another in that piece.”
Usually, Elliott accompanies the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the weekly radio and TV show Music and the Spoken Word.
“I love playing for the choir because the whole is greater than the sum of all the parts,” Elliott said. “People just light up when they see over three hundred people up there in perfect rhythmic harmony and unity.”
His solo concert at BYU-Idaho is built on the pillars of two pieces, “Variations on a Noel” and “How Brightly Shines the Morning Star.”
“The rest of the program I’m filling out with a whole variety of things (including) one piece that I wrote, a piece that was written by one of my organ teachers, a Bach piece and … a piece that everybody associates with graduation,” Elliott said.
Elliott said the featured pieces help listeners glimpse the eternal and great accomplishments of the human mind.
“Music is a gift from heavenly father,” Elliott said. “When you think about the great composers like Bach, it not only points out God’s greatness but also the great accomplishments of people when they tune into truth, beauty and great ideas.”
Elliott encourages BYU-I students and community members to partake of the variety and quality of concerts the school provides.
“There’s a lot of ugliness, bad feelings… polarization,” Elliott said. “Music transcends that and reminds us how much we have in common with … our brothers and sisters around us. To me, that’s the number one reason for attending a live concert now. You look around and people are of all different backgrounds and yet, when you’re at a concert, you’re all experiencing the same things and feeling a connection with the performers.”
Tickets for Elliott’s concert are $8 for the general public and $4 for BYU-I students.