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John Longhurst: Mormon Musician
John Longhurst was a Tabernacle organist from 1977 through December 2007. Prior to that appointment, he was on the music faculty at Brigham Young University. He also sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during the 1960s.
Longhurst was born in 1940 and spent part of his childhood on a ranch near Placerville, California. When his father died in 1949, his family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.
He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Utah. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. He studied for a number of years with organists Alexander Schreiner, David Craighead, and Robert Noehren.
Throughout his thirty-year career, Longhurst played in 59 general conferences, hundreds of recitals and concerts, numerous other events (such as firesides and funerals), and was heard via radio and television with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Music and the Spoken Word broadcast. He arranged and composed music as well, including the hymn “I Believe in Christ,” which is found in the 1985 LDS hymnbook; he also composed the lesser known “We’re Not Ashamed to Own Our Lord.”
Longhurst oversaw the planning, selection, and installation of the Conference Center organ, which took several years. He also worked with Robert Cundick in overseeing the renovation of the Tabernacle organ in 1988, the installation of organs in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and the Assembly Hall on Temple Square, and three small practice organs for the organists.
Longhurst and his wife, Nancy, are the parents of five children, one of which passed away in infancy.