Oct 292009
Authors: Kate Bennis

Mysterious, gothic vibration will spew forth Halloween night from the more than 2,000 pipes, ranging from 1 to 18 inches, of the University Center for the Arts’ Casavant organ.

Haunting the UCA halls Saturday will be the popular fourth annual “Halloween Organ Extravaganza,” which will reintroduce the 40-year-old organ to listeners. Because of maintenance and the move off the Oval to the UCA, the organ was not featured in last year’s concert.

“This is the first year in our new building with the organ renovated, so there is a lot of excitement,” said Joel Bacon, professor of organ and liturgical studies.

The concert will feature a Halloween-inspired set performed by six organ students, 12 saxophone players and Bacon, all who will be dressed in holiday garb.

“The program is for the students, but it’s too much fun for me to not play one piece,” Bacon said.

Popular since its inception four years ago, Bacon said both he and the student performers were stunned by the original turnout for the concert, so much so that he added an additional performance on top of the scheduled two because people were turned away at the door.

In the end, the crowd was amazing, he said.

“For the rest of the year, I had people coming up to me at places like the grocery store, telling me that they’d tried to come to the concert, but they couldn’t get in,” he said.

Since, the popularity of the concert has continued to grow as families, and community members have flocked to the Halloween tradition. Also, attendees often come donning costume, which is highly encouraged by the performers.

This year’s performance will feature both humorous and frightening pieces, along with traditional Halloween organ music like “Bach’s Toccata Fugue in D Minor,” which has been featured in films, like “Tales from the Crypt” and video games, like “Donkey Kong.”

Traditionally, a senior organ student will perform the Toccata. This year, senior Elizabeth Ogg, will perform the piece as part of her fourth, and last, Halloween recital.

“It’s kind of bittersweet because this is my last Halloween performance, but the Cassavant sounds amazing in the new space, and I know it’s going to be a great experience,” Ogg said.

Students look forward to being a part of this year’s performance as much as those in attendance, Ogg said.

“As a performer, it’s unusual to have the opportunity to play for so many people at once, even with big ensembles,” she said. “It’s a fun and relaxed environment, and we have a blast in between.”

Performances are at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5 for the public, $3 for students and $3 for youth ages 2 to 17. Buying tickets in advance is highly recommended, as seats are filling quickly.

Tickets are available through the Campus Box Office in the Lory Student Center, by phone at (970) 491-4849, or online at http://www.csutix.com.

Staff writer Kate Bennis can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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