Gretchen R. Iben Arts Series




WELCOME … to the 2019 – 2020 season of the Gretchen R. Iben Arts Series. Each season, we seek to bring interesting and fun programs to the Peoria community.  Some are more serious than others … but all have the capability of enriching your cultural life.  Excellence has been the hallmark of this series.  Each of these programs, be they jazz or classical is of the highest caliber and will bring to the listener true inspiration through excellence in the arts.

This fall we have several offerings sure to please.  Two concerts from our Jazz Trio along with some of their good friends in the Central Illinois jazz community.  On the more serious side, music from John Jost’s new chamber choir, Lumiere, whose debut concert last spring was a triumph.  Add to that some chamber music and two great Christmas programs and it’s a feast of great music fit for royalty! 

We hope you will peruse this brochure and set aside dates of the concerts that most interest you and be sure to come by Westminster for inspiration.  If you would like to join us in making these concerts possible, we invite you to be a supporter of the series through a donation of $25.00 or more.  A check to Westminster Presbyterian Church and noted “Iben Fund” will make it happen, and we will be most grateful.  Through your generosity, we are able to do far more than the original bequest would make possible.  So, if you love great music, join us in this endeavor.  And we hope you will enjoy the music!

                                                                                    Thomas Clark-Jones
                                                                                    Chair, Gretchen R. Iben Arts Series





August 25, 2019
Sunday afternoon at 4 PM

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JAZZ FOR THE JOY OF IT!  David Hoffman and the Westminster Jazz Ensemble are joined by Larry Harms on reeds and Kevin Hart on piano and vibraphone for an afternoon of sheer fun.  The program will feature many of your favorite jazz standards as well as some of David’s inspired original tunes, all spun out to perfection by this spectacular ensemble.  We hope this concert will be a reminder that our Jazz Vesper service will resume on September 8 at four in the afternoon and continue on the Second Sunday of the month throughout the 2019-2020 season.  Admission to this concert is free.




October 11, 2019 
Friday evening at 7:30 PM

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AN ORGAN EXTRAVAGANZA!  This year, 2019, is the thirtieth anniversary of the dedication of the spectacular Visser-Rowland pipe organ at Westminster Church.  In celebration, organist Thomas Clark-Jones brings a wide-ranging program for a solo organ to show off this dazzling instrument.  Music of Pachelbel, Bach, Franck, Peeters, Sowerby, and Alain will be the musical fare for the evening.  A native of northeastern Pennsylvania, Mr. Clark-Jones spent more than fifty years as a professional church musician before retiring to Peoria and Westminster Church.  He has played recitals internationally, founded an award-winning Children’s Choir in Virginia and taught at the University of Michigan’s Flint Campus.  An all-around musician, he brings a lifetime of experience to these beloved organ works.  Admission is free … a free-will offering received at the door to benefit the Iben Series.




November 3, 2019
Sunday evening at 6 PM

LUMIERE! … The brilliant chamber choir that made its debut at Westminster Church last spring brings another program drawn from the heart of the great choral literature under the direction of Dr. John Jost.  Dr. Jost spent many years as the Director of Choral Activities at Bradley University and is the founder and music director of the Peoria Bach Festival.  His name alone is enough to fill the house. Come early, and enjoy Peoria’s finest!

Admission to each concert is $10 for adults and $5 for students.  Tickets are available at the door.  Call (309) 691-8768 for more details or to reserve tickets.

Lumiere is a choral organization that makes its performing home at Westminster.




November 8m 2019
Friday evening at 7:30 PM

MUSIC FOR HARPSICHORD, FLUTE, AND VIOLIN!  Carol Wessler, well-known area cellist and keyboard artist, brings her harpsichord to Westminster for a program featuring this predecessor of the piano in its many roles in both earlier music and contemporary literature.  She is joined by Kyle Dzapo, flutist, and Kelsey Klopfenstein, violinist, in an evening of delightful Chamber Music in a room ideal for this literature.  Admission is free.




December 8, 2019
Sunday afternoon at 4 PM 

A FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS!  Set aside this date for the annual Festival sung by the Choir of Westminster Church under the direction of Thomas Clark-Jones.  This season we feature musical gems of John Rutter, Healey Willan, Stephen Cleobury, and Jackson Berkey.  Each is a small masterwork for choir and they are sure to inspire and set the mood for your coming Christmas celebration.  Readings from the historic King James Bible set the stage for the Nativity Narrative read by various members of the Westminster family.  Admission is free.




December 15, 2019
Sunday afternoon at 4 PM

A JAZZ CHRISTMAS!  David Hoffman and our Westminster Jazz ensemble mark the Holy Season with traditional carols in the jazz format as well as original compositions from David’s pen.  The music is interspersed with readings of contemporary poetry and the Christmas Narrative from contemporary translations of the Scripture.  If this doesn’t make your Christmas Merry … nothing will.  It is an afternoon of sheer joy, and coming early to get a good seat is advised.  No charge for admission.




looking ahead into 2020 …


There are several programs worthy of your time.  In March … another concert by “Lumiere!”, John Jost’s superb chamber choir.  Later in the season, John Orfe, the brilliant composer and pianist who lives and works among us here in Central Illinois, will be bringing some guest artists to join him in a performance of the twentieth-century masterpiece, “Quartet for the End of Time” by Olivier Messiaen.  Also on that program, the debut of a new clarinet sonata by Dr. Orfe.   Also an offering of Anglican Choral Evensong by the choir of Westminster.  This beautiful service is a superb vehicle for hearing some of the great English choral music of the past five centuries.  And finally, Westminster once again hosts the opening concert of the Peoria Bach Festival with an organ recital by Craig Cramer, brilliant concert organist and head of the organ study at Notre Dame University in Indiana.  A full brochure will be available on these events coming in 2020 in mid-January of the new year.



We cordially invite you to join us in these events. These concerts are made possible by gifts from those who enjoy these concerts and by a generous endowment left to Westminster Church from the Estate of Mrs. Gretchen R. Iben.  The church decided that since Mrs. Iben was a benefactor of the arts throughout Central Illinois, this gift should be used for an arts series in her honor.

Westminster Church is easily accessible from anywhere in the Greater Peoria area. We also offer plenty of off-street parking on the church campus … and the church is completely handicapped accessible.  Please join us for this wonderful season!

There is no charge for the events, although the opportunity for a free-will offering may be provided, you do not need to feel that you must contribute.  Any gifts of $25 and more are acknowledged in each program of the series. Gifts large and small help to defray expenses and allow the endowment to stretch further and provide more programming each year. Just click the “DONATE” button below or write a check to Westminster Presbyterian Church and mark the memo line … “Iben Series”.

Give as you are led, but don’t stay away if you do not make a donation … this series is for everyone … no strings …except those attached to violins, violas, and cellos, of course!