Gretchen R. Iben Arts Series





            to the second half of the 2018 – 2019 Gretchen R. Iben Series

Westminster Church of Peoria is pleased to announce the second half of the Gretchen R. Iben Arts Series.  We are presenting four excellent programs that you are sure to enjoy.  These are free events … we invite you to support the series if you like, but we do not sell tickets for the events.  If you would like to contribute, any amount $25 and over will be acknowledged in each program.  As we enter this spring season of the Series, we present a concert for two pianos; an interesting program for children, and children of all ages … an evening of essential jazz and a superb organ recital was given by one of the outstanding young organists in our country.

Look at the events, and set the dates aside now and come to enjoy great music at Westminster Church.  We welcome the entire community to enjoy the artistic riches of our beautiful church on West Moss Avenue.  Come and enjoy!

Thomas Clark-Jones
Chair of the Iben Arts Series

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Concert Program

a program featuring the Crown Prince of musical instruments

Friday, February 22 at seven-thirty o’clock

The second half of the Gretchen R. Iben Arts Series opens with the brilliant piano-duo of Choi and Orfe.  Chee Hyeon Choi from the Bradley Faculty joins John Orfe, founder of the contemporary music group “Alarm Will Sound” and organist at First Methodist Church, Peoria in a concert featuring the rich textures created by using two pianos. The program opens with Three Symphonic Dances by Cyril Scott, arranged by Percy Grainger. Next, on the program are the Symphonic Dances from “West Side Story” of Leonard Bernstein … a composer who sits on the cusp between serious art music and the Broadway musical.  Two pieces of Nikolai Medtner begin the second half of the program which concludes with the Symphonic Dances of Sergei Rachmaninoff.  An ambitious program played by two consummate musical artists.  Don’t miss this glorious evening of unforgettable music.


Peter & the Wolf

Concert Program

a multi-media event for children of all ages

Sunday, March 24 at three o’clock

David Cyzak of the Bradley University faculty of music along with other professional wind players present the children’s classic, “Peter and the Wolf” by Prokofiev.  The afternoon begins at three when children (and parents) gather in the Fellowship Hall of the Parish House to create puppets and other artistic pieces to illustrate the ‘Wolf’ story.  Once completed, the group moves to the Sanctuary where the wind quintet and narrator Lee Wenger from WCBU, public radio for Central Illinois will present a full reading of this classic treasure specifically written to involve children in the classical music experience.  All are welcome. Admission is free.



piano jazz with bass and little else 

Friday, May 3 at seven thirty o’clock

Zack Barnes, pianist and Gus Martini on the bass show the essential nature of jazz.  A piano and a bass and two remarkably gifted young musicians.  Both are seniors at Knox College in Galesburg and have been involved in jazz since they were children.  You just might find a special guest or two to liven up the ensemble for some of the music … but together, they create a complete and satisfying jazz experience.  It is always great to have young talent to display, and these two young people testify to the fact that jazz is in good hands for yet another generation.



the opening event of the Peoria Bach Festival

Friday evening, May 31 at seven-thirty o’clock

Caroline Robinson, a concert organist, makes her Peoria debut as we open the Peoria Bach Festival for the fourth year here at Westminster.  A native of Greenville, SC, Ms. Robinson earned the B.Mus. degree from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and went on to study with Michel Bouvard in France under a Fulbright Grant, earn a Master of Music degree at the Eastman School in Rochester, New York and currently is finishing her work as a candidate for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Eastman. Her playing is dramatically more mature than her youth would indicate.  She is a masterful interpreter of the music of J.S. Bach as well as other important composers for the organ.  In addition to her studies, she is the Minister of Music at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pittsfield, New York.  Last year she was chosen as one of the most important young organists under thirty years of age by the Diapason Magazine.  We welcome her to Peoria, Westminster and to the Peoria Bach Festival.



We cordially invite you to join us in these events.  There is no charge for the events, although a basket will be available for donations if you are so moved.  If you wish to support the series with a significant donation, all gifts of $25 and more will be acknowledged in each program during the season.

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!







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.

All concerts and services are presented free of charge.  The opportunity for a free-will offering may be provided, but you do not need to feel that you must contribute.  Any gifts of $25 and over 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. 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!

A nursery for young children is available at all concerts and services.

If you wish to be a part of helping to defray costs of these concerts and thus make the funds available each year more plentiful, you may do so by writing a check to Westminster Presbyterian Church and mark the memo … “Iben Series”.  All gifts $25 and above will be acknowledged in each of the season’s programs.