Gretchen R. Iben Arts Series
of the 2017 – 2018 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 three 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 an interesting program for children and children of all ages … a rousing hymn sing and a superb organ recital.

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







Sunday, March 4, 2018, at 3 PM

a multi-media event for children and children of all ages

New Orleans gave birth to the only uniquely American art music … jazz.  Once established in Louisiana, jazz traveled up the Mississippi to Memphis and St. Louis, and then on up the Illinois River to Peoria and on to Chicago. This musical journey gives the Peoria area a rich heritage in jazz as witnessed by the many jazz groups in the area as well as jazz programs in the local colleges.  This FREE program is an introduction to this rich heritage for children (of all ages).  Beginning at 3:00 p.m. on March 4, children are invited to join us in the Parish House for some fun art projects that will create some informal instruments and fill in maps that show the progress of jazz. Then at four o’clock, all will go into the church to hear the Westminster Jazz Ensemble led by David Hoffman, renowned trumpeter, who will show the group the various jazz instruments and how they work together and as solos to create great music.  All are cordially invited to join us.  We will end with some refreshments and send everyone home with a swing in their step.

Jazzing up the Rivers Program



Sunday, April 22, 2018, at 4 PM

a Welsh Hymn Sing that will thrill your soul.

The Welsh people are world famous for their singing.  This small nation to the west of England has brought to the world some of the most thrilling hymnody of all time. In the 19th century, there was a tremendous outpouring of great poetry and music for the church.  It has become the heart and soul of a people.  It is thrilling to witness and be a part of this kind of singing.  At a Gymanfa Ganu, we use a conductor who helps bring the best out of the singers … who are the congregation!  Our conductor will be Mari Morgan, a native of Wales and now a U.S. citizen.  She has conducted all over the world including her native Wales, the United States, and Canada as well as Australia and New Zealand. The choir of Westminster will also bring a couple of anthems from Welsh composers and Thomas Clark-Jones will preside at Westminster’s thrilling organ.  Even if you think this is not for you … you are wrong!  It is!  It’s fun and thrilling beyond what you can imagine.  Come and be a part of a great tradition of music.  On Saturday, April 21 1:00 p.m. Ms. Morgan will present a lecture/demonstration of many things Welsh.  It’s a fun time of learning a bit of Welsh and singing some folk music and learning about Welsh culture in general. Admission Free!

Welsh Sing Iben Poster
Gymanfa Ganu – Welsh Sing Program




Friday Evening, June 1, 2018, at 7:30 PM

the opening event of the Peoria Bach Festival

Stephen Buzard, a native of Champaign, Illinois visits Peoria to play an all-Bach recital on the great Visser-Rowland organ of Westminster Church.  Stephen is the son of John-Paul Buzard the organ builder.  Mr. Buzard was trained at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and at the Yale School of Sacred Music in New Haven.  He was hired as the associate Organist-Choirmaster at St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue, New York, and ended up running the entire world-famous choral program for a year after the untimely death of Sir John Scott.  From New York, Stephen returned to his native Illinois as the Organist-Choirmaster of the Cathedral Church of St. James in Chicago, one of the country’s most respected music programs.  He maintains an active schedule of recitals as well as his busy musical life at the Cathedral.  We are pleased to welcome to Peoria this famous son of Illinois.  The Peoria Bach Festival continues through the next week with numerous programs at Trinity Lutheran Church on Randolph Avenue.  Join us for a thrilling evening of organ music from the great master … Johann Sebastian Bach.

Peoria Bach Festival
Opening Concert Program – Stephen Buzard



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.