Gretchen R. Iben Arts Series

the gretchen r. iben arts series …

                                  at westminster church of Peoria

To All of our Friends and Supporters:

Although this notice will come as no surprise to anyone, nonetheless, it is not easy to write with the understanding that we will not be able to present the remainder of our Spring portion of the 2019 – 2020 Iben Series.

The much anticipated performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” which had been scheduled for the 27th of March will be rescheduled in the fall.  The musicians preparing this remarkable work are anxious to share it with the Peoria community.  It’s eerie title might make one wonder as to how appropriate it is at this time, but I think you will find it most intriguing. The title is a ‘double meaning’.  Yes, it is in part inspired by the biblical book of Revelation, but also describes a key factor in the music of Messiaen …the fact that he seems to be able to suspend time. The music seems to float free of the usual burden of being in time and space.  It is a characteristic of all this composer’s work and gives one a sense of eternity … a most unusual feeling. So look for further information of this as the fall season begins.

We are also sad to report that the recital of Dr. Craig Cramer from Notre Dame will be cancelled along with the rest of the Peoria Bach Festival for this year.  We are in negotiations with Dr. Cramer in hopes that he will be able to play his Bach recital for us next spring.

All of us at Westminster Church of Peoria look forward to the day when we can once again gather to present great music in a great space.  Until the ‘all clear’ is sounded, may the grace of God be with you as you do your part to help quash this most difficult virus among us.  We pray for your well being, and that we will meet in the pews of Westminster Church again this fall to enjoy some of the great music of the ages.   Peace to all …

Thomas Clark-Jones, Organist-Choirmaster
Chair, Gretchen R. Iben Series



Spring events of the 2019-2020 season




MARCH 1, 2020

The Chamber Choir of Peoria under the direction of Dr. John Jost presents an evening of challenging choral works with the elegant beauty of all Dr. Jost’s work.  The highlight of the concert is a performance of the brilliant cantata, Rejoice in the Lamb by a twentieth-century master, Benjamin Britten.  It will be an evening of inspiration and delight!  Admission: $10; students $5.





A program of contemporary masterworks. Dr. John Orfe, pianist; Adrinna Ransom, cellist; Kelsey Klopfenstein, violinist and David Gresham, clarinetist join to present the dazzling twentieth-century masterpiece, Quartet for the End of Time by Olivier Messiaen. This is music to challenge your soul and intrigue your mind. It seems suspended in place and time as only the music of Messiaen can.  Along with the featured work is a world premiere of John Orfe’s Clarinet Sonata.  Admission free; an offering is taken as you depart.


This is an update on the Iben Concert scheduled for 27 March.  As with any event planned well in advance, on occasion, some changes must be made.  And so it is with the Iben Concert scheduled for 27 March.  First … it will be at 8:00 p.m. rather than our usual 7:30 time frame. The concert, entitled, “Music for the End of Time” still features Olivier Messiaen’s dramatic and deeply spiritual ‘Quartet for the End of Time’  with Dr. John Orfe at the piano, Kelsey Klopfenstein, violinist; Adrianna Ransom, cellist and David Gresham, clarinetist.  It is a performance you will not want to miss.  This rarely performed masterwork is a profound expression of our own times in the music language.  Originally scheduled for this concert was a premier of Dr. Orfe’s new “Clarinet Sonata”, but it has not been possible to complete and rehearse the work to include it in this concert.  In its place will be a piano work entitled, “Toward the Center” by American composer Yehudi Wyner.  Wyner is highly respected in the musical world and has won the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2006 for his Piano Concerto.  In the past few years, he has become one of Dr. Orfe’s mentors and we are pleased to present this work composed in our own time.  Soooo … remember the time change to 8:00 p.m. and come and enjoy some wonderful music.             …tcj



(in the English Tradition)


 The Anglican Church’s service of Evening Prayers, well established by 1662, and known as Choral Evensong will be sung by the Choir of Westminster Church.  Preces and Responses by Thomas Clark-Jones; Evening Canticles by Harold W. Friedell and anthems by Francis Jackson, Benjamin Britten and Balfour Gardiner.  And a short homily by the Rev. Denise Clark-Jones.  It is a beautiful way to end a Sunday … in the beauty of Westminster Church with great music.



(opening concert)


This year we present Dr. Craig Cramer who will come to Peoria newly retired from his long-time post of Professor of Organ at Notre Dame University in Indiana.  Dr. Cramer holds a degree from Westminster Choir College and the Eastman School of Music, where he earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in organ performance. He has performed for conventions of the American Guild of Organists and Association of Lutheran Church Musicians. He has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras and has 15 CD recordings to his credit.  He regularly tours in Europe and across North America.





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!