Gretchen R. Iben Arts Series


WELCOME to the NEW SEASON of the Gretchen R. Iben Fine Art Series at Westminster Church of Peoria

Here at Westminster, we have had much changed in the daily life of our congregation by the appearance of the COVID-19 virus in the US.  Taking shut down requests most seriously, we have not worshipped in the church since last March and will open once again on Sunday, September 27 when we will resume public worship in a limited manner, with safety precautions in place as firmly as possible.  No one can guarantee a completely safe experience at this time, but we are doing everything in our power to get back to some normalcy while following the guidelines set before us by the scientific community.

Jazz has become an integral part of the worship at Westminster in the last few years and we continue that tradition with this opening Iben Concert for 2020-2021. David Hoffman has led this endeavor from the start and continues with us this year as the leader of the group.  Come, enjoy some great music … music to lift your spirits.

Thank you for your interest in the Iben Series. We hope you will enjoy the various offerings to be given during the 2020-2021 season. If you wish to help fund this series, there will be an offering plate at the door at the end of each concert.  If you wish to make a donation of $25.00 or over, your name will be mentioned in program booklets through the rest of the season.  Contact the church office for further information about this support opportunity.

Thomas Clark-Jones
Organ & Choirmaster
Gretchen R. Iben, Chair



  • Make a reservation for your seat by clicking on the time you want to attend above.
  • Groups of family members who live together are able to sit together.
  • All others will be separated by at least six feet.
  • Seating will be in every other row of pews with an optimum distancing from performers.
  • Everyone in attendance will wear a mask.  If you forget yours, we have a disposable one for you.
  • Seating by ushers only. They will guide you to your seat.
  • Ushers will also dismiss the audience/congregation by rows.
  • Applause is greatly appreciated as it is totally safe!
  • Questions can be answered by contacting us at www.westminsterpeoria.org OR by
  • calling the church office during business hours … 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.







FRIDAY EVENING … 20 November at seven-thirty o’clock …

            HAIL CÈSAR!    A Recital of the Organ Works of Cèsar Franck


Perhaps the most celebrated Organist-Composer next to J.S. Bach, Franck set the parameters of French organ music of the Romantic period. A Belgian native who took Paris by storm, first as a student and then as performer and teacher, Franck set the standard for nineteenth century organ music of the French symphonic composers to follow.  The glory of this music comes in grand gestures of sweeping beauty made possible by the appearance of the great French symphonic organs of the time.  From quiet meditative pieces to the splendor of the “Three Chorales”, the music does not disappoint.  Come hear a representative selection of the master’s works played by Thomas Clark-Jones, organist at Westminster Church. Works include the Pastorale, Cantabile, Pièce Héroïque and the Three Chorales.  Tickets are necessary, but free. Get your tickets at EventBrite.com  A free will offering to benefit the Iben Series will be received.



SUNDAY AFTERNOON … 13 December at four and seven-thirty o’clock …

            A JAZZ CHRISTMAS!  Christmas with Dave Hoffman and the gang


Music sacred and secular in the language of America’s music … JAZZ!  From seasonal favorites to great carols of the season, Dave and the gang bring a fresh look at our celebration of Christmas in the River City.  Rev. Denise Clark-Jones adds contemporary poetry and readings from the biblical Nativity Narrative to focus the program on the true meaning of the holiday.  There will be original music by David Hoffman as well as beloved standards.  Come and make this the beginning of your celebration.  Seating limited. Tickets are a must.  Free tickets, but your ticket is your reservation for an appropriately distanced seat in these days of Covid-19.  Get your tickets at EventBrite.com.



SUNDAY AFTERNOON … 20 December at four 


Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols Program

(Note: Music begins at 4 minutes 35 seconds)

Although we cannot open the church to the public for our annual Lessons and Carols service, it will be live-streamed on Sunday, December 20 at 4:00 p.m. A program will be available to print out (above) with the words to the Christmas carols so you can sing along. The Westminster Vocal Quartet will be singing beautiful Christmas anthems interspersed between the scripture readings and congregational singing. After the live event, a recording will be available throughout the Christmas season on the church website and YouTube. This popular service is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit!

The Quartet of Westminster Church
Melissa Blain, soprano;
Kate Kortemeier, alto
J. Douglas McQueen, tenor;
David Kortemeier, baritone

The Westminster Quartet, along with organist Thomas Clark-Jones, presents this historic service as celebrated annually at Kings College, Cambridge, England.  It is a simple service of nine scripture lessons from the beautiful King James Bible and carols for congregation and choir. It is sure to brighten your Christmas.  Included are choral carols by Warlock, Carter, Rutter, Mathias, and more.



SATURDAY EVENING …27 February 2021 at eight o’clock or Sunday, 28 February at four …


The brilliant composer and pianist, John Orfe joins the Iben Series for a performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”.  This dramatic work was written in 1940 when Messiaen was a prisoner of war during the German occupation of France.  Written for instruments at hand … violin, clarinet, cello and piano … it reflects the emotions present in all of Europe during the Second World War.  As we move forward eighty years, it is still a cogent statement of a world falling apart.  In addition to the Messiaen, the group will play several of Dr. Orfe’s new works completed in the last year.  This concert was to have been held last spring, but was cancelled due to the virus.  Now we present it with appropriate distancing and all possible precautions for safety.  Seating is very limited.  Your ticket can be obtained at EventBrite.com. If there is sufficient demand, a second performance will take place on Saturday evening, February 27 at seven-thirty to accommodate the overflow. 



SUNDAY AFTERNOON … 11 April at four o’clock …


The Westminster Quartet, with Thomas Clark-Jones at the organ will present a service of Choral Evensong for the Sunday after Easter.  This is a traditional service of Evening Prayer with music from the Anglican tradition.  The Preces and Responses are composed by Thomas Clark-Jones.  Music of the Evening Canticles (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis) are by Harold W. Friedell.  The evening anthems by Balfour Gardiner and John Joubert.  Following the service, the quartet presents the delightful cantata,  ‘Rejoice in the Lamb’ by Benjamin Britten.  Rev. Denise Clark-Jones is the celebrant for the service.  Tickets from EventBrite.com



FRIDAY EVENING … 4 June at seven-thirty …

            BACH FOR THE ORGAN. A tribute to the Peoria Bach Festival

Organist, Thomas Clark-Jones plays music of J.S. Bach.  More details at a later date.  Works include the Concerto I (after Johann Ernst); Partitas on ‘O Gott, du frommer Gott’, and the Passacaglia and Fugue in c minor, among others. 





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!