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

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.





MARCH 27, 2020

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)


MAY 3, 2020


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)


MAY 29,2020

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.



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!