13th annual Halloween Organ Extravaganza of spooky fun

Jack o' Lantern and organWith the autumn season and Halloween rapidly approaching, the University Center for the Arts is preparing for the 13th Annual Organ Extravaganza. Joel Bacon and his organ students will perform three shows on Halloween at 7 p.m., 9 p.m., and 11 p.m. in the Organ Recital Hall at the UCA.

Each year, Bacon prepares programs that are unique, spine-chilling and surprising for audience members. In addition to the organ music, special effects will be used, and no one can expect what surprises he has in store for this year’s concerts.

“Every year we try to do something really different and unusual,” promises Bacon. “It has almost been a challenge for me every year… I think, how can we top that?”

In past years, special effects have included fake snow falling on the audience, light shows and costumes. This year the concert also aligns with several important dates: the 10th Anniversary of the UCA and the 50th Anniversary of the Casavant Organ.

Casavant organ

“The organ is a magnificent instrument,” Bacon says. “It is a powerful majestic commanding sound… I was surprised at how amazingly quiet it could get as well the variety of colors in it.”

The Casavant Freres Organ was made in 1968 by Lawrence Phelps, and is considered to be a landmark instrument in organ history.

“At the time, it was considered rather odd for an American university to build an instrument with the kind of mechanical action that they would have had back then,” Bacon said.

It was created in the style of 17th- and 18th-century Northern European organs for baroque music and was influential as one of the finest organs built in the 20th century, leading to CSU’s international distinction in the organ revival movement.

In this month’s concerts, the organ will continue to represent important music in our community. Over the course of its 13 years, the Halloween Organ Extravaganza has served as an event of unity for the Fort Collins and CSU communities.

“We have one couple that comes every year that had a first date at a Halloween organ recital and got married. It’s an anniversary for them when they come,” says Bacon. “Someone else who had been going through some medical treatments didn’t know if they were well enough to come to the recital, but decided to come anyway. It lifted their spirits and helped them get through a few really rough weeks.”

With the many festivities for the UCA’s celebrations underway, the Halloween Organ Extravaganza will provide for a concert series full of family-friendly and spooky music.