Celebrate Halloween with a spooky organ concert

October 25, 2017

9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31

Organist Michael J. Elsbernd will perform a Halloween concert at Grinnell College on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m., the free, public performance will start at 9 p.m. in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park St., Grinnell.

Elsbernd, who serves as director of worship, music and organist and choir director at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Des Moines, will open the concert with J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in d minor. The program also includes selections from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera and works by Johann Pachelbel, Jehan Alain, Pietro A. Yon, and Leon Boëlimann.

The audience will be invited to join in singing three Ghoultide Scarols composed by Thomas Paviechko. Scarols are Yuletide carols set in a minor key with spooky accompaniments and Halloween words. The scarols featured in Grinnell’s concert are “Rattling Bones,” “I Spied Three Haunted Ships” and “The Wailing Scarol.”

In addition to his work at St. John’s, Elsbernd is an adjunct faculty member at Grand View University in Des Moines, where he teaches organ.  Prior to his 2015 appointment at St. John’s, he served as director of music ministry and principal organist at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

A graduate of Luther College, Elsbernd also holds a master’s degree in music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and a doctorate in musical arts from the University of Michigan. He has made concert appearances as an ensemble player with Boston Brass, Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, Arrowhead Chorale, Twin Ports Wind Ensemble, and the choirs of South Dakota State University. As an organist and harpsichordist, he performed regularly with the Michigan Sinfonietta Orchestra.

Grinnell College’s Public Events Committee is sponsoring this performance.

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