Music Medley

Chippewa Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists performs “Pipe Screams”

Robin Armagost

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Photo by Robin Armagost
The “Pipe Screams” concert featured organists and singers from throughout the Chippewa Valley.

Weddings, funerals and Mass are common events that go on inside a church. However, the Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire held a  different kind of event last weekend.

On Friday night, the Chippewa Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists performed at the Grace Lutheran Church. The Halloween-themed event was called “Pipe Screams” and was free of charge to the public.

Various songs were performed not only with the organ but with vocalists, pianists and different combinations of the three.

Some of the songs performed at the event were “Funeral March of a Marionette” by Charles Gounod, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” arranged by Roger Emerson and “Symphony No 1, opus 14” by Louis Vierne, among many others.

The singers who performed at the event were Julie Deboer, Wilma Hovland, Diana Cataldi, Paul Lokken, Pete Lokken and Collin Pomplun.

DeBoer and Hovland performed “Duetto Buffo Di Due Gatti” as a duet accompanied by Elaine Mann. Cataldi performed “Poor Unfortunate Souls” accompanied by Deboer. Cataldi, DeBoer, Hovland, the Lokkens and Pomplun sang “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” accompanied by Lorentzen, Reid and Mann.

The pianists who performed at the event were Elaine Mann, Julie DeBoer, Elaine Lorentzen and Andrew Reid.

The organists who performed during the event were Elaine Mann, Judy Lies, Elaine Lorentzen, Liz Wilson and Wilma Hovland.

On the organ, Mann performed “Introduction from Suite Gothique,” “Rondo alla Campanella” and “Symphony No 1, opus 14,.” Lies performed “Funeral March of a Marionette,” “Toccata in d minor” and “Fiesta” (a duet with Lorentzen). Lorentzen performed “Rondo for Organ” and “Fiesta” with Lies. Wilson performed “Dracula Suite.” Hovland performed “Prière à Notre Dame from Suite Gothique.”

Music wasn’t the only thing offered as entertainment that night. Lacy Sahr and Gary Steffenhagen narrated various spooky Halloween stories between each performance. The stories were “The Witching Hour” by Susan Cooper, “All Hallows Eve” by Constance B. Osbourne, “Halloween” by Cora May Preble and “Devil’s Night” by an unknown author.

Elaine Mann, one of the organists who performed at the event, is also the current president of the Chippewa Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists. According to Mann, the guild started this event about 25 years ago, and have been performing annually since. For a few of those years, the guild had performed at UW-Eau Claire.

Mann, originally from North Carolina, came to Wisconsin after marrying and has been a resident here for the past 35 years.

Mann said the main reason they host the event every year is simply for the fun and enjoyment of the community.

“Not only do we want to promote what we do,” Mann said, “but we also want to show the community that church can be a fun place to be too.”

Billy Kraus, an Eau Claire local, attended the event for the first time this year and was not disappointed.

“It was wonderful,” said Kraus. “We’re going to make this an annual tradition.”

Armagost can be reached at [email protected]