Halloween On Van Ness

Oct 19, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Lorie Lewis Ham, Music

by Lorie Lewis Ham

If you are looking for a different way to celebrate Halloween this year, why not head out to The Big Red Church in Fresno this Friday evening and enjoy a great Halloween concert.

The first Halloween on Van Ness concert took place in 2008. It is an annual concert featuring entertaining, scary and fun Halloween appropriate music that is more mainstream and less liturgical, with funds going to the benefit the Casavant Pipe Organ Restoration Fund and The Big Red Church. Past concerts have included Halloween favorites such as “O Fortuna” from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, and selections from Phantom of the Opera, Ruddigore, and MacBeth.

“This year’s selections feature music from a variety of shows,” said Jason Freeman, Co-Chair of the Casavant Pipe Organ Restoration Committee. “Of course the Casavant Pipe Organ is featured with songs such as Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. The evening will include a Pre-Concert reception with appetizers, champagne, and a silent auction. Post-Concert Reception will include a Halloween Cupcake Buffet.”

Big Red organist Scott Horton

According to Jason, the Event Planning Committee has met repeatedly to make arrangements for food, beverages, decorations, and concert details. The event has changed little beyond different musical selections, since it began. “Minor changes have been made through the years but nothing major. As the old saying goes, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

On top of the concert itself, everyone can expect delicious food and beverages and a silent auction full of a variety of items that would be perfect for those interested in early Christmas shopping. “The music for the concert is fantastic,” continued Jason. “The music selections are varied and appropriate for all ages. Scott Horton, First Congregational Church of Fresno, Resident Organist and Musical Director, selects the music for the concert.”

The concert always features the First Congregational Church of Fresno’s Choir and organist Scott Horton along with special guests, which in the past have included Terry Estabrook and Terry Lewis. This year John Morrice, a violinist who has played for the Fresno Philharmonic, will be featured in a duet with the pipe organ.

Terry Estabrook

Halloween on Van Ness takes place on Friday, October 25 beginning at 6 p.m. at First Congregational Church (The Big Red Church) of Fresno, 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd., just south of Clinton. Tickets can be purchased at the door ($35.00), or you can call the church office 559-227-8489 to reserve tickets at the “Will Call” window ($30.00).

I have been to two of these concerts and enjoyed them immensely. It’s a perfect grown-up Halloween celebration complete with great food. Hurry and get your tickets before it’s too late!

If you are looking for more great Halloween events in the Valley, be sure to check out our articles on Zoo Boo, Hillcrest Farm Pumpkin Patch, Halloween in the Library, Animal Rescue of Fresno’s Halloween Fright Night Fundraiser, and Hobb’s Grove.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.


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