Bethany Lutheran Hosts Free Pipe Organ Concert Today

Bethany Lutheran Church will hold a free organ workshop at 3 p.m. followed by a free concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, at the church in Crystal Lake.


Bethany Lutheran Church invites music lovers of all ages to a performance of inspiring, beautiful music at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at the church, 76 Crystal Lake Ave., in Crystal Lake.

The Bethany Arts Series presents a recital by esteemed organ professor Craig Cramer of the University of Notre Dame.

Cramer, who also serves as the University’s Artist in Residence, is a nationally acclaimed artist and Doctor of Musical Arts, with degrees from Westminster Choir College and Eastman School of Music, two of the world’s leading music schools.

At 3 pm. Sunday, the public is invited to a rare pre-concert workshop where Prof. Cramer will be joined by the organ’s original builder, Halbert Gober, to discuss the wonders of the Bethany Lutheran Church organ.

Gober curates more than 26 organs at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College, Ohio, one of the nation’s leading music colleges.

Professor Cramer returns 10 years after his first concert when Bethany Lutheran celebrated the installation of the Agnes Carlson Memorial Pipe Organ. The Carlson family gift enabled the purchase of the pipe organ, which was dedicated in 2002.

“Our beautiful custom-built pipe organ is one of the best-kept secrets of McHenry County, and we want to share this treasure with music lovers throughout the entire Chicago area,” said Bethany Lutheran Pastor Carrie Smith. “Our community respects our high-caliber of musical artistry that celebrates God’s gifts, and is an extension of worship."

Prof. Cramer will perform music that showcases the superb quality of the pipe organ in its musical splendor. The Bethany Arts Series endeavors to nurture and foster community outreach to the glory of God.

Over the years, the staff and parishioners of Bethany Lutheran have lovingly nicknamed the organ “Agnes” in honor of the late Agnes Carlson.

This beautiful organ has also received national acclaim, appearing on the cover of “Pipe Organs of Chicago, Vol. II.” In the words of organ expert David Schrader, who first performed on Bethany’s organ, “the sounds this organ can make under the hands of a good performer are remarkable.”

All performances of the Bethany Arts Series are free; a free-will offering will be collected.

Bethany Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and is based in Crystal Lake.


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