Fifth Annual Organ Week Includes Fort Collins Symphony and Free Beer!

Wes Kenney and Joel Bacon collaborate for Colorado State University Organ Week, presented by the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

For the fifth consecutive year, Organ Week, a summer music camp and organ festival at Colorado State University, takes place the first week of June. Daily instruction for high school students and nightly performances featuring world-renowned soloists performing major solo and collaborative works are scheduled at both the University Center for the Arts and First United Methodist Church in Fort Collins.

From June 5-8, the community is invited to nightly concerts, including guest artist solo recitals, and an evening of organ concertos with the Fort Collins Symphony Orchestra conducted by Wes Kenney.

“Our guest artists regularly play with some of the best orchestras in the world, but always enjoy working with Wes Kenney, and playing our fabulous organ,” said Joel Bacon, Stewart and Sheron Golden Chair of Organ and Liturgical Studies at CSU.

For 2017, guest performers and instructors include Dr. Bacon; James David Christie, professor and chair of organ at Oberlin Conservatory; Joyce Jones, professor emerita at Baylor University School of Music; Ken Cowan, head of organ at Rice University, Shepherd School of Music; Andrew Steinberg, organist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead, MN, and chapel organist at Concordia College.

This summer, Dr. Bacon is particularly excited about the Fort Collins Symphony concert at the beginning of the week. As his PhD dissertation was on works for organ and orchestra, he’s been fascinated with the development of this portion of the annual festival, and revels in the repeated opportunity to study and perform major concertos that it provides. “I’ve learned new repertoire and we’ve created many unique and powerful concerts,” he mused. “It’s almost an overwhelming experience as there’s something really special about being in the organ hall and having all of those strings up close and personal.”

Regular patrons of Organ Week, as well as the Halloween Organ Extravaganza, have come to expect unusual and creative aspects when Dr. Bacon is involved, and his solo recital on Tuesday, June 6 will be just that! Zwei Brewing Co. of Fort Collins will provide beer outside of the Organ Recital Hall lobby prior to the concert (included with your ticket purchase for patrons of legal drinking age).


Zwei owners Kirk and Eric Lombardi are excited to contribute to the festivities. The brothers, who both attended high school when the University Center for the Arts was Fort Collins High School, have been friends of the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance since the brewery opened a couple years ago. Their flagship lager Neue Vienna was originally brewed for the School’s polka band, Neue Polka Colorado, and will be served in honor of the recital’s large Viennse piece, Chaconne, by Franz Schmidt. It will be paired with a special Gose, brewed for the occasion.

Gose, an unfiltered wheat beer that is slightly tart and salty, was introduced to the German city of Leipzig in 1738. Dr. Bacon’s interest in the beer style has a direct connection to his recital, which features pieces by J.S. Bach. “Bach moved to Leipzig in 1723 and lived there until his death in 1750, so you know Bach and his boys knocked back a Gose or two in their day!”

Of course Organ Week would not exist without the educational component designed for high school students interested in expanding (or beginning) their organ study. Led by the faculty of prominent concert and church organists, the program includes one-to-one instruction, master classes, and recitals on the finest pipe organs in northern Colo. Students will also study the art of organ building, develop skills in choral conducting, and receive harpsichord instruction as well.

Dr. Bacon welcomes the wide range of playing experience represented at the camp, and many students return year and after year. (Visit our website to find out about attending the camp.)

Dr. Bacon was recently contacted by such a student who is already prepared for 2017. “He is so excited to come back as he’s made some of his best friends during Organ Week,” said Bacon. “He’s learned Bach’s Fantasia in G major and can’t wait to play it for his friends.”

The camp also meets a need for students without organ training in their region, including a new high school student from Wyo. “She had a hard time finding a teacher, so she’s taught herself the Toccata and Fugue [Bach] and can’t wait to come so she can work with an actual organist,” he recounted.

The level of playing is often highly advanced. “It surprised me last year during the closing camp concert that it was some of the highest playing I’ve ever heard by high school students anywhere,” said Bacon.

Organ Week has become a cherished summer staple at the University Center for the Arts. We hope you’ll join us!


An Evening of Organ and Orchestra
With the FC Symphony conducted by Wes Kenney
Soloists: Joel Bacon, James David Christie, Ken Cowan
Monday. June 5, 7:30 p.m., Organ Recital Hall, UCA
Reception following

Organ concertos by George Frederic Handel, Marco Enrico Bossi, Malcolm Arnold, and Jean Langlais. Tickets: No charge/CSU students; $19/adults; $1/youth

Joel Bacon, Solo Organ Recital
Tuesday, June 6, 7:30 p.m., Organ Recital Hall, UCA
Beer reception prior to the concert; sponsored by Zwei Brewing Co.
Tickets: No charge/CSU students; $16/adults; $1/youth

Music in the Museum Concert Series Reprise
Joel Bacon, harpsichord; Eleanor Moseman, art historian
Wednesday, June 7, 11 a.m., Gregory Allicar Museum of Art, UCA

Originally performed in April, the popular recital/lecture will be performed against the backdrop of works of art includeing Renaissance and Baroque paintings and sculpture. FREE.
Please make a reservation online at

Ken Cowan, Solo Organ Recital
Wednesday, June 7, 7:30 p.m.
First United Methodist Church, 1005 Stover St, Fort Collins. FREE

Camp Recital
Thursday, June 8, afternoon (time TBA), Organ Recital Hall, UCA, FREE

Organ Week All Stars
Featuring: Joyce Jones, James David Christie, Ken Cowan, Joel Bacon, Andrew Steinberg and the NOCO Artists String Quintet
Thursday, June 8, 7:30 p.m., Organ Recital Hall, UCA
Tickets: No charge/CSU students; $16/adults; $1/youth

Tickets are available at the University Center for the Arts ticket office 60 minutes prior to performances or online at Due to event popularity, advance ticket purchase is highly recommended.