Music to My Ears: Midnight Halloween Organ Concert

Music 6

Hey y’all! I’m Eimi (pronounced ‘Amy’) and I’m your sophomore correspondent for Music to My Ears, my personal outlet that showcases the different facets that Brown’s music scene has to offer!

Each year at midnight on October 31st going into November 1st, the Midnight Halloween Organ Concert is held at Sayles Hall. Hosted by the Office of Chaplains and Religious Life, the concert is free for all! Due to the lack of traditional seating, people who attend the concert usually bring pillows, blankets, and whatever it is to keep them warm and snuggly through the cold and spooky Halloween. While the program each year consists of a variety of pieces, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor is a crowed favorite that is always performed.

Installed in 1903, the Hutchings-Votey pipe organ in Sayles is the largest remaining pipe organ of its kind in the world. It was a gift from Lucian Sharpe, class of 1893, and weights 25 tons with its 3,355 pipes. The first recital on the organ was at the 1903 commencement by Belgian organist Chevalier August Wiegand. Sayles Hall was used as a chapel in the 1970’s, but after that stopped, the organ went unused. Each year, the organ is played only a few times including during Halloween, sometime in finals week, and if I’m not mistaken, sometime during ADOCH (don’t quote me).

The organ has been played for the last 20 years by Mark Steinbach, lecturer in music at Brown, university organist, and instrument curator. Professor Steinbach also teaches Theory of Tonal Music (MUSC 0550 and 0560).

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email me at!


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