The Halloween Organ Extravaganza is a virtual go

Halloween organJoel Bacon wasn’t about to let the pandemic end a 15-year Halloween tradition. The show, after all, must go on.

And so, the 15th annual Halloween Organ Extravaganza is a go for Halloween night. It will be in a different format – livestreamed – than in the past due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the popular production, featuring CSU’s magnificent Casavant pipe organ at the University Center for the Arts, is a go.

“The show won’t be live, as in the past, but we wanted to make sure to keep this tradition alive,” said Bacon, professor of organ and liturgical studies. “We’re excited because we’ve been able to do some new things that, I think, our audiences will really enjoy.”

Two shows, virtually

In the past, Bacon and his organ students put together three shows each Halloween night – and all three shows usually sold out. COVID protocols simply made it impractical to do the show live – Bacon said simply sanitizing the organ between performances would have been very challenging – so he looked for new ways to spice up the show.

Working with CSU’s theater department and journalism and technical communication students with Ram Productions, Bacon and his students merged pipe organ music with various theatrical and video effects. Of course, the show will include Bach’s Halloween favorite, Tocata and Fugue in D Minor, and his students thought up creative ways to enhance their performances.

“Our students came up with some great ideas; they will be wearing ridiculous costumes playing really fun pieces,” he said. “The lights and projections and costumes are really fantastic. Usually organists don’t get involved in stagecraft but this has been just the opposite. It’s been a blast, and my theater colleagues have been amazing to work with.”

Halloween classics, other surprises

Bacon also said the night will feature the “world’s first socially distanced organ duet,” refusing to give any hints as to how that was pulled off.

There will be livestream performances at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Halloween night. Cost is $10 for a single performance; ticket sales end 15 minutes prior to each performance.

“It will be a fun, family-friendly event,” Bacon said. “We’ve had enough depressing news lately, so this will not be a scary Halloween performance. This will be uplifting.”