Spooktacular weekend on horizon

Published 7:16 pm Monday, October 22, 2018

On Oct. 27, spooky sounds will fill the sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church of LaGrange on Broad Street with the third annual Great Spooktacular Organ Concert.

This year, the free concert will feature nine area organists playing a variety of pieces ranging from Star Wars to Bach as well as a guest storyteller from the Troup County Historical Society’s Ghostwalk Tours.

“This is the third year that the Choral Society [of West Georgia] has featured this rather unique concert, and it is all organ music, but fun, lighthearted, enjoyable,” Biggs said.

The performers will make use of the Schantz pipe organ at First Methodist, which will be pulled out to provide the audience with a clear view of the organists. This year’s concert will feature both returning performers and first time Spooktacular organists.

“It is like a comeback for me because I was in the inaugural recital three years ago, but last year I had some severe health problems and ended up with quadruple bypass surgery and could not play,” said Randall Smith, one of the featured organists. “So, this is my return back to the concert, and I am excited about that.”

Smith plans to wear a spooky outfit and talk to the audience about the history of Halloween before performing an eerie piece. Organists featured in the concert will include Ken Bailey of St. Luke Methodist Church of Columbus, Cindy Brown of FUMC of LaGrange, James Camp of First United Methodist Church of Pine Mountain, Anthony Criswell of First Baptist Church of LaGrange, Tyra Crowe of First Presbyterian Church of LaGrange, Paul Culp of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of LaGrange, Andrew Harry of LaGrange College, Eve McKibben of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in Hogansville and Smith of First Baptist Church of West Point, all playing themed pieces.

“This Saturday I am playing a couple of brief pieces from Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky,” Camp said. “It is Puss-in Boots and the White Cat, and it is basically a cat fight with hissing and spitting and circling around each other in music form.”

This will be the first year that the annual concert has taken place at FUMC on Broad Street, and the new venue will provide a clear view of the organists’ movements for the audience.

“It is kind of nice because people like to watch the feet move around on the petals, so whenever there is a consul that can swing out, that is fun,” Bailey said.

Biggs also noted that the concert is a great way to highlight local organists, whose skills are usually only put on display during church services.

“These are the people that you normally see on Sunday mornings playing your preludes and hymns and postludes and accompanying the choir, but they don’t generally get the chance to be featured as concert artists,” Biggs said. “Even though this is not the most serious concert venue, it gives them the chance to be featured in that way, and I think it is important. It is part of our mission statement and our community outreach to host this event. It is free and open to the public. All the costs are underwritten by the choral society.”

For the organists, the Spooktacular is a chance to perform pieces outside those usual Sunday hymns as well.

“The concert is wonderful,” Smith said. “ … It is the highlight of my year.”

The Spooktacular Organ Concert will be part of the downtown Halloween weekend festivities, and attendees are encouraged to enjoy other downtown fun both before and after the concert.

“It is a great way to end that day with all the festivities that are going on [in downtown LaGrange],” Biggs said. “The audience is welcome to wear costumes if they like.”

There will be a wide variety of Halloween themed events on Saturday. Downtown LaGrange will begin to bustle with activity around 11 a.m. when the annual chili cook-off will begin. Tickets for the cook-off cost $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under, and the event will continue until 2 p.m. The event will also include a costume contest for children ages 12 and under from noon to 2 p.m. with registration beginning at 10 a.m. The chili cook-off’s rain date will be on Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. Costumed children can also trick or treat around downtown from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Great Spooktacular Organ Concert will take place at First United Methodist Church of LaGrange on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.

Additionally, the LaGrange Art Museum will host “Society of Seven: Howl at the Moon” from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday featuring music by Front Porch Collective. The Society of Seven is a group of realist plein air and studio painters from the Newnan area.

The Troup County Archives will also host ghostly walking tours Oct. 25 through 27 at 7 p.m. For more information or reservations, call (706) 884-1828. This year the tour will feature a variety of 1920s themed tales.

Finally, teens will also have a planned activity downtown with the Lafayette Society for Performing Arts’ middle and high school movie night at the Lafayette Theatre Company Black Box Theatre featuring the film “Beetlejuice.” Costumes are welcomed, and the event is free. Donations to LTC will be accepted and concessions will be available for $1 to $2 each. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the movie begins at 8 p.m. Biggs encouraged students to consider attending the concert and then the movie.

“There is something for everyone going on this weekend,” said Barbie Watts, the director of promotions and marketing for the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority.

The City of LaGrange will not have an official night for trick-or-treating this year.