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Friends of Music Presents: Howard Bakken, Organist


Howard Bakken, known in these parts as the peregrinating substitute organist.

St. John in the Wilderness will be filled with the wonderful sounds of its magnificent organ, mastered by Howard Bakken on Sunday, November 19, at 4:00pm.


Bakken is currently the organist of the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Hendersonville, and regularly takes the bench at several other churches in the area, including St. John in the Wilderness.


An ardent interest in genealogy is the genesis for this concert. Bakken’s background is 91% Norwegian. He plans to perform Nordic and American music as a reflection on the All Saints' season.


Two of Bakken's ancestors, Martha and Ingeborg, tending livestock in the Norwegian mountains, c. 1880

Bakken moved to Hendersonville in 2003 after a three-decade career in the public schools of Geneva, Illinois. Bakken earned degrees at Augustana University (Sioux Falls, SD), the Yale University School of Music, and the University of Illinois. For twenty years, he was the organist for the “Do-it-Yourself Messiah” in Chicago. This annual tradition was begun by the late Margaret Hillis, founder and director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and attracted thousands of singers to Orchestra Hall for the ultimate Hallelujah.


When not on a bench, Bakken can be found in the goat pasture at the Carl Sandburg Home, where he is the longest-serving volunteer at the park.


This concert is free and open to the public, with donations gratefully accepted to support the Friends of Music Fund.

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