Friday, October 7, 2011

Caped Crusader Trots for Bach Week

When Richard Webster runs in Sunday's 26.2-mile Chicago Marathon costumed as Batman's sidekick Robin, every step will be music to the ears of Evanston's Bach Week Festival.
Webster, the festival's revered, long-time music director and a marathon veteran, runs for the challenge and satisfaction -- and also to raise money for the festival, which he's performed in since it began in 1974.
Donations from those sponsoring Webster's Chicago run are among the nonprofit festival's fundraising efforts.
Another is Sunday evening's "Bachtoberfest" party and concert at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. Webster will serve as emcee for the festivities and organist in a "mini-concert" of Bach's music, after having run the marathon earlier that day.
His first marathon was the 1995 Chicago event. "Once I crossed that finish line, it was like walking through the gates of heaven. I was completely hooked," Webster recalls.
Since then, has completed 20 marathons, including seven Boston Marathons and marathons in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
For the past decade, he's made it a practice to run as a costumed character.  Besides Robin, his repertoire includes J. S. Bach, Paul Revere, the Easter Bunny (his first character), Abraham Lincoln, and the Cat in the Hat.
"It's fun for the fans. They love it, and it inspires me to run faster," Webster says.
Bach Week's "Caped Crusader" could also be called the "Caped Composer." Webster has written works for choir, organ, and organ and brass. They're available through a variety of publishers, including his own Advent Press imprint.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Webster's 2011 Chicago Marathon run can do so through the Bach Week Festival's website, which has complete details about Bachtoberfest: For information, call (847) 293-6686

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

‘Bachtoberfest’ Fundraiser to Sparkle With Wine and Beer Tastings October 9 in Evanston

Guests will sample beer, wine, and the music of Baroque composer J.S. Bach at the third annual ‘Bachtoberfest”  fundraiser 6:30–9 p.m. on  Sunday, October 9, 2011, at Nichols Concert Hall,
1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston.

The benefit will support the 2012 Bach Week Festival, the 39th consecutive edition of the Evanston-based festival, an annual rite of spring for Chicago-area music lovers since 1974.  The festival’s dates and programming will be announced at the benefit.

Tickets to the casual-dress fundraiser, which is open to the public, range from $50 to $150.  A $50 general admission ticket includes one drink; a $100 Bachtoberfest Patron ticket includes two drinks; and a $150 Bachtoberfest Champion ticket includes three drinks. Food, wine, and beer will have a German accent at this year’s Bachtoberfest. Planners promise "hearty hors d'oeuvres" of  German cheeses, meats, bread, and potato salad. For dessert: Black Forest cake and apple strudel.

Richard Webster will play Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
Emcee for the evening’s proceedings will be the Bach Week Festival’s longtime music director and avid marathon runner Richard Webster, who will have run in the Chicago Marathon earlier that day to raise funds for the festival — costumed as Batman’s sidekick, Robin.

The evening’s live music will include selections from Bach’s “The Musical Offering,” with flutist Alyce Johnson, violinist Mathias Tacke, cellist Katinka Kleijn, and harpsichordist Jason Moy.  Violinist Dawn Gingrich and harpsichordist Moy will perform selections from Bach’s Sonata in E Major. 

Kleijn will also perform the Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite in E-flat Major, and Moy will play movements from Bach’s Partita for Harpsichord in D Major.

As the evening’s organist, Webster will play Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and will also provide accompaniment when young violinist Paul Christian and members of the Bach Week Festival Chorus perform two Bach arias.

The musical portion of the Bachtoberfest program will begin at 7:15 p.m.

Guests will be able to bid on silent auction items including vacation home getaways; beauty, wellness, and spa packages; subscription concert tickets; original art; electronics; and more. Also up for auction: a private guided tour of Boston's historic Trinity Church on Copley Square and dinner with the Bach Week Festival's Webster, who is also Trinity's music director.

For Bachtoberfest information and reservations, call 847-293-6686 or visit  Those wishing to benefit the festival by sponsoring Webster’s Chicago Marathon run can contribute through the festival website.

A musical tradition for nearly four decades, the Bach Week Festival is the Midwest’s premiere Baroque music festival. It features some of the country’s finest musicians, many of whom perform regularly with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra.