We have a University Organist and no one can take that away from us

That Brown possesses the largest remaining operational Hutchings-Votey organ in the galaxy ranks in the top five things you hear on a prospective student tour, somewhere between “there is no typical Brown student” and “No, I didn’t see Emma Watson on campus” (Ed. – We should write that up). While most Brown students never saw Emma Watson, many Brown students do go to an organ concert or two during their undergraduate careers. If you have yet to see the organ in action, don’t miss tonight’s Midnight Halloween Organ Concert. For most of Brunonia, however, knowledge of the behemoth that resides inside Sayles above the imposing portraits of old white guys stops there. Most people don’t even know what a Hutchings (or a Votey) is! Last month, we sat down with Mark Steinbach, Brown’s University Organist, to clear a few things up ahead of the annual Halloween concert. It’s safe to say we got more than we bargained for.

I caught up with Mark Steinbach after one of his organ lessons. I showed up in Sayles at 2:57 for a 3:00 p.m. meeting, and he gave me a polite yet stern request to wait downstairs while he finished with his student. You’re really getting your money’s worth with him, apparently. Once he had finished teaching, however, he dove headfirst into our meeting. I guess you kind of have to be all-in on the organ once you’re that good at playing it. We began with a tour of the inside of the organ.

Pipes. Everywhere.

Pipes. Pipes everywhere.

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Midnight Organ Concert tonight in Sayles Hall


Reading Period is a stressful time, no doubt. And for many of us, the weather can be an auspicious (at least for a few days, until it really hits us how gravely we need to hit the books) soporific. One thing I love about Brown, though, is that—assuming you are awake and willing to walk around campus—there are so many things that accent Reading Period with positivity. Candy Land, free pizza in the Rock and SciLi, Gingerbread S’mores in the Blue Room, and—dare I say—the Naked Donut Run are some good examples. While these four events involve food as we know it, there are other kinds of nourishment—there is indeed musical sustenance, food for the soul, “good vibes.”

Tonight, the Midnight Organ Concert‘s has us covered in this department. In Sayles Hall, you can enjoy the dulcet sounds of fourteen of Brown’s finest a cappella groups—The Higher Keys, Alef Beats, ARRR!!!, Bear Necessities, Brown’s Tones, Chattertocks, Derbies, Disney A Cappella, Harmonic Motion, Jabberwocks, Madrigals, Shades of Brown, Ursa Minors, and Wubappella—as well as those of student organist Joseph Cadabes. Doors will open for admission at 11:30. As the Facebook page advises, “Grab a blanket, a pillow and a friend or LOVER” and get ready for that ethereal musical experience you’ve been waiting for all semester.

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Need a study break? A capella on a capella this weekend

Reading period has officially started, so naturally students are avoiding studying at all costs. Take a break from SciLi living and check out these cool events going on this weekend:

Tonight, the Bear Necessities and Higher Keys will join together for the A Beary Keys Holiday Concert. The concert is at 8 p.m. in Salomon. The combination of a capella and holiday music is priceless. But actually, admission is free.

If you can’t make it tonight, or don’t get your fix of music, tomorrow night there’ll be a midnight organ concert in Sayles featuring 14 a capella groups. The concert begins at midnight, but make sure to get there early so you don’t have to fight the person in a Snuggie for a spot.

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