Thank you to Bill Wineke for writing a great piece about our Organ Series. The 2022-2023 Overture Concert Organ Series subscriptions will be available in June, 2022.

You can view Bill’s story on the Channel 3000 Website or read the story below.


Wineke: Organ concerts are best deal in town

By Bill Wineke, Channel 3000, May 23, 2022

MADISON, Wis. — The Overture Hall organ concerts conducted by Madison Symphony Orchestra organ curator Greg Zelek are hands down the best entertainment bargain in Madison.

Partially, that’s due to the 72-rank “Mighty Klais” instrument, a 2004 gift from Pleasant Frautschi that is considered one of the best in the country, and, partially, it is due to Zelek, also considered one of the best in the country.

But, honestly, if you want to hear really good organ music played by excellent musicians, you might attend services at most any central Madison church on Sunday morning. We have some very fine musicians in this city and many of them have instruments that would cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace.

For classical music entertainment, however, it would be hard to top the four concerts Zelek and his colleagues provide four times a year.

Friday night, for example, he joined the Diapason Brass & Timpani (“diapason” means the entire register of musical tones) for a very joyful evening, including an organ and timpani duet, which is a combination you don’t hear very often.

The Diapason group includes John Aley, principal trumpet for the MSO, Matthew Onstad, assistant professor of trumpet at the UW-Whitewater, Mark Hetzler, UW-Madison trombone professor, Linda Kimball, the MSO’s principal horn player, Joshua Biere, MSO principal tuba player, and John Jetsum, MSO timpanist. They each have lots of other accomplishments, but you get the picture.

Zelek, however, is the glue that holds everything together and is also the reason why the concerts can be labeled entertainment.

Because they’re not just music; they are joyful productions.

Zelek is a performer, not just a musician. He introduces you to his mother, to his girlfriend, to his roommate at Julliard, to a seemingly endless array of people he met while growing up in Miami who coincidentally became world-renounced musicians. It wouldn’t completely surprise me if one of his buddies walked on stage with a banjo.

You walk out of the concert hall feeling as if you’ve been among friends.

So, why am I telling you this now, especially since the season has ended.

Because season tickets for next year will go on sale in June. I don’t know what the cost will be. The past season they cost $20 per performance or about $60 for four performances (a few bucks get added for taxes and fees, but not a lot).

When my wife and I began attending these concerts several years ago, we pretty much had a row of seats to ourselves. These days most seats are filled so, if you’re interested, you might want to contact the MSO in a few days and buy yours.