Free New Year’s Eve concert at Spreckels Pavilion


All are invited to experience a historic event — the Spreckels Organ Centennial Concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31 — celebrating 100 years of the grand opening of the Spreckels Organ and Pavilion in Balboa Park. Admission and parking are free.

Presented by the Spreckels Organ Society and San Diego Civic Organist Carol Williams, this musical event will be launched by a procession of 175 dignitaries from civic and Balboa Park institutions, traveling the Prado from the Bea Evenson Fountain at 7 p.m., accompanied by 40 musicians from the House of Scotland and Cameron Highlanders pipe bands. Live music and a big-screen display of historical photos precede the concert at the organ pavilion.

Smooth-voiced Sam Bass will emcee the affair, which includes stirring fanfare by Westwind Brass; a world-premiere organ composition written by Williams for the occasion, highlighting the new Centennial Tuba; a 150-voice Centennial Choir led by John Russell with singers from the San Diego Master Chorale, the Masterworks Chorale, and choirs from St. Paul’s Cathedral, First United Methodist Church, and Pilgrim Lutheran Church; performances by civic organist legends Robert Plimpton and Jared Jacobsen; “Remembering John D. Spreckels,” a time-machine visit from the founding father re-enacting the original gift to the people of San Diego and the world, performed by Walter Ritter from Write Out Loud; and a harp solo by Karen Rokos, great-granddaughter of the first Spreckels Organ curator, Anton Rokos (view his 1915 Exposition pass online at; all topped off by a fireworks finish, courtesy of Morgan Stanley.

The concert will also be live-cast for worldwide viewing at