LUBBOCK, Texas – It’s a tradition that dates back a decade. Every year when Halloween rolls around, Peter Martens plays the organ and treats his neighbors in Tech Terrace to a show.
“This neighborhood’s always been good for trick or treating,” Martens said. “We’ve been here for close to 20 years and had little kids at the time, so they thought it was fun and it just kind of acquired its own momentum.”
Martens called his pipe organ outside of his home a “Frankenstein organ.” He said it’s a hybrid of electronics and other things that he’s put together over the years.
“It’s a wonderful instrument, but it does always seem to be the instrument that villains like or play in movies,” Martens said. “It’s good at dark, serious, big-sounding tampers that make people feel a little bit like something profound is going on.”
It’s not your typical stop on a Halloween night, but it caught the attention of many including trick-or-treaters like Presley McBrayer.
“It’s giving an eerie, spooky vibe that you’d hear in a haunted mansion,” McBrayer said. “It makes me feel like I want to go up and listen to it for hours because it’s so cool. I feel like we should be giving them candy for this.”
Martens is also a music theory professor at Texas Tech University (TTU). When it’s showtime, he invites current and former students to join him.
“It’s an ethereal sound,” said Jordan Langehennig, a former student of Martens’ at TTU. “It’s been known as the king of instruments. As an organist myself, I might be a little biased, but it helps fill a space and set a tone for an environment that I think we all can appreciate whether it’s joyous, cavernous or a little bit spooky, I think we all can enjoy the organ.”
Martens’ son, Isaac Martens, also got in on the action playing his fiddle.
“It’s just a good neighborhood interaction thing,” Martens said. “Getting especially students off campus saying, ‘hey, this is what life is like in neighborhoods right around campus and it actually can be kind of fun.’”
Langehennig said the organ isn’t an instrument you typically see, but with Martens shedding light on it in a neighborhood setting, people can have a greater appreciation of it.
It’s great to spend time here in Tech Terrace,” Langehennig said. “You see everyone’s costumes, you see children having fun, and you get to provide live music which is so important to any community.”