The Church of Beethoven NoCo to Hold Spring and Summer Concert Series

Church of Beethoven Logo. Photo courtesy of Leslie Merriman.

Steven Bonifazi

Local non-profit the Church of Beethoven NoCo will be presenting a live series of indoor/outdoor classical music concerts featuring poetry this spring and summer starting Sunday, May 23 at 3 pm at the Hillside Vineyard in Fort Collins.

The concerts will consist of an hour-long program with 45 minutes of classical music, ten minutes of spoken word art, and a two-minute celebration of silence in a casual indoor/outdoor concert setting at the winery building at the vineyard with pandemic-related safety protocols in place and county mandates adhered to. Founded by American Cellist Felix Wurman in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2007, the Church of Beethoven is a ‘church’ that features no preaching but rather an opportunity to create a community of musicians and audience members.

Felix Wurman, founder of Church of Beethoven. Photo courtesy of Leslie Merriman.

“Felix was a distinguished person, an innovator, played a five-string cello, and he started this pop-up musical performance series in Europe with the goal of making classical music and chamber music more accessible to people because he believed in the power of music to nurture spirituality and togetherness,” said Leslie Merriman, co-founder of Church of Beethoven NoCo and former girlfriend to Felix. “He was frustrated at the fact that if you’re a classical musician, you perform in a symphony or church jobs like weddings and funerals, and he wanted to share this music with the world more frequently,” Leslie said.

Felix held the Church of Beethoven free of charge at an abandoned gas station near Route 66 in Albuquerque, and it soon became a beloved Sunday morning ritual. Felix tragically died battling cancer just two years after founding the Church of Beethoven on Saturday, December 26, 2009; however, the legacy he built lives on.

Felix’s Beethoven surfboard sign in Albuquerque in 2008. Photo courtesy of Leslie Merriman.

An Alaska native, Leslie is a full-time psychologist and co-founded Church of Beethoven with hemp journalist Jean Lyons lotus, who started Church of Beethoven-Oak Park in Felix’s hometown Oak Park, Illinois, in 2011 and ran it for seven years within a 70-seat community theater. The two of them have joined forces to revive and start a local chapter of the Church of Beethoven in Colorado, as it currently does not happen anywhere within the state.

Leslie and Jean both have backgrounds within the arts and are very passionate about supporting the arts community of Northern Colorado with all the money made from the spring and summer Concert Series going back to the performers. Musicians will be invited to engage in discussion with the audience and educate them on the composer of the music they perform, make classical music more accessible, and break the wall between the artist and the performer.

Leslie on a Church of Beethoven Sunday morning in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2008. Photo courtesy of Leslie Merriman.

The Church of Beethoven aims to nurture community through culture and elevate the soul through art by finding spirituality through culture and the cultural gifts that many people have suffered for and created over many generations. Those interested in attending the concert series can come early and stay late to enjoy the vineyards wine, grounds, and views, with charcuterie boxes available for purchase following the performance.

Dates for Church of Beethoven NoCo Concerts are as follows:

  • Sunday, May 23
  • Sunday, June 6
  • Sunday, June 20
  • Sunday, July 4 (Special Event)
  • Sunday, July 18
  • Sunday, August 1
  • Sunday, August 15
  • Sunday, September 5
  • Sunday, September 19

Tickets range in prices starting at $9 with advance purchase for those under the age of 30 or $10 at the door, $16 for those ages 30 and over in advance, and $20 at the door. Patrons who are 21 and older will receive a complimentary glass of wine with their ticket purchase.

The Hillside Vineyard in Fort Collins, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Leslie Merriman.

The Church of Beethoven NoCo is seeking professional musicians interested in performing at the Church of Beethoven for the spring and summer concert series.

For more information regarding The Church of Beethoven, visit: or call 708-510-1776 or learn more about performing at the Church of Beethoven, contact: [email protected].

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