The Bach Choir Announces 2015 – 2016 Season: Bach at the Heart
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem has announced its 2015-16 Concert Season – Bach at the Heart. The Bach Choir, Bach Festival Orchestra, and distinguished soloists perform under the direction of Greg Funfgeld, artistic director and conductor, now in his 33rd season. The season begins on September 15, 2015 with the 75th Bach at Noon concert at Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem. This gift to the community, initiated in 2005, attracts more than 6,800 people a year to seven free concerts of choral and instrumental works by Bach and other composers introduced by Greg Funfgeld with an informal and enlightening talk. In summer of 2015, The Choir also successfully launched a summer series of Bach at Noon concerts at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Allentown.
Gala Concert – November 7, 2015 at 4pm at Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem – The internationally acclaimed
Bach Collegium Japan is featured as the Gala artist for The Bach Choir’s annual Gala Concert and Fundraiser. In the hands of inspirational music director Masaaki Suzuki, the ensemble performs a program of Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel on period instruments. They are joined by English soprano Joanne Lunn, who closes the program with Bach’s ecstatic Cantata 51 Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! (Praise God in every land!)
Christmas Concerts – December 12, 2015 at 8pm and December 13 at 4pm – First Presbyterian Churches of Allentown and Bethlehem. This year The Choir returns to its roots with a performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio Parts 1, 2, and 3. The Choir gave the American premiere of this work in 1901 but has not performed the first three parts for more than ten years. Soloists are Ellen McAteer, soprano; Daniel Taylor, countertenor; Isaiah Bell, tenor; and David Newman, bass-baritone.
Family Concert – Youth Choirs Festival – ll, tenor, and Joshua Copeland, bass-baritone.r, countertenor; Isiah MAry February 28, 2016 at 3pm, Zoellner Arts Center – Bel Canto Children’s Chorus, Berks Youth Chorus, Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts Touring Choir, and Nazareth Area High School Chorale join The Bach Choir and Bach Festival Orchestra in a program of favorite choruses by Bach, Handel (Zadok the Priest), and Randall Thompson (Ye Shall Have a Song).
Spring Concert – March 20, 2016, 4pm, First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem – A Palm Sunday performance of Bach’s Saint John Passion, which had its first performance in America in Bethlehem in 1888 and was recorded by The Bach Choir on the Analekta label in 2011 – “A handsome account of Bach’s St. John Passion on this new release confirms that The Bach Choir of Bethlehem doesn’t rest on anything resembling laurels.” – Gramophone. Soloists are Thomas Cooley, tenor (Evangelist), William Sharp, baritone (Jesus), Laura Heimes, soprano, Laura Atkinson, mezzo-soprano, Isaiah Bell, tenor and Dashon Burton, bass-baritone.
The 109th Bethlehem Bach Festival—May 13-14 and 20-22, 2016
National and international reviews gave high praise to the re-imagined Bach Festival in 2015. “A glorious friendship between a great composer and the orchestra, conductor and choir at the heart of an extraordinary town” – The Whole Note, Toronto. “Their choral sonority is so rich you can feel it in your bones.” – Wall Street Journal. The 109th Festival builds on this success by combining the traditional large choral works by Bach with such offerings as Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 with internationally renowned trumpet soloist Terry Everson; Taylor 2 of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in a program of Bach and Handel; Bach in more intimate settings such as Incarnation of Our Lord Church and the Saal of the Moravian Museum; opportunities to sing Bach Chorales with Greg Funfgeld and members of The Choir; and the continued involvement of young musicians in Zimmermann’s Coffee House – chamber music, food, and drink in the charming and historic Peter Hall, Moravian College.