The Bach Choir Of Bethlehem To Present Christmas Concerts In Allentown & Bethlehem

Performances on December 9th in Allentown and December 10th in Bethlehem.

By: Nov. 20, 2023
The Bach Choir Of Bethlehem To Present Christmas Concerts In Allentown & Bethlehem

The venerable Bach Choir of Bethlehem will perform its Christmas concerts in the West End of Allentown on Saturday afternoon, December 9th, 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church (3231 West Tilghman Street, in West Allentown, PA 18104) and on Sunday afternoon, December 10 th, 4 p.m. in Bethlehem at the First Presbyterian Church (2344 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18017.)

The program features Bach's Magnificat and Christen ätzet diesen Tag, BWV 63, both written in 1723. At the end of the performance, the audience is invited to join the Choir in its tradition of singing beloved Christmas carols together. A new carol composed especially for this occasion will complement the cherished standards. Renowned soloists will include Molly Quinn, soprano; Nola Richardson, soprano; Luthien Brackett, alto; Dann Coakwell, tenor; and Edmund Milly, bass.

In the words of Artistic Director and Conductor Christopher Jackson, "This season, our Christmas concert pulses with joy, echoing through the notes of Bach's legendary Magnificat and the festive cantata Christen ätzet diesen Tag, which resonates even more powerfully as we mark its 300th anniversary."

Please visit Click Here to purchase general admission tickets ($9 to $40). A livestream of the Bethlehem performance will be available by visiting the above site. The live-streamed concert may be viewed when it premieres and through December by all ticketed patrons.

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem is experiencing a spectacular anniversary season. Just two weeks ago, the Choir unveiled the world premiere of a new edition of Mendelssohn's version of Bach's St. Matthew Passion, which sparked an enthusiastic response from veteran journalist Laurence Vittes. Reviewing the premiere for "Seen and Heard," Mr. Vittes wrote: was appropriate that the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, led by Christopher Jackson, its new artistic director, would celebrate their 125th anniversary by giving the first performance of Mendelssohn's arrangement in the first edition to authoritatively address the issues that have been identified with reconstructing what Mendelssohn had in mind. And, above all, there were the 94 volunteer singers of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem and the 35 professional musicians of the Festival Orchestra. The choir has been performing Bach's B minor Mass annually since their first US performance in 1900, the legacy of which is a familiarity with Bach's language and the sense of purpose and community in his choral music. Especially in the St. Matthew Passion, which has such a painful intimacy, and with Mendelssohn's slight adjustments here and there, the choir and the orchestra phrased together so closely that they seemed to become one musical fabric. The warmth of the choir was complemented by the joy the musicians in the orchestra were clearly taking in all their important solos - perhaps the fact that each was an expert in playing Bach 'the way Bach would have played it' had doubled their pleasure in playing Bach the way Mendelssohn would have played it...After a tremendous earthquake, Jackson brought the Passion home with an ending so deeply satisfying that I knew if this were the only St. Matthew Passion we had, I would survive.

November 13, 2023, Seen and Heard International

The oldest American Bach Choir, The Bach Choir gave the first complete American performances of Bach's Mass in B Minor in 1900 and Christmas Oratorio in 1901. Since its founding in 1898, the internationally renowned Choir has been attracting thousands of visitors from across the United States and beyond to the annual Bethlehem Bach Festival in Pennsylvania. The 95 dedicated volunteer singers of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Bach Festival Orchestra, and well-known soloists perform 40 concerts and educational programs annually for an audience of more than 22,000.

Important international concert venues The Bach Choir has visited include Herkulessaal at Munich's Royal Residence and Bach's church in Leipzig, the Thomaskirche; The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall as part of The Choir's Centennial Celebration in 1998-2000; the BBC Proms in London's Royal Albert Hall for an eight-concert tour of the United Kingdom in 2003; and Severance Hall, Cleveland, for the 75th anniversary of the Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival in 2007. In September 2011, The Bach Choir represented the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a 10th anniversary musical observance of 9/11 in New York City, giving concerts in Saint Paul's Chapel and Trinity Church, Wall Street. In 2013, The Choir performed Mendelssohn's Elijah at Strathmore in the Washington D.C. area, and in 2014, the new opera Young Meister Bach for the 250th anniversary of the German Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The Choir has released 11 recordings to date on the Dorian and Analekta labels including, most recently, Bach's Cantata 21 (2018), Handel's Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day (2018), A Child's Christmas in Bethlehem (2013), and Saint John Passion (2012). The Choir has been featured on National Public Radio's Performance Today and Prairie Home Companion, Deutsche Radio, the BBC World Service, CBS Sunday Morning, and the Emmy award-winning PBS documentary "Make a Joyful Noise." It has been recognized for its outstanding educational outreach programs (Bach at Noon, Bach to School, and interdisciplinary Family Concerts) by annual awards from the National Endowment for the Arts (2011-2019). The J.S. Bach Foundation in Switzerland named The Bach Choir of Bethlehem as the first American recipient of its annual award to a single Bach organization, recognizing The Bach Choir's outstanding work in Bach performance and education for young people (2012). "Mr. Bach Comes to Call," a film based on the acclaimed Classical Kids CD, was co-produced by The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and is distributed internationally by the Children's Group.

The Bel Canto Youth Chorus is The Bach Choir's youth choir educational program under the direction of Director Kelly Rocchi. Through Bel Canto and other educational programs, The Bach Choir is training the next generation of choral singers and cultivating a life-long passion for the choral arts.

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