Bach at Noon Comes to Allentown for Summer Series
Date: May 19, 2015
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem launches an Allentown Bach at Noon Series on Tuesday June 9, 2015 at St. John’s Lutheran Church 27 S. 5th St., Allentown. Admission is FREE and there is no need for a reservation. A free-will offering will be received. Doors open at 11:30am and people are encouraged to come early to be sure of a seat! For further information call The Bach Choir: 610-866-4382 Ext. 15 or Ext. 10 or visit the website BACH.org.
Since 2005, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, directed by Greg Funfgeld has been attracting more than 6,500 a people a year to Bach at Noon performances in Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem. This extremely successful arts and community development initiative has been acclaimed regionally and nationally and has close to capacity audiences seven times a year on second Tuesdays September-November and January-April. Audience members include downtown residents and business people, student and senior citizen groups, and visitors from out of town.
Leaders of the renaissance in Center City Allentown have now responded enthusiastically to a proposal to bring Bach at Noon to Allentown. Each free 50 minute concert includes one choral and one instrumental work introduced by Greg Funfgeld with an informal and enlightening talk about the music to be performed. Executive director Bridget George said, “St. John’s Lutheran Church in the heart of center city Allentown with its beautiful sanctuary, excellent organ, and already established Arts at St. John’s series is the perfect space to expand our Bach at Noon program. The Bach Choir is delighted by the response from Allentown businesses and arts organizations to our proposal and we are especially grateful to the lead sponsors of the premiere Allentown Bach at Noon series—the Rider-Pool Foundation, Air Products, and Center City Corporation.”
For the first Allentown Bach at Noon Summer Series, there are two performances on the second Tuesdays of June and July. If additional funding is forthcoming, The Bach Choir hopes to expand the series to three performances on second Tuesdays, June through August.
ALLENTOWN BACH AT NOON SCHEDULE SUMMER 2015
Second Tuesdays 12:10pm – 1:00pm, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 37 S. 5th St. Allentown
Tuesday June 9
The festive opening concert includes J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major with Robin Kani, flute, Elizabeth Field violin, and Greg Funfgeld, harpsichord, followed by Cantata BWV 149 Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg (Let songs of rejoicing be raised). Members of The Bach Choir and Bach Festival Orchestra are joined by soloists Laura Heimes, soprano; Barbara Hollinshead, mezzo-soprano; Stephen Ng, tenor; and Dashon Burton, bass-baritone.
Tuesday, July 14
Greg Funfgeld and Thomas Goeman begin the program with Bach’s Concerto for Two Keyboards in C Major BWV 1061 played on two pianos. Members of the Bach Choir then perform Johannes Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer (Love Song Waltzes), Opus 52, accompanied by Greg Funfgeld and Thomas Goeman on piano four hands.
About the Bach Choir of Bethlehem:
Writing about the most recent Bethlehem Bach Festival, May 2015, in the Wall Street Journal, Barrymore Laurence Scherer said “Their choral sonority is so rich you can feel it in your bones.” The Bach Choir of Bethlehem 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 Choir has been attracting thousands of visitors from across the United States and around the world to the annual Bethlehem Bach Festival in Pennsylvania. Since 1983, under Greg Funfgeld’s direction, the 95 dedicated volunteer singers of The Bach Choir, performing with the Bach Festival Orchestra and distinguished soloists, have received international acclaim. Venues have included the Herkulessaal at Munich’s Royal Residence and the Thomaskirche, Bach’s church in Leipzig, as part of the 1995 Germany tour; The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall as part of The Choir’s Centennial Celebration in 1998-2000; a performance for the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of an eight-concert tour of the United Kingdom in 2003; and a performance as part of the 75th anniversary of the Baldwin-Wallace Bach Festival in Severance Hall, Cleveland in 2007. In 2011, The Choir was chosen to represent the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in a series of concerts entitled Remember to Love, presented in observance of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11at Saint Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church, Wall Street in New York City. In 2013, The Choir returned to the Washington D.C. area for a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah at the Music Center at Strathmore. In 2014, The Choir commissioned a one-act comic opera by Chuck Holdeman, composer, and Bill Bly, librettist, which was performed in Bethlehem and in Philadelphia for the 250th anniversary of the German Society of Pennsylvania.
The Choir has released seven recordings of Bach works, in addition to the popular four-volume Christmas in Bethlehem. Recordings for Analekta include Bach’s Magnificat and Cantata 191, and Vivaldi’s Gloria (2009), Songs of Hope (2011), Saint John Passion (2012), and A Child’s Christmas in Bethlehem (2013). 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 on The Choir, Make a Joyful Noise. In addition to the annual Bethlehem Bach Festival, the concert season in Bethlehem includes Christmas and Spring Concerts; a Family Concert; Bach at Noon, a series of free concerts in historic Central Moravian Church; and Bach to School, an outstanding educational outreach program that has now been presented for more than 100,000 children. Mr. Bach Comes to Call, a film based on the acclaimed Classical Kids CD, was produced by The Bach Choir of Bethlehem in collaboration with Touchstone Theatre and GreenTreks Network in 2007. It has been broadcast nationally on PBS and is distributed internationally by The Children’s Group. The Bach Choir is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2013, The Bach Choir was the first American recipient of an award from the J.S. Bach Foundation in Switzerland.