The Bach Choir of Bethlehem
The oldest American Bach Choir, 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 now-famous Choir has been attracting thousands of visitors from across the United States and beyond to the annual Bethlehem Bach Festival in Pennsylvania. Since 1983, under Greg Funfgeld’s passionate and experienced direction, the 100 dedicated volunteer singers of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, 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 1999-2000; 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.
The Choir has released five recordings of Bach works, in addition to the popular four- volume Christmas in Bethlehem. This recording is the Choir’s first for Analekta, Canada’s premiere classical recording company. 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 the historic Central Moravian Church; and Bach to School, an outstanding educational outreach program that has now been presented to more than 75,000 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.