News

Kalamazoo Bach Festival Society Presents: 47th Annual Bachfest Christmas! Featuring Bach Festival Chorus and Arcato Chamber Ensemble

BACHFEST CHRISTMAS! a treasured Kalamazoo holiday tradition for 47 years sponsored by the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Society, will ring in the Christmas season in the serene yet festive setting of Stetson Chapel on Sunday, December 4th, at 4pm on the campus of Kalamazoo College. As Maestro James Turner prepares for his retirement at the end of the season, he has chosen many of his favorite pieces for this concert BachFest Christmas! will feature works by Bach, Handel, Lauridsen, Overley, arrangements for orchestra and choir, and more. Performers include the Bach Festival Chorus, James Turner, conductor, Arcato Chamber Ensemble, Andrew Koehler, conductor, and Carl Witt, organ. Featured soloists are sopranos Rhea Olivaccé, Corlyn Longer-Schreck, Jessica Coe, and Susan Daniels, along with alto Tami Snyder-Knutson, tenors Victor Garcia and Joseph Sablan, and baritone Joseph Schreck. Highlighting the concert this year will be selected movements from the Bach Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah including the Hallelujah Chorus with audience participation. Familiar seasonal carols and full orchestra complete this often sold-out concert and much beloved family holiday tradition.

The first half of the concert opens with six selected movements from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Four movements from Handel’s Messiah follow. The Bach Chorus members will move into the audience for the Hallelujah Chorus and the audience will join in the music making.

In the second half of the program, audience members will be treated to holiday favorites when the Chorus and Arcato Chamber Ensemble perform selections of joyous Christmas music. The Arcato Chamber Ensemble will be featured to open the second half with Andante Festivo, by Jean Sibelius. Local soprano and audience favorite Rhea Olivacce will be the soloist for Moses Hogan’s roof-lifting arrangement of Glory to the Newborn King. The audience is invited to join in the singing of O Come, All Ye Faithful accompanied by orchestra. As the sun sets on a chilly winter afternoon, J.S. Bach’s Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace) from Bach’s B minor Mass will send the audience off ready to greet the holiday season.

The Kalamazoo Bach Festival presented its first Christmas concert at Stetson Chapel in 1970 under the direction of Kalamazoo College Professor of Music Russell A. Hammar. Now this annual performance has become a cherished holiday tradition to share with family and friends in the Kalamazoo community. This concert frequently sells out so tickets may be limited. For full information about the Kalamazoo Bach Festival and its concerts and events, visit the Bach Festival’s website www.kalamazoobachfestival.org.