Bach at the Sem, presented by Concordia Seminary and the American Kantorei, enters its 20th season with a full schedule of Sunday concerts: Oct. 28, Dec. 2, March 24, and April 28. All concerts are at 3:00 p.m. in the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus on the campus of Concordia Seminary in Clayton, Mo. A free will offering is taken at each concert.
“Bach at the Sem begins another season in October on the Concordia Seminary campus, continuing a longstanding tradition of performing J. S. Bach’s music in a sacred setting,” Concordia Seminary’s Dean of the Chapel Kent Burreson commented. “The Seminary, host for the series, is very excited about bringing this season’s offerings to the St. Louis community. The American Kantorei and top professional instrumentalists will be led by four accomplished guest conductors who specialize in Baroque music. We know that each conductor’s professionalism and conducting style will enrich the concerts and match the high standards Bach at the Sem audiences expect.”
Four guest conductors have accepted invitations to conduct a wide variety of works by J. S. Bach, Heinrich Schütz, G. F. Handel, and Charles Pachelbel, including Bach’s “Ein’ feste Burg” on Reformation Sunday and Cantata I of his Christmas Oratorio on December 2.
The season begins with guest conductor Dr. Martin Dicke (Oct.), who hails from Peoria, Ill., where he is cantor at Trinity Lutheran Church and director of the Peoria Bach Festival. Dr. Andrew Megill (Dec.) serves on the faculty of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in New Jersey and conducts the Carmel Bach Festival Choir in California and the Chorus of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Jeffrey Wilson (March), chairman of the music department and director of choral activities at Greenville College in Illinois, will make his second appearance at Bach at the Sem. Dr. Scott Hyslop (April) serves as the director of parish music at St. Lorenz Lutheran Church in Frankenmuth, Mich., one of the largest and oldest congregations in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
More detailed information on each concert and guest conductor, as well as on the American Kantorei and its personnel, may be found on the Bach at the Sem website at http://bach.csl.edu.
The American Kantorei, the performing group of Bach at the Sem, was founded in 1969 by its first musical director, the Rev. Robert Bergt, a member of the Concordia Seminary faculty. Following a hiatus of some 20 years, the Kantorei was resurrected in 1993 at the behest of its major sponsors, Robert and Lori Duesenberg and Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg, and has since presented to the communities of Concordia Seminary and St. Louis at large nearly 100 concerts of the music of premier Lutheran composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as music of Schütz, Buxtehude, Mendelssohn and other Lutheran composers.
In this period of guest conductors, following the death of Maestro Bergt in 2011, the chorus is prepared for each concert by interim music director, Dr. Jeral Becker, director of choral and vocal activities at Saint Louis University.