Bach at the Sem, presented by Concordia Seminary and the American Kantorei, is in its 20th season with a full schedule of Sunday concerts: Oct. 20, Dec. 1, Feb. 16, and April 6. 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.
The Dec. 1 concert will include Cantatas III and VI from the Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, by J. S. Bach and three motets: O magnum mysterium by Tomás Luis de Victoria and O come, O come, Emmanuel and Of the Father’s love begotten, both by Martin Dicke. A congregational hymn, “Savior of the Nations Come,” will also be introduced and played by Dr. Dicke.
Dr. Martin Dicke, Cantor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Peoria, Ill., is the guest conductor for the Bach at the Sem December concert. As Cantor, Dr. Dicke plans worship services, directs several ensembles, serves as primary organist, and oversees the Trinity Concert Series, Kindermusik® (an educational/outreach program directed by his wife), and the Peoria Bach Festival. Recent performances include J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (2010), Easter Oratorio (2011), and Christmas Oratorio (2012). Dr. Dicke has master’s and doctoral degrees in choral conducting and has studied and sung under Robert Shaw, Weston Noble, Erik Erikson, and Raymond Erickson. He also founded and directed a select choir in St. Paul/Minneapolis for 10 years and conducted the Chamber Singers of Iowa City for three. He is currently the Dean of the Peoria Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and is preparing his dissertation for publication by A-R Editions.
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, Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg and Robert and (the late) Lori 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.