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Bach at the Sem Presents Music For Advent and Christmas

Music for Advent and Christmas is featured at the next Bach at the Sem concert on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 3:00 p.m., in The Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus at Concordia Seminary. The American Kantorei chorus and orchestra, under the direction of Seminary artist-in-residence Rev. Dr. Robert Bergt, performs a concert of J.S. Bach’s music for Advent and Christmas.

A well-known Bach Cantata, “Awake, Awake, for Night Is Flying,” is the first dramatic choral work of the program. The featured oratorio is the “Magnificat in D Major,” of which the major opus has pleased audiences in America, Europe, and Asia since its rediscovery more than 100 years ago. The audience will have an opportunity to sing the hymn, “Wake, Awake, For Night Is Flying,” between the two major Bach works. Bach at the Sem organist, Dennis Bergin, will perform a major organ work, “Toccata,” by the 19th-century composer Hugo Distler.

Soloists for the concert are Joy Boland and Jean Baue, soprano; Katharine Lawton Brown and Sandra Agans, mezzo soprano; Jeral Becker and Arie Perry, tenor; and David Berger, bass-baritone. An orchestra of 20 professional musicians assists the chorus and soloists in the concert. The prominent trio of skilled trumpet players consists of John Korak, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville; Mary Weber, Saint Louis University; and Robert Souza, who were acclaimed as “world-class artists” by German scholars who were present at the concert by the American Kantorei in October.

The American Kantorei is a choral and orchestral ensemble dedicated to the performance of church music from the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Neoclassical periods. The works of J. S. Bach form the core of its repertoire. Conductor and music director Robert Bergt is known as an international Bach scholar, especially in understanding the centrality of the German chorale to all of Bach’s musical compositions for worship.

Bach at the Sem is made possible through the generous support of patrons and donors. An offering is taken at each concert in support of the creation and encouragement of fine live performance. Special limited seating within sight of the stage is reserved for school-age music students accompanied by an adult.

Other performances in the 2008-2009 concert series include:
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009, 3:00 p.m.—Dennis Bergen, organist, plays Distler, Bender and Bach
Sunday, April 26, 3:00 p.m. — Mendelssohn and A.C. Bergt, enlarged chamber orchestra with choirs from Saint Louis University

For more information concerning Bach at the Sem or to be added to the Bach at the Sem mailing list, contact Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105; 314-505-7377; or e-mail bach@csl.edu.