Bach at the Sem, presented by Concordia Seminary and the American Kantorei, is in its 21st 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 Feb. 16 concert features a church cantata and a Mass setting by J. S. Bach – Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen, BWV 43, and Missa Brevis in A Major, BWV 234 – as well as a motet by Johann Pachelbel, Jauchzet dem Herrn. The congregation will join in singing Martin Franzmann’s great hymn, “Thy Strong Word Did Cleave the Darkness.”
Guest conductor Dr. Maurice Boyer is assistant professor of music at Concordia University Chicago, where he conducts the chamber orchestra and Laudate, a women’s choir. Born in the U. S., he began his musical training (piano, voice, and solfège) in Aix-en-Provence, France. Dr. Boyer earned both his B. Mus. (sacred music, piano as principal instrument) and his M. Mus. (choral conducting) at Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, N. J., where he also studied theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. His D.M.A. in orchestral conducting is from the University of Maryland, College Park. Principal conducting teachers include Joseph Flummerfelt, Kenneth Kiesler, and James Ross. Dr. Boyer is also artistic director of the Heritage Chorale of Oak Park and assistant conductor of the Symphony of Oak Park River Forest. He has guest conducted the Chicago Choral Artists and served as guest chorus master for Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, as chorus master of the New Jersey State Opera, and as director of music at several churches.
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.