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‘Bach at Noon’: Log on, look and listen

First of two parts

While its live concerts have been canceled, The Bach Choir of Bethlehem continues its “Bach at Noon” concerts in 2021 in what has become a successful online venture.

After coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions began in mid-March 2020, the Bach Choir began to present its popular free “Bach at Noon” concerts on its YouTube channel and social media.

Bach Choir of Bethlehem Executive Director Bridget George says “Bach at Noon” online watch parties have attracted people from all over the United States and the world.

“Bach at Noon,” initiated in 2005 on the second Tuesday of the month, was designed as a community and economic development initiative to educate new audiences about Bach’s music. “Bach at Noon” has attracted audiences of more than 8,000 annually.

It includes seven concerts September through April at Central Moravian Church, Bethlehem, and three concerts June through August at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Allentown.

Bach Choir of Bethlehem Artistic Director and Conductor Greg Funfgeld introduces each program with an informal talk.

For last fall, this winter and spring, “Bach at Noon” concerts have been recorded live at Central Moravian Church, with a small ensemble of musicians adhering to social distancing. Because of Commonwealth COVID-19 restrictions on indoor capacity, there is no audience.

The concerts feature choral and instrumental works by Bach and other composers. There are discussions with the soloists about the music and performance.

The taped concerts are streamed at noon on the second Tuesdays when the concerts would have been presented live.

The “Bach at Noon” Feb. 9 concert was postponed until Feb. 16 because participants were unable to film the concert because of the Jan. 31-Feb. 2 blizzard that blanketed the Lehigh Valley.

The Feb. 16 “Bach at Noon” features Robin Kani, flute, and baritone William Sharp, both of whom will be interviewed by Funfgeld.

The program will open with Georg Philipp Telemann’s “Sonata in G Major,” TWV 41: G4 from “Methodical Sonatas,” featuring Kani, flute, and Arthur Fiacco, cello.

Sharp will sing four Bach arias: “Ach, unser Wille bleibt verkehrt” and “Herr, so du willt” from Cantata 73; “Willkommen, werter Schatz” from Cantata 36; “Es ist vollbracht” from Cantata 159, and “Ja, ja, ich kann die Feinde schlagen” from Cantata 57.

Also featured are Elizabeth Field and Mary Ogletree, violins; Uri Wassertzug, viola; Mary Watt, oboe; Stephen Groat, bass, and Funfgeld, keyboard.

Upcoming “Bach at Noon” concerts are March 9 and April 13.

WWFM The Classical Network continues to broadcast previous concerts at 1 p.m. the second Monday of the month.

Upcoming broadcast dates include the Oct. 13 “Bach at Noon,” Feb. 8, and the Nov. 10 “Bach at Noon,” March 8.

Information: https://bach.org/

Next week: Whither Bach to School and Bach Festival?

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Robin Kani, flute soloiost, “Bach at Noon,” Feb. 16.