Educational outreach is a cornerstone of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. The Choir has been recognized nationally and internationally for the outstanding achievements in sharing the music and passion of J.S. Bach with a wide and diverse audience.

These efforts include programs to engage school-aged children and adults at Bach to School, Bach at Noon, the Family Concert, and our Distinguished Scholar lecture – as well as encouraging and training future singers in the Choral Scholar program.

The Choir is also excited to begin digitizing our archival holdings, in the online Archives, detailing the rich and interesting history of the choir since its founding in 1898.

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Bach to School

Bach to School is an innovative and imaginative educational outreach program that was launched in 1993 and has now been presented for more than 100,000 children.

Each year Bach to School presents eight assembly programs (each lasting approximately one hour) in school districts throughout the Lehigh Valley and in the surrounding region, reaching a total number of more than 5,000 students annually. The programs are presented by an ensemble of approximately 30 singers and 15 instrumentalists, conducted by Greg Funfgeld. Different versions of the program are targeted for elementary, middle, and high schools. All Lehigh Valley school districts are invited to apply for participation in the program on an rotating basis, with the Bethlehem and Allentown Area School Districts having an ongoing commitment to participate every year.

The students are prepared for Bach to School through classroom instruction with lesson plans provided by The Choir. The program includes a repertoire of seven pieces by Bach, including orchestral and choral works. The heart of the program involves the “Gloria” from the Mass in B Minor taken apart voice by voice and instrument by instrument, then put back together again to demonstrate the genius of Bach’s fugal writing and orchestration. Mr. Funfgeld helps children to see the parallels between music, academics, sports, and their own personal lives by talking about the emotions and creativity of the music, the fruits of practice, and the joy of working together on something you love.

Why Bach to School?

  • To bring the joy of Bach’s music to a diverse student population, including many students who have never been to a classical music concert before.
  • To use the spark of a live encounter with professional and dedicated volunteer musicians to inspire children with the love of learning and the arts in general.
  • To create an interest in Bach as a genius through an imaginative exploration of his life, times, personality, and influence in musical history.
  • To create awareness of the importance of classical music, especially Bach, in the heritage of Bethlehem.
  • To foster an understanding of The Bach Choir’s existence and function, and an appreciation for the concept of community service or involvement as exemplified by members of The Choir.
  • To cultivate a new generation of classical music audiences and artists

Lesson Plans:

Bel Canto Children’s Chorus

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem has announced that it is entering into an historic new partnership with The Bel Canto Children’s Chorus, as part of The Bach Choir’s continuing mission to expand its educational arm. With the administrative, operational, and artistic support of The Bach Choir, the Bel Canto Children’s Chorus is moving to Lehigh Valley, PA and will now be known as The Bel Canto Children’s Chorus of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. Bel Canto’s administration is now located with The Bach Choir at Heckewelder House in Bethlehem. This new collaboration offers promising programming possibilities for both ensembles and a shared commitment to finding new ways to live the mission of life-long involvement in the choral art.

Visit Bel Canto’s Website

Bach Chaconne Project

Conceived and directed by Dr. Larry Lipkis, the Bach Chaconne Project debuted at The Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s 2013 Family Concert. The Project was held again in 2015, with its final performance taking place at the 108th Bethlehem Bach Festival. Watch the short film on this page to walk through the process with the ten talented high school participants, including excerpts from their final performance in 2015.

Interested in learning more about the Bach Chaconne Project, or conducting a similar project at your school or organization?

Click the button below to download the Bach Chaconne Starter Kit.

Download the Starter Kit

Bach 101

Enjoy a deeper understanding of the works performed by The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. The Bach Choir is delighted to feature here the work and insights of Carol Traupman-Carr, Ph.D., former Associate Professor of Music and current Dean at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA.

Cantatas

Cantata BWV 1Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
Cantata BWV 4Christ lag in Todes Banden
Cantata BWV 9Es ist das Heil uns kommen her
Cantata BWV 11, Ascension Oratorio: Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen
Cantata BWV 21, Ich hatte viel Bekümmerniss
Cantata BWV 29Wir danken dir, Gott
Cantata BWV 31Der Himmel lacht! die Erde jubilieret
Cantata BWV 34O ewiges Feuer
Cantata BWV 40Darzu ist erschienen der Sohn Gottes
Cantata BWV 43Gott fahret auf mit Jauchzen
Cantata BWV 51Jauchzet Gott
Cantata BWV 56Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen
Cantata BWV 59Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten
Cantata BWV 63Christen ätzet diesen Tag
Cantata BWV 69Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele
Cantata BWV 71Gott ist mein König
Cantata BWV 73Herr wie du willt
Cantata BWV 74Wer mich liebet
Cantata BWV 76Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes
Cantata BWV 80Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott
Cantata BWV 82Ich habe genug
Cantata BWV 102Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben!
Cantata BWV 103, Ihr werdet weinen und heulen, aber die Welt wird sich freuen
Cantata BWV 105Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht
Cantata BWV 106Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit
Cantata BWV 110Unser Mund sei voll Lachens
Cantata BWV 130Herr Gott, dich loben alle wir
Cantata BWV 131Aus der Tiefen
Cantata BWV 137Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren
Cantata BWV 140Wachet Auf
Cantata BWV 147Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben
Cantata BWV 149Man singet mit Freuden vom Sieg
Cantata BWV 151Süsser Trost, mein Jesus kömmt
Cantata BWV 156Ich steh mit einem Fuss im Grabe
Cantata BWV 169Gott soll allein mein Herze haben
Cantata BWV 174Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte?
Cantata BWV 182Himmelskönig, sei willkommen
Cantata BWV 198, Trauer Ode
Cantata BWV 211Coffee Cantata

Masses and Mass Parts

The Mass in B Minor, BWV 232

Mass in G Minor, BWV 235
Mass in G Major, BWV 236 (Missa brevis in G major)

Motets

Motet BWV 159a, Ich lasse dich nicht
Motet BWV 225, Singet dem Herrn
Motet BWV 226, Der Geist hilft
Motet BWV 228, Fürchte dich nicht
Motet BWV 229, Komm, Jesu, komm
Motet BWV 230, Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden

Passions

St. Matthew PassionBWV 244

Other Choral Works

The Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248
Easter Oratorio (Oster-Oratorium), BWV 249
Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243

Johannes Brahms: Op. 29, No. 2 “Schaffe in mir Gott”
Morten Lauridsen:  Lux Aeterna
Felix Mendelssohn:  Richte mich gott, Op. 78
W.A. Mozart: Mass in C minor, K. 472 (“Grand Mass”)

Past Conductors

J. Fred Wolle

1898-1933

Bruce Carey

1933-1939

Ifor Jones

1939-1969

Alfred Mann

1969-1980

William Reese

1980-1983

Past Presidents

Ralf R. Hillman

1900-1905

Henry S. Drinker

1912-1920

Charles M. Schwab

1921-1926

Ruth M. Linderman

1926-1934

Henry S. Snyder

1934-1943

William L. Estes, Jr.

1943-1961

Elmer L. Mack

1961-1965

Charles H. H. Weikel

1965-1969

The Hon. Carleton T. Woodring

1969-1972

Kenneth L. Houck

1972-1981

Thomas T. Church

1981-1991

Janice S. Bonge

1991-1996

John A. Jordan, Jr.

1996-2004

David G. Beckwith, Ph.D.

2004-2014