The roots of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, the oldest Bach Choir in America, go back to Colonial times and to the Moravians who settled Bethlehem in 1712. The Choir was founded in 1898 by its first conductor John Frederick Wolle, an organist at Central Moravian Church, and gave the first complete performances in America of the Mass in B Minor (1900) and Christmas Oratorio (1901). Since its founding in 1898, The Choir has been attracting thousands of visitors to the annual Bethlehem Bach Festival, now held on the campus of Lehigh University. Greg Funfgeld, the sixth conductor of The Choir, has been artistic director and conductor since 1983 and is now in his 32nd season. He has expanded the programs of The Bach Choir beyond the annual Bach Festivals to become a year-round season of 31 concerts and educational programs with an audience of more than 20,000.
For more information about the rich history of The Bach Choir, please visit the digital resources available in the Historical Archives.
Photo Credit: Paul Pearson