Young American Singer's Competition - UPDATED



PLEASE NOTE: Because of COVID-19 our Young American Singers Competition has been canceled, with a new date to come in 2021. At this point, we are unable to confirm the date or additional details. As restrictions are eased and gathering for performances  is safe for both the artists and the audience, we will announce our plans and confirm next steps for those who have or will audition.  

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and the American Bach Society announce the eleventh biennial competition for American singers with special interest in the music of J. S. Bach.
Recent Winners include: Gabriela Estephani Solis, 2018, Nola Richardson and Christopher Edwards, 2016, Janna Critz, 2014, Dashon Burton, 2012.

The final competition for up to ten singers will take place in 2021 (date to be determined), appearing before a panel of distinguished judges and a live audience in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The First Prize winner chosen by the judges on that day will receive a career development grant of $3,000 and a solo performing opportunity with The Bach Choir of Bethlehem in a future season.

In addition to the first prize, up to three additional cash awards of $500 may be awarded to other finalists, at the judges’ discretion.

Judges at the Finals will include

  • Greg Funfgeld, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem
  • Other distinguished Bach performers and specialists, to be announced


The Competition is open to citizens of the United States who were born after May 17, 1989.
(As of the finals competition, participants must not yet have reached their 31st birthday.)



  • Preliminary application is by audio or video recording of one secco recitative and two J.S. Bach arias uploaded via the online portal
  • From these preliminary applications, up to ten finalists will be chosen.
  • All applicants will be notified via email regarding the final competition.


  • The finalists will sing in Bethlehem, PA, in 2021.
  • Location: Peter Hall, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA 18018 (or TBD.)
  • At the finals, each singer will present one secco recitative and two arias by J.S. Bach, (not necessarily those in the preliminary application). Piano accompanist will be provided. Finalists are welcome to bring their own accompanist if they wish.
  • Finalists must make their own travel arrangements. By car, Bethlehem is 90 minutes north of Philadelphia and ca. 2 hours west of New York City. (Google Map)
  • Bethlehem is about five miles from the Lehigh Valley Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Airport website opens in new window)


Application is via which charges a $30 application fee.

We will reactivate the audition process if necessary.

About the Bach Choir of Bethlehem

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 38th season. He has expanded the programs of The Bach Choir beyond the annual Bach Festivals to become a year-round season of more than 40 concerts and educational programs with an audience of more than 22,000.

Please visit the Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s website for the Festival schedule or email to request a Festival ticket brochure.


Zimmermann's Coffee House

COVID-19 has disrupted much of our season, including our opportunity to present the young musicians who were accepted into  Zimmermann’s Coffee House in 2020.

As the 2020-2021 season unfolds, we will determine our next steps with the exceptional showcase of young talent and post updates here on our website. Should you have any questions about Zimmermann’s, please contact Mike DeCrosta, Administrative Assistant, 610-866-4382, Ext 110, or

Click HERE for a PDF summary of the audition process for the Zimmermann’s Coffee House (dates here reflect the canceled 2020 Festival performances.)

The Chaconne Project

Bach Choir Chaconne project 2020

Due to COVID-19, The Chaccone Project has been postponed to a future date. Students selected to participate in The Chaccone Project will perform their compositions at an upcoming performance, to be determined as the performance and gathering restrictions are eased. This opportunity is modeled on the successful project facilitated by Dr. Larry Lipkis, Professor of Music and Composer in Residence at Moravian College,  as part of our 2013 Family Concert and at our 2015 Bethlehem Bach Festival.

To view our Chaconne video, please click HERE

Click HERE for a PDF Summary of the Chaconne project. (Dates in this document reflect the canceled 2020 Festival performance.)



Audition for The Bach Choir of Bethlehem

Auditions Now Held Year-Round!

Please check this page for updates and email Dr. Christopher Jackson to schedule your audition:

Celebrating our 125th Anniversary Season!

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem is the oldest Bach Choir in the United States, and gave the first American performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor and the Christmas Oratorio. Since its founding in 1898, The Choir has been attracting thousands of national and international visitors every May to its annual Bethlehem Bach Festival.

Our Choir members love music – and come from all kinds of backgrounds. Some of them are in their 20’s … a few are in their 70’s and the rest are in between! Their lifestyles, professions and activities may differ but their musical connections are identical: a commitment to hard work and excellence – to deliver a season of glorious music to our audiences.

Audition for Chris Jackson, artistic director and conductor
The audition consists of each singer performing one or two songs or arias of contrasting nature (your choice), some vocalization, and sight-reading.  An accompanist is provided.  If you have any questions about the audition process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  We highly encourage you to sign up!

Choral Scholars Program:

High School vocalists are encouraged to audition for our Choral Scholars program. High school seniors who would like to join us as Choral Scholars for the coming season will have an amazing year of musical training and an unforgettable experience. The audition for the Choral Scholars is the same as the adult choir.

** NEW!** Collegiate Choral Scholars – we are especially excited to welcome college students to audition for The Choir.  The connections our singers make with professional musicians, music educators, and local choir members are truly life-changing. Those looking for a unique musical experience or to help prepare themselves to enter the world of professional music as a performer, conductor, or educator should strongly consider auditioning. Contact Dr. Christopher Jackson for more information.

PRINT Choral Scholars flyer

2022-2023 Season:

During this upcoming season, the Choir will perform at the following concerts: Christmas (2) | Family Concert | Spring Concert | 115th Bethlehem Bach Festival (2 weekends)

Choir members also have the option to perform at our weekday Bach at Noon Concerts, held ten times a year in Bethlehem and Allentown, and at our Bach to School assemblies, presented during the academic year at schools in our region.

Click Repertoire to read more about the concerts planned for this season.


Auditions take place at The Choir’s office in Historic Downtown Bethlehem:

Heckewelder House
440 Heckewelder Place
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Rehearsal Schedule:
Choir rehearsals take place on Monday evenings throughout the season at 7:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem.
Complete season rehearsal schedule will be available at your audition.



2023 Zimmermann's Coffee House Audition

The Coffee House will be one of the events at the 115th Bethlehem Bach Festival in May 2023. College and high school students may audition on February 18th & 25th, 1:00pm – 5:00pm at The Bach Choir Office located at 440 Heckewelder Place, Bethlehem PA 18018.  Auditions are open to individuals and ensembles who play or sing Baroque music. The judges are Dr. Christopher Jackson Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s Artistic Director and Conductor; Larry Lipkis, professor of music and Composer-in-Residence at Moravian University; David Macbeth with Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts; and Leela Breithaupt, Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s Executive Director. Final auditions / dress rehearsal will take place on Saturday, April 29 (Time is TBD) at Peter Hall, Moravian University.  


Eligibility requirements: 

  • Baroque and classical era music for solo instruments, voices or ensembles. We encourage a variety of 17th and 18th century music, including music from generation of Bach’s sons.  
  • Please prepare 5 – 7 minutes of music 
  • If your audition selection requires an accompanist, one can be provided. 
  • Letter of Recommendation from your teacher 

To schedule an audition, please call or email Alexis Van Billiard at 610-866-4382 Ext. 110, .


Audition for The Bel Canto Youth Chorus

Founded in 1993 and and celebrating our 30th Anniversary Season, The Bel Canto Youth Chorus is comprised of auditioned treble singers,  and has developed an international reputation for performing diversified choral repertoire at the highest standard of musical excellence and style.

Auditions for all choirs (ages 8-17)

We are currently seeking singers who thrive on taking a “deep dive” into the music they are singing, including historical context, relevance to contemporary issues, and of course, solid musical and vocal training. Some highlights:

  • The 2020-21 Stand Up program has provided a foundation for our participation next fall in a special conference focused specifically on African American Choral Music, Bent But Not Broken, in Wilmington, DE.
  • Our 2021-22 season culminated in a performance of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion at the 114th Bethlehem Bach Festival.
  • Our summer travel in June 2022 extended the focus of our Stand Up program, as we joined with youth choirs from Washington DC and Wilmington DE in a tour that traced Harriet Tubman’s journey from Maryland to her home in Auburn, NY.

These wide-ranging musical experiences create intelligent and expressive singing musicians. Our holistic approach to choral instruction is ideal for any child who loves to sing and is seeking musical enrichment. Our in-person rehearsals will continue to observe the most current, researched-based recommendations for any COVID-19 safety protocols.

Learn more about auditioning for Bel Canto Youth Chorus by clicking HERE.

In-person auditions are held in historic downtown Bethlehem at The Bach Choir Office:
440 Heckewelder Place
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Auditions are low-key and very welcoming! To speak to someone about Bel Canto, please contact us at 610-866-4342, ext. 116, or email For Tuition and Fees information, please click here.

Our 2022-2023 Season opens on July 1, 2022.

Auditions for adults to join The Bach Choir of Bethlehem will take place in August and September.  More information will be posted on this page after July 1.

We will also post information about audition opportunities for young people.  High School singers audition to  join The Choir  each season as Choral Scholars  and/or to perform at Zimmermann’s Coffee House, which will be held in May, 2023 at our 115th Bethlehem Bach Festival.  We will also post audition information about joining The Bel Canto Youth Chorus on this page throughout the season.

We hope you’ll join us this season!