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 Bel Canto Youth Chorus

Auditions available through October 14, in person or via Zoom  Schedule a Placement Audition!

Founded in 1993 and comprised of auditioned treble singers, The Bel Canto Youth Chorus 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 will culminate in a performance of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion with The Bach Choir of Bethlehem in Greg Funfgeld’s final performances as the Artistic Director.
  • Our summer travel in June 2022 will extend the focus from the Stand Up program. We are joining with youth choirs from Washington DC and Wilmington DE in a tour that traces 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 observe the most current, researched-based recommendations for COVID-19 safety protocols.

Audition in person through September 9 in person or via Zoom. In-person auditions are held in historic downtown Bethlehem at The Bach Choir Office:
440 Heckewelder Place
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Placement will be determined by the timing of the audition so we encourage singers to audition as soon as possible! Auditions are low-key, require no preparation, and are completed on Zoom or in person. To learn more or to schedule an audition, please contact us at 610-866-4342, ext. 116, or email For Tuition and Fees information, please click here.

If you are ready to register for a placement audition time, please click here.

Audition for The Bach Choir of Bethlehem

Celebrating our 125th Anniversary Season!

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem is the oldest American Bach Choir, 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.

Choral Scholars: 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.


2022-2023 Season:

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

Choir members have the option to perform at our weekday Bach at Noon Concerts, held ten times a year in Bethlehem and Allentown.

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

Auditions take place at the Choir’s office:
Heckewelder House
440 Heckewelder Place
Bethlehem, PA 18018

Thursday, 2 September – 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Friday, 3 September – 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, 4 September – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Please email Celia Lansing to schedule your audition:

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.

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 join us each season as Choral Scholars; others audition to perform at Zimmermann’s Coffee House , which will be held 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!