All is at the ready for the second weekend of the 105th Bethlehem Bach Festival. Choir and Orchestra members and soloists are hopefully well-rested as we enter a challenging and rewarding schedule of performances. The weather forecast looks fantastic, and there’s lots of wonderful music on tap. Tickets are available for all events – you may purchase them at the door.
This past Sunday, we had, in conjunction with the American Bach Society, our Bach Vocal Competition for Young American Singers. I’m pasting the press release announcing the winners below, with special congratulations to the winner, Dashon Burton. Great things must be happening in the music program at Yale. Two of the recent winners of our competition are graduates: Dashon, and Bethlehem favorite, Joshua Copeland.
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone from New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded first prize in the Seventh Biennial Bach Vocal Competition for Young American Singers, co-sponsored by the American Bach Society and the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, PA. The finals were held on May 6, 2012 in Peter Hall at Moravian College, Bethlehem. The prize includes a career development grant in the amount of $3,000. Honorable mentions and cash awards of $500 were awarded to Steven Brennfleck, tenor, from Ewing, New Jersey; Sarah Mesko, mezzo-soprano, from Washington DC; and Jonathan Woody, bass-baritone from Brooklyn, New York.
The ten finalists were selected from more than 70 applicants nation-wide who submitted demo tapes. Applicants, who must be 30 years or younger, were screened by David Gordon, education director, vocal coordinator and master class director of the Carmel Bach Festival in California. Each finalist performed two Bach arias of his/her choice. The five judges included Mary Greer, president of the American Bach Society; Greg Funfgeld, artistic director and conductor of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem; and Bethlehem Bach Festival soloists Rosa Lamoreaux, soprano; Benjamin Butterfield, tenor; and William Sharp, bass-baritone.
Mr. Burton will be featured in the title role of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s 2013 performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah scheduled for Saturday March 10, 3pm at Millersville University; Sunday March 10, 4pm at First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, PA; and Wednesday, March 13, 8pm at Strathmore Hall, Washington DC.
Finally, we’re delighted that Eliot Fisk, our guitar soloist, has been involved in some educational outreach efforts during his time in town. The Morning Call has some pictures up from his recent visit to William Allen High School in Allentown. Thanks to Eliot for sharing his inspiring virtuosity with area students!