Bach Society | St. Louis Public Radio

Bach Society

Dennis Sparger, music director and conductor of the Bach Society of Saint Louis.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

The Bach Society of Saint Louis is participating in a 500th anniversary commemoration concert drawing inspiration from the Reformation. The Reformation was a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther in 1517.

“I think [Luther’s] influence in the area of music was probably just as powerful as it was in theology,” said Dennis Sparger, music director and conductor of the Bach Society. “He praised music to the highest level and really encouraged us all to use all of our music to praise God.”

Dennis Sparger and  Melissa Payton of the Bach Society.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In the spirit of the holiday season, the Bach Society of St. Louis will celebrate with its annual Christmas Candlelight Concert on Thursday night at Powell Hall.

Ahead of the concert, Music Director A. Dennis Sparger and Executive Director Melissa Payton joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the organization and the concert.

Bach Society of Saint Louis / (Courtesy Bach Society of Saint Louis)

In the lead-up to Christmas, the Bach Society of Saint Louis’ Christmas Candlelight Concert is a tradition almost as old as eggnog itself—this year marks the 75th anniversary of the organization devoted to performing choral works by Johann Sebastian Bach, among other classical composers.

The Bach Society of St. Louis at a previous concert at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church
Bach Society website

A 75-year life lived productively and well is an achievement for any person or organization, but it is especially impressive for any specialized musical association in these days of organizational saturation. Thus it’s cheering to have the opportunity say Hooray! for the Bach Society of St. Louis.

Bach Society’s Candlelight Tradition Continues

Dec 19, 2014
Kris Bueltmann

The Bach Society of Saint Louis continues its Christmas concert tradition on Tuesday, complete with a candlelight procession.

“Every time I maybe mention the Bach Society and their Christmas candlelight concert that they are performing, anybody I speak with will go, ‘Oh! Oh!’ and they kind of stop in their tracks because they do remember that procession,” soprano Jane Jennings said. “It’s riveting. It’s breathtaking.”

The candlelight procession will be after intermission.

Bach Society of Saint Louis / (Courtesy Bach Society of Saint Louis)

Continuing a sixty-two year tradition, the Bach Society of Saint Louis will perform its annual Christmas Candlelight Concert Tuesday, December 17, at Powell Hall. The Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra will be joined by the UMSL University Singers in a program opening with the "Gloria in excelsis Deo" from Bach's Mass in B Minor and featuring John Rutter’s “Gloria.”

As always, a highlight of the concert will be a candlelight processional.

Marianne Leach

When a symphony orchestra performs Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” it’s always something of a spectacle.  The stage is packed to the brim with a large orchestra including two pianos and celeste, vocal soloists, a chorus and children’s chorus.  But Nashville Ballet Artistic Director Paul Vasterling’s vision of “Carmina Burana” employing 120 singers, 60 orchestral musicians and 40 dancers takes the work to new proportions. 

Kris Bueltmann

A highlight of the Christmas season for many is the Bach Society of Saint Louis’ annual Christmas Candlelight Concert.  Music Director A. Dennis Sparger will conduct the Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra in this year’s concert on Sunday, December 2 in Powell Hall.  Also featured on the program is the Archdiocesan Children’s Choir, led by Horst Buchholz.

Sparger and Bach Society Principal Singer Melissa Payton joined host Steve Potter to discuss this year’s concert and sample three of the scheduled works.