Although Felix Mendelssohn is credited with the "rediscovery" of J.S. Bach's music thanks to his now-famous 1829 Berlin performance of Bach's Saint Matthew Passion, a full six years earlier, a performance of Bach's Cantata BWV 80, Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott was given in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. No surpise, then, that the oldest Bach choir in America was founded in this historic Pennsylvania town in 1898.
For the first time since its centennial celebration, The Bach Choir and Bach Festival Orchestra return to the DC area on Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 to perform Felix Mendelssohn's dramatic oratorio Elijah at The Music Center at Strathmore. The choir is joined by the Millersville University Keystone Singers, and soloists, including soprano Rosa Lamoreaux, mezzo-soprano Marietta Simpson, tenor Mark Boyle, and, singing the role of Elijah, bass-baritone Dashon Burton.
Classical WETA's Deborah Lamberton spoke with Bach Choir artistic director and conductor Greg Funfgeld about how the Bach-Mendelssohn connection informs the oratorio, and about what has kept him leading the Bach Choir of Bethlehem for three decades.