SCRANTON — The Arcadia Chorale will present the 31st Annual NEPA Bach Festival, a celebration of the music of J. S. Bach and his contemporaries, on Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and 20. The festival begins on Saturday afternoon with an organ concert, continues with a chamber music concert on Saturday evening, and culminates with a choral concert on Sunday afternoon.
The festival will open at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 19 with an organ concert at Elm Park United Methodist Church in Scranton. The concert will be given by organist Timothy Smith, who is director of music and organist at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Scranton. Smith served as director of music and organist of New York’s famed Riverside Church from July 1992 until December 2008, is currently university organist of Columbia University, and has recorded for the Gothic, Pro Organo, and JAV record labels.
The Arcadia Festival Orchestra will perform a program of double and quadruple concertos at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 19 at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Scranton. Featured soloists include Ed Wargo and Loriann Valentine Kerber, performing Quantz’s “Concerto in G Minor” for two flutes, violinists Sophie Till and Jeffrey Ellenberger in Handel’s “Concerto Grosso in A Minor, Op. 6, No. 4,” and John Vaida and Amy Iwazumi performing Bach’s famous “Double Violin Concerto.” All four violin soloists are featured in Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor.”
The Bach Festival concludes with a choral concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Scranton. The concert features the Arcadia Chorale, the Wilkes University Chamber Singers and the Arcadia Festival Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Steven Thomas, performing Bach’s “Cantata 4 Christ Lag in Todesbanden,” “Cantata 150 Nach Dir, Herr, Verlanget Mich,” and the grand, double-chorus motet “Singet dem Herrn.” Also on the program is Heinrich Schütz’s double-chorus setting of “Singet dem Herrn.” Featured soloists for the performance are Jenna Ash, Kathy Brink, Catherine Carter, Lauren Cuccia, Linda Hickernell, George Levandowski, Evelyn Munley, Wes Poole and Craig Westbrook.
Admission for the chamber music and choral concerts is $15 and $12 for seniors and WVIA members. Students will be admitted free with a student ID. Admission to the organ concert is free. The Bach Festival is supported by a Lackawanna County Arts and Cultural grant, a program of the Lackawanna County Commissioners and the Lackawanna County Council on the Arts, and by a grant from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts.
For more information or to reserve tickets, visit arcadiachorale.org or contact the chorale office at 570-871-0350.