2006-09-01 / News

Bach choir welcomes new voices

By Rachel Haynie

By Rachel Haynie

Although it has been in existence for 26 years, the Lutheran Bach Choir of South Carolina often hears from music lovers who did not know it existed. To get the word and music out, the choir would like to add a few more voices. "This is our state's only performing ensemble devoted to the music of J. S. Bach and his contemporaries," said Sylvie Dessau, who directs the volunteer choir. "We are comprised of some of the Midlands' best amateur singers, along with professional soloists and instrumentalists."

Dessau said the number of singers in the choir depends on the pieces performed and has varied from 15 to 50. "We would like to attract other singers and at the same time boost interest from a broader audience," Dessau said.

Since its founding by Rev. L. David Miller in 1980, the group has presented more than 100 performances. The Bach Choir has performed in concert halls and churches throughout the state including six years at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival.

Concert performances feature instrumental ensembles closely approximating the way the music was performed in Bach's own time. (The composer was born in 1685.) The players include specialists in Bach's works, such as Randolph Love, trumpet; Benjamin Woodruff, double reeds; Charles Herin, cello; and Cynthia Hopkins, flute. Other highly successful combinations have included organ soloists, featuring selections by James Johnson, Louis Shirer, Susan Sturkie, and other South Carolina organists and arias performed by the Midlands' best Bach singers.

Additionally, there have been instrumental selections by the Palmetto Brass, including new transcriptions of Bach's works done especially for these performances. Over the years the choir has presented a number of the great works of J. S. Bach.

Their fall concert will be November 12, 2006 at 4 pm at the Lutheran Southern Theological Seminary on Main Street. The fall program will include Cantata BWV 150 by J.S Bach; Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich ; and Alleluia, Sing to the Lord by G.P Telemann, among other works. The choir practices every other Sunday afternoon at 2:30 pm at Ebenezer Lutheran Church in downtown Columbia. For more information, contact Dessau at 803 414 6805 / 803 256 6569.

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