Wilkes University


Arcadia Chorale to Present 34th Annual NEPA Bach Festival

The Arcadia Chorale will present the 34th Annual NEPA Bach Festival on Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24. The Bach Festival is a celebration of the music of J. S. Bach and his contemporaries, and is one of the highlights of Northeast Pennsylvania’s musical calendar. 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 opens at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, with an organ concert at Elm Park United Methodist Church in Scranton. The concert will be given by organist Brenda Lynne Leach, who, in addition to being an accomplished performer, is director of orchestral activities at Marywood University. Leach, who holds the DMA and MM degrees from the Eastman School of Music, has given organ concerts at numerous world-class venues, including Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Westminster Cathedral in London, Moscow Cathedral in Russia, St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, Washington National Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

On Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m., in Covenant Presbyterian Church in Scranton, members of the Arcadia Festival Orchestra will perform a program of chamber music by J. S. Bach, Edward Elgar and Max Reger. Ed Wargo, Gayle Klaber and Tsukasa Waltich will perform Bach’s "Sonata in E minor" for flute and continuo. Tom Heinze, Harold Levin and Gayle Klaber will perform a Bach trio sonata arranged by Heinze for oboe, viola and cello. Concertmaster Sophie Till, along with John Vaida, Amy Iwazumi and Christiane Appenheimer-Vaida, will perform Elgar’s "String Quartet in E minor," and Ed Wargo, Jeffrey Ellenberger and Martha McAdams will perform Reger’s "Serenade in G major" for flute, violin and viola.

The Bach Festival concludes with a choral concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 24, in Covenant Presbyterian Church in Scranton. The program includes Bach’s "Cantata 21 Ich Hatte Viel Bekümmernis/I Had Much Trouble" and Haydn’s "Paukenmesse." The works on the program progress through suffering and doubt to hope, redemption and joy. As the name implies, in Haydn’s mass the timpani (“Pauken” in German) figure prominently, as do the trumpets. Featured soloists for the performance are Martina Barna, Kathy Brink, Lauren Cuccia, Christopher Gallo, Susan Minsavage, Alene Olsommer, Wes Poole, guest soprano Jennifer Cowgill and guest alto Ellen Rutkowski.

Admission for the Chamber Music and Choral Concerts is $15 ($12 for seniors and WVIA members). Students will be admitted free with a student ID. Admission to the Organ Concert is free (free-will offerings will be accepted).

The Bach Festival is supported in part 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 Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

The Arcadia Chorale is one of northeast Pennsylvania’s premier musical organizations and has served the region with choral concerts of the highest quality for 40 years. The Chorale has received critical acclaim for performances of works ranging from the Renaissance to the present. The music director of the Chorale is Steven Thomas, who is chair of the division of performing arts, director of choral activities and professor of music at Wilkes University.

For more information regarding the Arcadia Chorale, to reserve tickets or to order a copy of the Chorale’s CD, please visit www.arcadiachorale.org or contact the Chorale office at 570-871-0350. Parking information and directions are also available on the website, as is information about the Chorale’s spring Pops Concert on Friday, May 3.

2019 arcadia chorale bach festival poster