Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Greetings from the Inn at Bethlehem

Ok, not quite: Greetings from the Comfort Suites in Bethlehem, PA. I'm up here with The Bach Choir of Bethlehem for two days of our "Bach to School" educational programs for middle schoolers in the Lehigh Valley.

The kids have been learning about Bach in their classrooms, so they are well-prepared for what they hear in our hour-long program. We do excerpts from cantatas and chamber pieces and demo various instruments. Usually the kids know someone in the choir because we have a few teachers and school principals. Some of them take music lessons. Our conductor, Greg Funfgeld (pictured below in front of the choir), facilitates a lively Q & A with the students.

Big thanks to The Bach Choir for providing a lovely room with a view (pictured below) since tomorrow's first job is at 9 AM in East Stroudsburg, PA -- more than 2 hours from Philly with no traffic. This non-morning person is greatly appreciative of the accommodations much closer to the job. I'm watching TV, taking a bath in the giant whirlpool tub -- two things I can't do in my Philly studio apartment -- and also transcribing a few interviews for you, my dear readers.

"I can see Russia from my house -- on my giant flat-screen TV while I'm in the whirlpool bath!"

In 4th grade, I said I wanted to play the English horn and soprano sax after learning about the instrument families in our rural Central Pennsylvania elementary music class. I did oboe instead because you can't start on English horn; I eventually played alto sax for about 6 years.

Whatever the results of "Bach to School" are as far as long-term audience building for The Bach Choir or classical music, I'm not sure. But if we expose these kids, some from not-so-great homes, to the beauty and majesty of Bach, performed at a true level of excellence, even for an hour? That's not a bad way to spend a day. And you never know who might become a lifelong musician or music lover, if they only had the opportunity to hear it. Maybe there were a few in the audience today.

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