(3/28) Music Gettysburg! will present the deeply moving St. John Passion by Johan Sebastian Bach on Sunday, April 5th, at 4p.m. at the Gettysburg Seminary Chapel.
The Passion brings together distinguished vocal soloists, chorus, and members of the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra. The chorus for the requiem is a combination of the 30 voice Schola Cantorum of Gettysburg. Both the chorus and orchestra will perform under the direction of the director of the Schola Cantorum, the Rev. Dr.
Stephen P. Folkemer, Associate Professor of Church Music and Cantor for the Lutheran Theological Seminary.
Mark Oldenburg, chair of Music, Gettysburg!, said that the audience will hear in this Passion "one of the great masterworks of Western music. But in it we see and hear a way that an earlier generation of Christians encountered the story of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ as the central story of the Western world."
Oldenburg continued "With the possible exception of his own St. Matthew Passion, Bach’s St. John Passion is the most powerful musical telling of the story. It is remarkable both for its musical effects, and also for the interweaving of the Biblical narrative with reflective solos and choral settings of hymns, constantly bringing the narrative into
the lives of the listeners and hearers."
Leading the soloists for the great musical work will be tenor Jeffrey Fahnestock in the demanding role of the Evangelist. Joining him is alto Sarah Daughtrey of Elizabethtown College, soprano Susan Hochmiller of Gettysburg College’s Sundermann Conservatory, and base voices Steven Swartzbaugh and James Watson.
One of the Mid-Atlantic region’s finest tenors, Jeffrey Fahnestock maintains a busy performance schedule in addition to teaching voice, vocal literature, and diction at Gettysburg College and Susquehanna University. A native of central Pennsylvania, Fahnestock is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and The Peabody
Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. He was awarded Fellowships for the study of art song and opera at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, and Blossom Music Festivals. A familiar voice for Music, Gettysburg! audiences, Fahnestock has appeared as a soloist across the United States with such groups as the Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Folger Consort,
Tulsa Oratorio Chorus, Washington Bach Consort, Waukegan Symphony, Rochester Bach Festival, and ClassicFest (Pensacola). As an operatic soloist, he has performed more than a dozen roles with Opera Theatre of Rochester, Harrisburg Opera, Prince George's Opera, Opera Vivente, and at the Aspen Music Festival.
Support for the extraordinary production has come from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, the Gerald and Carol Christianson Fund, David and Jane English, and regular seasonal supporters of Music, Gettysburg!. Oldenburg, who is also the Steck-Miller Professor of the Art of Worship and a chorister in the Schola
Cantorum, said "Music, Gettysburg! is delighted to take on a larger scale production such as the Johannes-Passion for the sake of its loyal, appreciative and supportive audiences."
Music, Gettysburg! is a premier free concert series featuring the finest regional, national and international musicians for Central Pennsylvania audiences. There are no tickets for this performance. Concerts are open to the public and hosted at the chapel of the Gettysburg Seminary, 147 Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg. For
more information about this and other concerts remaining in the Music, Gettysburg! schedule, please call 717-338-3000 ext 2197 or visit the web site at www.musicgettysburg.org .