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BACH VESPERS AT HOLY TRINITY ANNOUNCES
SERIES OF VIRTUAL MUSICAL OFFERINGS FOR START OF 53RD SEASON
Diane Meredith Belcher takes helm as curator of iconic Early Music series
New York, New York – September 9, 2020: Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity will offer a series of monthly virtual vespers services beginning in October, marking the start of the venerable Early Music program’s 53rd season. Diane Meredith Belcher – recently named as Music Director at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity – will curate the video series, which will be made available to longtime supporters and publicly accessible on Holy Trinity’s YouTube channel and church website.
“People are looking for calm and peace in these turbulent times,” said Ms. Belcher. “Bach Vespers has always offered a respite to New Yorkers, and we are pleased that even during a pandemic, we can still share the glories of Johann Sebastian Bach through a safe and inspiring virtual vespers experience.”
As part of the music outreach ministry of Holy Trinity, Bach Vespers presents the cantatas and motets of J.S. Bach in the liturgical environment for which they were originally written, a service of Christian worship. Reverend Timothy Weisman – called to serve as Holy Trinity’s 15th pastor in March 2020 – will officiate at each virtual service.
“While we look forward to the time when we can once again gather in person, we are excited to assemble our faithful Bach Vespers community virtually for an intimate service of word and music,” said Rev. Weisman.
The ancient order of Vespers is an evening prayer service that is part of the Christian liturgy. Holy Trinity is widely known for its Bach Vespers series – begun in 1968 by then-organist John Weaver – the first instance in America where the cantatas of Bach could be heard on their appointed day in the context of the liturgical calendar. Cantatas, as well as other appropriate music, are performed by some of New York’s finest Bach specialists from late Fall through Easter.
For the 53rd season, musical selections have been chosen to assure that musicians can maintain proper social distancing while performing. Each “Virtual Vespers” service will include a Bach organ prelude by Ms. Belcher, a Bach cantata, a homily by Rev. Weisman and a Bach organ postlude.
The opening service of the season – available online Sunday, October 25 at 5:00 PM – will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s sacred Cantata BWV 29, Wir danken dir Gott, wir danken dir (We thank you, God, we thank you) composed in Leipzig in 1731. Instrumentalists and vocalists will be placed throughout the Holy Trinity sanctuary and nave, affording the audience sweeping views of the century-old church’s exquisite architecture and interior details. Ms. Belcher will offer a brief interpretive commentary at the start of the cantata.
The series continues with Cantata BWV 51 Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen on November 15, followed by Bach’s Magnificat on December 6, a perennial favorite of the Advent season. The Christmas and Epiphany season will be announced at a later date.
About Bach Vespers
Bach Vespers is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity – located at 3 W. 65th Street and Central Park West in New York City. Services take place Sundays at 5pm between October and April. A complete schedule of music for the Fall/Winter session of the 53rd season is available at www.holytrinitynyc.org