Performing to excited audiences in four Northern California venues from April 25-28, ABS and the “standard setting” American Bach Choir, under the direction of Jeffrey Thomas, shone brightly in “Bach’s Legacy,” a program of motets and choral works by Bach and his followers. The concerts attracted music lovers of all kinds, but it was the attendance of so many choristers from the Bay Area and beyond that provided an unexpected pleasure. Scores of singers came out to hear the acclaimed American Bach Choir, an assemblage whose “finesse is a local legend by now” (San Francisco Classical Voice) perform Thomas’s beautiful and challenging program.
The presence of choral singers in the audience was perhaps most obvious at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco. Twenty five young singers of the St. John the Baptist Catholic School Choir (grades 3-8) and twenty seven from the Advanced Choir of Justin-Siena High School formed a sizable delegation from the Napa region at the Sunday performance. The students, attired in their choir uniforms, came by bus, and sat in rapt attention throughout the concert. Afterwards, the young choristers and their director Carmen Flórez-Mansi took photos in the sanctuary. Jeffrey Thomas met with the St. John’s singers and several of them took the opportunity to ask questions and talk with him about music. After the performance, the Justin-Siena group went to a San Francisco restaurant before heading home. The commentary of these young concertgoers on the performance showed their excitement:
“Awesome!” – Beverly Bolen, Grade 3
“Like a recording” – Ezmerelda Tellez, Grade 8
“Unbelievable” – Jocelyn Stojack, Grade 6
The American Bach Choir will appear next during the 5th annual ABS Festival & Academy at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, July 11-20. They will perform in Bach’s Mass in B Minor (July 13 & July 20) and Handel’s oratorio, L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (July 18). The full Festival schedule, passes, and tickets to single events are all available at sfbachfestival.org.