Widely respected for its outstanding performances, the BACH SOCIETY OF SAINT LOUIS CHORUS has been labeled as “right up there with the best this city has to offer.” Audiences have come to expect musical excellence and passion from our concerts. Concerts usually include a fully professional orchestra and professional soloists who come from across the country to perform with the Chorus.
You can click here to find what the organization brings to the community other than performances of great music.
To see information about Chorus Auditions please click here.
The BACH SOCIETY CHORUS is an annually auditioned group of 60 experienced singers committed to artistic excellence in the performance of major choral and choral-orchestral masterpieces, notably the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. The Chorus includes exceptional volunteer singers joined by a core of paid professional choral singers. The Bach Society of Saint Louis also sponsors a Young Artist scholarship program for aspiring soloists under the age of thirty.
A recent survey revealed the following pertinent information about the members of the Chorus:
· 90% have played a musical instrument
· 98% have taken private voice lessons
· 41% continue to study voice privately
· 46% have one or more college degrees in music
· 49% also sing in a church choir
· 73% socialize with fellow chorus members
· 93% develop new friendships with members of the chorus
To see a list of current CHORUS MEMBERS please click here.
Here's what they say:
I am really enjoying my first season singing with the Bach Society. It seems like everyone is such a “family” and I have been welcomed so readily by so many. What an unexpected treat!!
I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two seasons singing with the Bach Society Chorus!
I look forward to Monday nights each and every week.
I joined expecting to sing great music, [and] have found chorus members to be among the most delightful people I've ever met.
Every Monday, I leave work thinking “I just can't make it through rehearsal tonight…I am SO tired,” but I KNOW that once I get there, the troubles of the day will melt away and the beautiful sounds around me (and the wonderfully quirky, fun, exciting personalities) make all the troubles in my mind subside. I am uplifted. I am rejuvenated. And I am invigorated to the point where I cannot get to sleep for a good hour after I get home. I LOVE singing with this choir.
The BACH SOCIETY CHORUS repertoire includes a wide variety of choral music in six categories, for example:
· Major Works for Chorus and Orchestra by Bach
Mass in B minor, St. Matthew Passion, St. John Passion, Magnificat
· Major Works for Chorus and Orchestra by Other Composers
Requiems: Mozart, Duruflé, Fauré, Brahms
Masses: Haydn, Beethoven, Berlioz
Oratorios: Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams
· Major a cappella Works
Rachmaninoff's Vespers, Vaughan Williams' Mass in G minor,
Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir, Herbert Howells' Requiem
· Significant Motets
Barber's Agnus Dei (Adagio for Strings), Caldara's Crucifixus (16 parts), Tallis' Spem in Alium (40 parts), Healey Willan's An Apostrophe to the Heavenly Host
Berlioz' Messe Solennelle (St. Louis), Handel's rediscovered Gloria (St. Louis), Srul Irving Glick's Triumph of the Spirit (U.S.)
· Commissioned Works
Stephen Mager's The Lamb's High Feast, Mass of Light, Stephen Paulus' To the Supreme Being, René Clausen's My Heart Is Steadfast
The BACH SOCIETY CHORUS performs in venues selected for their exceptional acoustical properties and architectural beauty, and all are disabled accessible. The annual Christmas Candlelight Concert, which sold out 2,700 seats last year is presented at Powell Symphony Hall. Other notable venues include St. Francis Xavier (College) Church, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, and The Shrine of St. Joseph. Dress rehearsals are always scheduled at the concert venue unless otherwise noted.
Rehearsals are held from late August to April on Monday evenings, 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the Great Hall at the Church of St. Michael and St. George, 6345 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton, MO 63105. Enter by the door for the St. Michael School at the far west side. Click here for a complete rehearsal and performance schedule in PDF format.
Auditions are scheduled by calling the Bach Society of Saint Louis office at (314) 652-BACH. The audition information sheet can be downloaded from this website and completed prior to the audition.
We look for choral singers who read well, blend easily with other voices, and sing with good intonation. Prospective members will have had private study in an instrument as well as voice, and be experienced in choral singing.
A potential chorus member is expected to be
· Experienced in choral singing
· Competent in reading music
· Above average in sight reading skills
· Experienced in singing in Latin and German
· Able to blend easily with other voices
· A good listener who sings with good intonation
The fifteen-minute audition will include
· A prepared solo no longer than 4 minutes (accompanist provided)
· Sight reading and tonal memory
· An evaluation of vocal characteristics
Each chorus member accepts a commitment to
· Come prepared to each rehearsal
· Attend all rehearsals and performances
· Participate for the entire season
Singers are encouraged to become members of the Bach Society of Saint Louis; membership levels begin at $50.
Attendance Policy: Chorus members accept a commitment to attend all rehearsals, sectionals, dress rehearsals and performances. Members sign in at each rehearsal. A member will not be allowed to perform in a concert if he/she misses
- three rehearsals during a preparation period,
- two consecutive rehearsals immediately prior to a concert, or
- the dress rehearsal.
Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the conductor.
Snow/Ice Policy: Our membership comes from a broad region with differing weather conditions, so each member must make a personal decision in inclement weather. When conditions merit a cancelled rehearsal, an email will be sent to the chorus list.
When an absence is unavoidable the conductor (not the office) should be notified, preferably in advance:
Concert Absence: A member unable to perform in a concert must notify the conductor in writing, including the reason for the absence, at the earliest opportunity. For a last-minute illness or emergency, call the conductor. A member who fails to notify the conductor will be dropped from the roster.
Formal Concert Attire: No cell phones, alarm watches, or pagers. No cologne or perfume.
Men: Black tuxedo with white tux shirt and black bow tie; black shoes and socks. Coat buttoned when standing.
Women: A floor-length all-black dress; long sleeve or short sleeve but not sleeveless or bare shoulders. No velvet or sequins. Palazzo pants (not slacks) and black blouse acceptable; black hose; black flats or low heels; small earrings and necklace permitted. No jewelry that jingles!
It should noted that “dress rehearsals” do not require formal attire. On occasions when the Chorus will perform in anything other than formal attire (e.g., the annual From the Garden Live broadcast) advance notice will be given.
Music: Music is generally provided on loan from the Bach Society library; mark loaned music in pencil only! Music is available from the librarian before rehearsal only.
Tickets: Chorus members are encouraged to assist with ticket sales, and may purchase subscriptions orindividual tickets at a discount.