Thursday, June 6, 2013

Peoria Bach Festival

What a treat for our ears and our souls!  Stop # 17 on our summer tour was Peoria's annual city-wide celebration of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, The Peoria Bach Festival.  We have wanted to attend for years but this is the first time it has fit into our travel schedule!

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Peoria is the location of the concerts and assists the local Bach Festival Association in sponsoring them.  The Festival lasts eight days and on many days offers a noon concert as well as an evening concert. 

The Festival features a variety of artists and musical groups who all perform some of the music of  J. S. Bach or other composers who were influenced by him.  We thoroughly enjoyed a concert on the viola da gamba, a Baroque-era instrument we were not very familiar with.  It resembles a modern cello but is shaped more like a guitar, and the sound is gentle and soothing.

Dr. Phillip Serna

An evening concert featured the group New Comma Baroque which included the viola da gamba, as well as baroque-style violin, viola and flute, recorder, and harpsichord.  It was gorgeous.

The New Comma Baroque

Another afternoon we attended the Young Artist's concert.  Organ, piano, cello, viola and voice solos were offered by youth from grade school through high school ages.

This cello ensemble was especially impressive.
The organ concert was especially magnificent.  The setting of the organ, as in many European churches, is in the choir loft behind and above the pews where the congregation sits.
The window above the loft is awesome.
The pipe organ was an exceptional instrument with vast varieties of sound and volume.
The organist, Dr. Janette Fishell, is Chair of the Organ Department at the Jacobs School of Music of the Indiana University.
Dr. Janette Fishell
In this view, she almost disappears in the brilliance of the window.  Her music, however, made everything else disappear for an hour or so.  It was an artistic and spiritual experience!
What a pleasure it was for us to be wrapped in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach for four days.  We hope that next year we can be in Peoria for the entire Bach Festival.