The Mission of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem is to perform the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, to promote and encourage appreciation of the aesthetic and spiritual value of Bach s music through education and performance, including performances of works by composers who influenced Bach or were influenced by him, and to strive for the highest standards of musical excellence. We are the oldest American Bach Choir, performing the first American performances of The Mass in B Minor and The Christmas Oratorio. Since its founding in 1898, the now-famous Choir has been attracting thousands of national and international visitors every May to its annual Bethlehem Bach Festival Under Greg Funfgeld s passionate direction, 100 volunteer members sing not only with traditional Bach Choir dedication and enthusiasm, but also with a new level of musicianship and understanding of Bach s choral universe. Today s performances feature the finely-honed vocal ensemble, a fully professional orchestra, and world-renowned soloists. The repertoire includes 133 cantatas, all of the motets, and 15 of Bach s larger works. During the past decade The Choir has received critical acclaim for performances at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, the Herkulessaal at Munich s Royal Residence, The Kennedy Center in Washington, and Carnegie Hall in New York, as well as for its recordings on the Dorian label. The Choir toured the United Kingdom in July, 2003, including a performance for the prestigious BBC Proms in London s Royal Albert Hall. In May 2007 The Choir celebrated its 100th Festival. The Choir has presented its outstanding Bach to School program to nearly 70, 000 children. Other educational programs include the annual Family Concert, a Choral Scholars program for gifted high-school seniors who sing with The Choir for one year, and a Philadelphia High School Bach Weekend The Choir is also one of many organizations worldwide dedicated to the performance of Bach's music. Here is a list of some of the ones we're in touch with. 1898 A group of singers is organized on December 5, 1898 by Ruth Porter Doster to study Bach's Mass in B Minor under the leadership of J. Fred Wolle, organist of the Bethlehem Moravian Church, Founder and first Conductor of The Bach Choir Ralph R. Hillman is elected first President of The Choir and Ruth Doster, Secretary. 1900 The Bach Choir presents the first American performance of The Mass in B Minor under Wolle's direction at the 1st Bach Festival on March 27, 1900 in the Moravian Church. The performance commemorates the 150th anniversary of Bach's death. The Moravian Trombone Choir establishes the tradition of playing Bach chorales from the belfry of the church. 1905 The Bach Choir disbands when Wolle accepts a professorship at the University of California at Berkeley.