Poster Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach at the organ.
Wikimedia Commons

Join us Saturday for Before Bach's Birthday Bash

Bach's birthday comes around every year on March 21. The occasion calls out for a celebration of this most remarkable of musical talents, and Minnesota Public Radio's Michael Barone (host of Pipedreams) decided that Johann Sebastian Bach deserved something special. A number of years ago, he and colleagues from the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists arranged a Bach's Birthday Bash, and the idea blossomed.

When Bach's birthday doesn't fall on a Saturday, the celebration is held early and becomes Before Bach's Birthday Bash! This year's activities feature five free hourlong public concerts of Bach's music, presented at five St. Paul churches during the morning and afternoon of Saturday, March 17, 2018. BBBB events have become something of a local tradition, with enthusiasts from all parts of the state participating or just listening.

What initially were concerts only of Bach organ works now have branched out to include other instruments. This year, Bach's compositions for lute, flute, violin and cello, with solo and accompanying keyboard (piano), are included in the mix. TCAGO performers from the Twin Cities area will be joined by a bevy of young performers.

You're invited to be part of the throng on Saturday, March 17 for preludes and fugues, chorale settings, dance suites and variations, partitas and trio sonatas. We start with a live 9 a.m. Classical MPR broadcast from Olivet Congregational Church (1859 Igelhart Ave., St. Paul), which you can hear on KSJN-99.5FM and live-streamed online.

We'll work our way around St. Paul: 10:30 a.m. at St. Mark Catholic Church (1976 Dayton Avenue), 1 p.m. at St. Clement's Episcopal Church (901 Portland Avenue, at Milton), 2:30 p.m. at St. Paul's United Church of Christ (900 Summit Avenue), and 4 p.m. at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church (797 Summit Avenue).

Click here for complete details and program notes!

I hope you can join us — on the radio or, better, in the audience!

Only the 9 a.m. morning program will be broadcast, but all events are free admission.

For more information, email Michael Barone.

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