Join us Saturday for Before Bach's Birthday Bash in St. Paul

Johann Sebastian Bach, at 61, in a portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann.Public Domain

March 04, 2019

Before Bach's Birthday Bash
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, March 16, 2019.
Where: Venues and churches on or near Summit Avenue, St. Paul.
Cost: Free.
More: Complete program details and notes.

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. BBBB events have become something of a local tradition, with enthusiasts from all parts of the state participating or just listening.

This year's activities feature five free hourlong public concerts of Bach's music, presented at five venues and churches on or near Summit Avenue during the morning and afternoon of Saturday, March 16, 2019. All concerts are family-friendly and free!

Co-sponsors include the Twin Cities Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Bach Society of Minnesota, National Lutheran Choir, St. Paul Conservatory of Music, University of Minnesota School of Music, and Classical Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media.

We start with a live 9 a.m. Classical MPR broadcast from the St. Paul Center for Art and Innovation (1524 Summit Avenue, St. Paul), which you can hear on KSJN 99.5 FM in the Twin Cities and live-streamed online at

We'll then work our way around St. Paul: 10:30 a.m. at St. Thomas Moore Church (at Summit and Lexington Avenues), 1 p.m. at St. Clement's Episcopal Church (901 Portland Ave.), 2:30 p.m. at Unity Unitarian Church (732 Holly Ave.), and 4 p.m. at House of Hope Presbyterian Church (797 Summit Ave.).

Complete program details and notes

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

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

For more information, email Michael Barone.