Story last updated at 12/3/2008 - 2:02 pm
JUNEAU - The Juneau Bach Society's Christmas concert brings together more than 80 local musicians to perform one of Johann Sebastian Bach's finest choral pieces, the Magnificat.
Director Bruce Simonson believes that being able to put together a concert of this magnitude is testament to the "miracle community of Juneau" and above all, the strength of the town's music teachers.
"It speaks to this town that there are really good teachers out there who are motivating students to be involved," he said. "(At this concert,) I really want to honor teachers of music. I'm going to encourage people to think of the music teachers in their lives."
Simonson is issuing a special invitation to area music teachers to come to the Dec. 6 concert at 8 p.m. They will receive complimentary tickets and special recognition, and there will be a reception following the concert.
The first half of the program consists of Handel's Royal Fireworks and Bach's Cantata 192, which will allow audiences to contrast dances by two different Baroque period composers. Bach's Magnificat, based on the well-known hymn "Now Thank We All Our God," will be performed during the second half of the program.
"It's a wonderful thing to compare the music of Handel and Bach in the same concert," Simonson said. "(The pieces are) all Baroque but they drink from different wells, I think."
The concert will feature the Alaska Youth Choir and soloists of all ages, including three 13-year-olds and three high schoolers.
"It tickles me a lot," Simonson said. "It's very satisfying to be able to involve all age groups in this, especially in the Cantata when the youth choir is surrounded by all the sound. Hopefully this is the sound the youth choir will take with them all their lives."
Featured soloists on the program will include Tiffany Hanson, Philippe Damerval, Kathleen Wayne, Wendy Byrnes, Monica Yost, Mark Bautista, Brett Crawford, Cheryl Crawford, Marie Petersen, Hannah Cordle and Sam Kurland.
Simonson hopes many of the performers will have their teachers in the audience. When remembering teachers that have influenced him, he thinks of his mother, who taught church choir, and his piano teacher, Mrs. Brooks. More recently, though, he is thankful for local conductors Kyle Pickett and Todd Hunt, whom he said he has learned a lot from.
"It's interesting to be in groups and watch how people work and figure stuff out," he said. "It's just an awesome privilege."
The Juneau Bach Society will perform Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. at Northern Light United Church. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Tickets are available at Hearthside Books and at the door.