Wilmington Bach Festival


The Choir School of Delaware is pleased to announce the inaugural Wilmington Bach Festival, Wilmington’s newest classical music festival, May 12 and 13. This collaboration between the Choir School and the Delaware Historical Society features three concerts in the 1798 Old Town Hall, in the middle of Wilmington’s historic downtown.


Come be inspired by the music of Bach in one of Wilmington’s most impressive spaces,” says Arreon Harley, Director of Music and Operations, the Choir School.


Pre-concert Lecture by Brenton Grom | Advent of an Old Master: the (Very) Short History of Bach in Wilmington

Friday, May 12, 2017, 6:30pm
Old Town Hall

Immanuel Bach Consort | Cantatas from Advent to Easter

Gary Harney, Director
Friday, May 12, 2017, 7pm
Old Town Hall

The Immanuel Bach Consort (IBC) is a professional early music ensemble resident at Immanuel Church on the Green, in historic New Castle, Delaware.  Founded by Gary Harney, IBC focuses on the church cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, singing from editions prepared especially for the ensemble.  It is especially appropriate that such a group be resident at Immanuel, since Bach’s cantatas date from the earliest days of the parish, which was founded in 1689, with the first building begun in 1703.

IBC includes 8 singers, Baroque violin, Baroque flute, Baroque cello, and harpsichord.  Programs typically include Bach cantatas which have been reduced for that combination.  This approach enhances the chamber quality of many of these works.  A key goal of IBC is to provide conductors with editions which present the essence of Bach’s works without requiring the use of the orchestra Bach would have had at his disposal, but which few churches today can employ. The resulting scores are available free of charge for downloading and copying from the IBC website (http://www.immanuelbachconsort.org).

Dr. Lawrence Stomberg | Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello

Saturday, May 13, 2017, 4 pm
Old Town Hall

Hailed in Strings Magazine for “style and elegance” “lyrical expressiveness,” and “drama and rhetoric”, Lawrence Stomberg enjoys a wide-ranging career as soloist, chamber musician and pedagogue. In addition to his work as cellist of the acclaimed Serafin String Quartet, performing with them throughout the United States, recent seasons as soloist and collaborator have brought him to venues across four continents, performing as soloist and collaborator in London, Vienna, Bogotá, and Wuhan, China, as well as cities and towns across the United States. A champion of new music, he has recently premiered British composer David Osbon’s Cello Sonata and given an early performance of a co-commissioned concerto by British-American composer Richard Prior. His discography includes recordings for the Naxos, Centaur, Ravello, and VAI labels, receiving rave reviews in Gramophone and Fanfare magazines and the American Record Guide.

He is currently Professor of Cello at the University of Delaware, and lives in Wilmington, Delaware with his wife, cellist Jennifer Crowell Stomberg, and their three children.

Mr. Stomberg plays a School of Testore cello, circa 1727, obtained with the generous assistance of Dr. William Stegeman.

The Choir School of Delaware | Das ist Wohlgetan! Cantatas BWV 170 and 99 with Baroque Orchestra.

Arreon Harley, Director of Music and Operations
John Walthausen, Assistant Director and Accompanist
Saturday, May 13, 7pm
Old Town Hall

The Choir School of Delaware (CCSD) has a strong legacy of serving and engaging Wilmington’s youth and families through music.  The Choir School provides a life changing experience for at-risk children ages 7-17 in the greater Wilmington, Delaware area.

Historically known as the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware (CCSD) initially began as a community outreach program at the Cathedral Church of Saint John in Wilmington’s Brandywine Village neighborhood.  Celebrating a long tradition, the Choir School of Delaware has been training young choristers for 130 years.  In the 1990’s, neighborhood children found the green and open Cathedral Keep a refuge from the increasingly crowded streets surrounding it.  In 1996 the Choir School was formed under a local 501(c)(3) organization named Cathedral Community Services, Inc. whose mission was to improve the quality of life in the Brandywine Village. In 2005, the Choir School was recognized as one of the best after-school programs in the nation as a recipient of the Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s committee on the Arts and Humanities. In 2006, the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware became its own entity and added a mentoring and academic support component to the after-school music program. CCSD’s music and mentoring activities support our students’ academic and individual needs during the critical after-school hours.

We Harmonize Life & Learning with the belief that a rich offering of academic support and mentoring is amplified by the power of music.  CCSD currently averages about 40 performances each school year, singing publicly each week throughout Delaware and Philadelphia.  CCSD is invited to sing at community events, private functions, houses of worship and schools; CCSD also performs concerts in the Greater Wilmington region.

All ticket proceeds will benefit the Choir School of Delaware in its continued mission of serving Wilmington’s youth through music and mentoring. Special Bach Festival Passes are available- all three concerts for $60 or Saturday afternoon and evening concerts for $45.

Festival ticket holders are invited to enjoy a 15% discount off their meal on May 12 or 13 at La Fia, Merchant Bar, Cocina Lola, Chelsea Tavern, or Ernest & Scott Taproom.

Wilmington Bach Festival Day of Education

On May 15, 2017, the Choir School and the Delaware Historical Society will be collaborating on a Day of Education for students of local elementary and middle schools in the Red Clay and Brandywine school districts. Students will attend workshops introducing them to the music of Bach, his historical context, and the art and dance of his time.

Workshops will include:

  • An demonstration of trumpets from prehistory through the baroque period to jazz  by Dr. Elisa Koehler of Goucher College
  • A presentation on Delaware history in the time of Bach by educators of the Delaware Historical Society. Educators will present artifacts from Swedish settlements of the 17th century. 
  • An introduction to baroque art by Barbara Selby and Trina Gardner of the Howard Pyle Art Studio.
  • A tour of the Collections of the Delaware Historical Society.