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German Sister City Delegation Visits Bethlehem, to Attend Musikfest's Bach Choir Performance | WDIY Local News

The Marktplatz in Schwäbisch Gmünd.
William Schlemmer
CC BY 3.0, Via Wikimedia Commons
The Marktplatz in Schwäbisch Gmünd.

This year’s Musikfest celebrations will include a visit with delegates from on of Bethlehem’s sister cities.

ArtsQuest recently announced that a contingent from the German city of Schwäbisch-Gmünd has arrived in Bethlehem to participate in this year’s edition of Musikfest.

According to a release, the Mayor of Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Richard Arnold, and other delegates will attend the Bach Choir of Bethlehem’s performance as part of the Vesper Series at the Central Moravian Church on Aug. 5 at 5 p.m.

Tickets are required, but the performance is a free event.

Schwäbisch-Gmünd has been a sister city of Bethlehem since 1991, and is also connected to Barnsley, United Kingdom; Antibes, France; Székesfehérvár, Hungary; and Faenza, Italy.

Bethlehem also maintains sister city relations with Corfu, Greece; Foiano di Val Fortore, Italy; Murska Sobota, Slovenia; and Tondabayashi, Japan.

The visit also coincides with the music festival’s 40th anniversary, and the 125th anniversary of the Bach Choir, which was formed and founded by the Moravian Church in 1898 and is the oldest American Bach Choir.

According to conductor Dr. Christopher Jackson, the choir’s Musikfest performance will feature renowned soprano Clara Rottsolk for a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Bach-Werke Verzeichnis (BWV) 199, Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut.

The concert will close with Felix Mendelssohn’s Hör mein Bitten (Hear My Prayer), which Jackson called, “a dramatic 10-minute gem for Soprano and Chorus, previewing our special Nov. 4 Saint Matthew Passion later this fall,” and also features works by Brahms and several American composers.

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem will be touring Europe in June 2024, with performances in both Germany and Austria.

In the release Leela Breithaupt, Executive Director of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem, welcomed the German delegation to Bethlehem.

“Our friends from our German sister city have been such wonderful partners,” she said in a statement, “and we look forward to performing in their magnificent gothic cathedral on our June 2024 European Tour!”

This year’s Musikfest will feature over 500 free performances across 16 stages throughout Bethlehem. The festival runs from Aug. 4-13.

(Original air-date: 8/3/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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