The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and the Bach Festival Orchestra present our annual tradition, offering music that celebrates the season of Advent and Christmas. Please join us as we celebrate the miracle and joy of Christmas through these seasonal pieces by J.S. Bach and Ottorino Respighi. Soloists: Ellen McAteer, soprano Fiona Gillespie, soprano Daniel Taylor, countertenor Charles Blandy, tenor Christopheren Nomura, baritone J.S. Bach: Cantata 36 Schwingt freudig euch empor – (Soar joyfully aloft), composed for the first Sunday of Advent, this piece includes an exquisite lullaby for soprano accompanied by muted violin. Cantata 63 Christen, ätzet diesen Tag – (Christians all, this happy day) Brilliant and celebratory with four trumpets, Bach composed this piece for the Christmas Day service in 1723. Ottorino Respighi: Laud to the Nativity – Violinist, composer and musicologist, Respighi’s compositions paint vivid pictures of the places or images that inspired them. Renaissance motifs in this piece tell the story of Jesus’ birth, scored for the brilliant woodwind players of The Bach Festival Orchestra, plus solo parts for the Angel, the Virgin Mary and the Shepherd. The Bach Choir gives voice to the Angels and Shepherds; orchestration includes two flutes, oboe, English horn, two bassoons, triangle and piano four-hands.