Renee James

Bethlehem, PA

Why do we do it?

The atmosphere was convivial and relaxed. Members of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and artistic director and conductor Greg Funfgeld had just concluded a morning program at two schools, where they introduced students to chamber music and the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach in our Bach to School program. The students were engaged and attentive. The program was a great success, as our interactions with students often are. A casual diner lunch to cap off the educational outreach that means so much to the Choir was the perfect way to end their day together.

Or so it seemed until an individual approached them with a surprising request. Noticing their shirts, she asked if they were vocalists. Greg confirmed they were and she responded with the following: “My family and I just came from our mother’s funeral. It would mean so much to us if you would sing for us. Would that be okay?”

With full hearts, our giving and supportive Choir members were honored to offer “World Farewell,” and share the comfort that piece brings to those who hear it, as they remember those they have lost. With sincere thanks, the family felt the comfort that only voices raised in song can offer.

From a nearby dining room, a small group emerged. All of them were hospice caregivers who also felt the love and comfort of the song and the emotions it helps people feel. They, too, thanked the Choir for the moment of beauty they offered.

Why do we do it?

Why does our volunteer choir and our small but passionate staff dedicate so much and feel so strongly about the mission of The Bach Choir? The performances are highlights; the support is lovely; the pride we take in our organization is without measure.

All rewarding; all worthy. But still – is that why we do it?

Yes, partly. But it’s more often those moments of comfort, peace, sustenance and inspiration. They part of every note we sing and every note we play: the healing, refreshment, and joy that music and music alone offers.