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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Bach Festival rounds out 92nd season with ‘Invention No. 3’

Student group performances, masterclasses, final performances close out Third Invention
The+intermission+of+the+St+John%E2%80%99s+Passion+on+Sunday+performed+by+Motet+Choir+and+BWV%3A+Cleveland%E2%80%99s+Bach+Choir.
Ryan Acevedo
The intermission of the St John’s Passion on Sunday performed by Motet Choir and BWV: Cleveland’s Bach Choir.

Coming close to the end of the semester, the Conservatory of Performing Arts hosted its 92nd annual Bach Festival’s Third Invention, marking the end of the year’s festivities.

The third invention that spanned April 12-14, featured performances from Star Machine and BW Beatles, presentations from the Bach Library, masterclasses and the closing ceremony with the performance of Bach’s “St. John Passion.”

As an opening to the Sunday performance, the BW Brass Choir performed atop the bell tower and out front of the Boesel Musical Arts Center.

“It felt good,” said Ricky Yoder, a third-year horn performance student. “We wish Brass Choir had their own concert because we’re almost like a level below everything else.”

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Alongside the classical repertoire being performed, various student groups performed their works for the spectators. One such group was the cast of Star Machine.

Star Machine is a musical written by two brothers, Gideon Temple, a junior music theater directing student and Hank Temple, a second-year music composition student. The musical highlights the struggles of finding work in the music industry and battling the system of commerce. The brothers, alongside orchestrator Chase Kessler and the cast of Star Machine, performed snippets of the musical during all three days of the Bach Festival.

Initially pitched to Susan Van Vorst, the dean of the conservatory of performing arts, the concept of performing Star Machine was quickly brought to the attention of Garner.

“We went and met with Dr. Garner after our meeting with Dean Van Vorst, and he was just as enthusiastic as possible about giving us the opportunity to perform,” Gideon Temple said. “He came up with the whole idea for us to perform at the Sunday brunch as well as the two interlude sets in the BMAC lobby.”

The experience not only provided publicity for the performers, but the Temple brothers also said that it served as a good learning experience for the cast and crew.

“It was a thrilling time for our cast and to have so much support from faculty and students,” Temple said. “It was definitely a great practice for our band and our singers to kind of get prepared for the staged concert at ovation.”

The Motet Choir and BWV: Cleveland’s Bach Choir performed “St. John Passion,” a Bach piece that tells the events of the betrayal, trial and death of Jesus Christ to round out the weekend.

Not only was this an opportunity for vocal performance students to perform a Bach piece, but it also gave instrumentalists a chance to play a highly regarded repertoire, said Declan Messner, a third-year bassoonist.

“It was amazing,” Messner said. “I loved every second of it. Yes, I rested a lot, but it is still a lot of playing because I played the continuum part.”

Messner said watching the story take place added to the performance.

“Being able to sit there and be able to see how the story is going on, it was awesome,” Messner said.

However, “Saint John Passion” has raised some controversy due to its presentation of the Jewish people.

Dirk Garner, the artistic director of Bach Festival, responded to the concerns of the controversy in the event’s program.

“As our world changes and we change, our understanding of and relationship to art and culture develop,” Garner said in the program. “We don’t perform music as we did in 1937 and we have experiences now that we didn’t have then musically, socially and politically.”

In an effort to address the antisemitic issues presented within the piece, Garner and his students in Motet have discussed ways of representing the issues in the performance.

“We respond to ‘problematic’ texts in a variety of ways depending on their musical and dramatic context,” Garner said in the program.

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