It’s probably no coincidence that right around the time of Bach’s birthday there should be a number of great concerts for chorus and orchestra. The next two weekends should please fans of choral masterworks. The Bay Choral Guild, the San Jose Symphonic Choir, Masterworks Chorale, and the California Symphony (with special guest singers, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Chorus) all have big concerts in the coming days.

This weekend, the Bay Choral Guild performs Bach’s St. John Passion, with Artistic Director Sanford Dole leading them and accompanied by the period instrument ensemble, the Jubilate Orchestra. The concerts are in Campbell on Friday night at the Campbell United Methodist Church, Saturday night at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco, and Sunday at 6 at the First United Methodist Church in Palo Alto. The Masterworks Chorale’s program in Redwood City’s Messiah Lutheran Church on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon is built around Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. A work written for the changing of the millennia, and first performed in 2000, it was dedicated to the victims of the war in Kosovo, and written in the hope that the 21st Century and new millennium might be less violent than those that had come before. Also on that program Jake Runestad’s We Can Mend the Sky and the choral version of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings. The combined forces of the California Symphony and the Conservatory’s Chorus – as well as the combined conducting forces of Donato Cabrera and Ragnar Bohlin – present Mozart’s Requiem at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The program also includes Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, and Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum. Finally, the following weekend, on the afternoon of Sunday, March 25, Leroy Kromm will lead the San Jose Symphonic Choir along with the San Jose Baroque Orchestra in Bach’s towering Mass in B Minor, with the performance at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Saratoga.

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