Orchestra Of St. Luke's To Bring Bach To Saratoga Springs Friday

Dec 7, 2017

Saratoga Performing Arts Center is kicking off the holiday season with a set of special performances Friday night. But as WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports, the music will be not played on SPAC grounds.

Inside Bethesda Episcopal Church in Saratoga Springs, church music director Farrell Gehring is changing his shoes.

“They’re like gloves and they’re tight and not the kind of shoes that you’re able to walk outside with.”

That’s because they’re not made for walking, but for playing.

“Like I said, this organ is pretty loud, so if I were to be playing full blast…”

The Bethesda Church’s organ will lend a hand on Friday night, as Saratoga Performing Arts Center will present an evening of Johann Sebastian Bach.

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. SPAC President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol said audience members will hear six instrumental works. 

“There’s going to be a lot of instruments popping out as soloing instruments,” said Sobol. “Very virtuosic music. Bach was actually pioneering a lot of form when he was writing these concertos. But they’re very festive, they’re very virtuosic. Very uplifting.”

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s plays around 80 concerts a year at well-known venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

Gehring is not performing with the orchestra, but agreed to play me a little Bach on the organ.

He says he has a soft spot for Bach’s music and that the organ is made to handle the German giant’s style.

“Sometimes in Bach you would be required to do a scale … like that, rather than…so that’s the difference. So an organist would prefer to have an organ like this that has a little more chiff…like that. And that’s what makes Bach more interesting.”

After Sobol joined SPAC in 2016, she began bringing performances outside of the famed grounds during the off-season.

“I knew that I wanted to change SPAC into a year-round presenting organization. And so we’ve begun to do that.”

The performance at Bethesda Church follows SPAC-sponsored events at the Spa Little Theater in Saratoga Spa State Park and also a partnership with historic folk music venue Caffe Lena downtown.

For more information visit: http://www.spac.org/events/2017/12/08/orchestra-st-lukes