Since 1971 Grace Lutheran Church's Bach Cantata Vespers services have presented the cantatas of J. S. Bach within the context of congregational worship, the setting in which they were originally performed. Other music in the service, the hymn-singing, and preaching are tied into the themes of the cantata. Cantatas are presented one Sunday afternoon each month, from September to May.

Learn more about the series at
Read about the upcoming cantata.


Cantata_JSB.jpgBach Cantatas 2016-17

46th season

The instrumental prelude to the service begins at 3:45pm.
The cantata preview lecture starts at 3pm in the Seminar Room on Grace's lower-level.

September 25

Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren

Praise to the Lord, the mighty king of honor (BWV  137)

Peter W. Marty, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport, Iowa, homilist

Haydn: Concerto for Trumpet in E-flat Major, Hob VIIE:1
Barbara Butler, Rice University, Houston, trumpeter
A reception follows the service.

October 30

Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele

Deck thyself, O dear soul (BWV  180)

Katie Hines-Shah, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Hinsdale, Illinois, homilist

Richard Hoskins, St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church, Chicago, organist

November 20

Gott ist mein König

God is my king (BWV 71)

David R. Lyle, Grace Lutheran Church and School, River Forest, Illinois, homilist

Bach: Concerto for Harpsichord in D Major, BWV 1054
Michael D. Costello, harpsichordist

January 29
Wär Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit

Were God not with us at this time, BWV 14

David J. Lose, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, homilist

Timothy Spelbring, St. Mark Lutheran Church, Mount Prospect, Illinois, organist
Kapelle, Concordia University Chicago, guest choir; Charles P. Brown, director

February 19
Herr Jesus Christ, wahr’ Mensch und Gott

Lord Jesus Christ, true man and God, BWV 127

Jan Rippentrop, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, homilist

Telemann: Concerto for Recorder in C Major, TWV 51:C1
Lisette Kielson, Bloomington, Illinois, recordist

March 19
O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad

O sacred bath of water and the Holy Spirit
, BWV 165
Elizabeth A. Eaton, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, homilist

Steven Wente, Concordia University Chicago, organist

April 8, 7 p.m., and April 9, 4 p.m.
St. John Passion, BWV 245
Admission is free; free-will offering will be received.
Bach Cantata Vespers Chorus and Orchestra with Chicago Choral Artists
Michael D. Costello, director
Hoss Brock, tenor (Evangelist)
Keven Keys, baritone (Jesus)
Susan Nelson, soprano
Karen Brunssen, mezzo-soprano
Patrick Muehleise, tenor
Douglas Anderson, baritone

May  21
Lobet Gott in seine Reichen

Praise God in his kingdoms (Ascension Oratorio)
, BWV 11
Ben Cieslik, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis, homilist

Florence Jowers, Christ Lutheran Church, Staunton, Virginia, organist