2016-09-07 / Front Page

Lexington festival gets Bach to basics


Violinist Aaron Berofsky is one of three guest artists featured during Lexington Bach Festival 2016. Violinist Aaron Berofsky is one of three guest artists featured during Lexington Bach Festival 2016. The Village of Lexington and environs will ring with all sounds classical this month when the Bach Festival returns for its 17th consecutive year.

This year’s Lexington Bach Festival, to be held Sept. 15-18. features the theme “1685: The Birth of Bach, The Birth of Greatness.”

“It’s hard to imagine, but three geniuses of the baroque era were born in the same year, so we decided to feature works by Bach, Handel and Scarlatti during this year’s festival,” said music director John Thomas Dodson.

Johann Sebastian Bach, Joseph Handel and Domenico Scarlatti created the musical blueprints for many of the composers born after them.

The festival will have three guest artists, all from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance: Aaron Berofsky, violin; Joseph Gascho, harpsichord; and William Campbell, trumpet.

This year’s program opens with the Lexington Bach Festival String Quartet at noon and 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, in the St. Clair County Community College Fine Arts Theatre, 323 Erie St., Port Huron. Music from Bach to light classics will be performed and admission is free.

Berofsky and Gascho will pair to feature works by Bach, Handel and Scarlatti in a concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16, in the Lexington Village Theatre.

The full Bach Festival Orchestra led by Dodson will perform Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, Sept. 17 and 18, in Ave Maria Parish (the former St. Denis Catholic Church), 5366 Main St., Lexington.

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 will be performed on Saturday, with Berofsky joined by Festival flutists Laura Larson and Wendy Pardee Cleland.

An additional guest artist, Mark Flegg, principal trumpet of the Flint and Saginaw Bay symphony orchestras, will open Saturday’s concert with Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks.


The Lexington Bach Festival orchestra benefits from the beautiful acoustics provided by Ave Maria Parish Catholic Church. The Lexington Bach Festival orchestra benefits from the beautiful acoustics provided by Ave Maria Parish Catholic Church. Sunday’s program includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, featuring flutist Laura Larson, oboist Lindabeth Binkley, violinist Aaron Berofsky and trumpeter William Campbell.

To complete the trio of composers born in 1685, the Festival Orchestra’s Sunday concert will include Domenico Scarlatti’s Tocatta, Bourée and Gigue, orchestrated by the Italian composer, Alfredo Casella.

The Festival also will offer music by three 19th Century masters: Mendelssohn, Schumann and Cherubini. “There is a connection with J.S. Bach among these three composers,” explained Dodson. “Each was a devotee of Bach’s music.”

The Lexington Bach Festival is an annual presentation of the Lexington Arts Council. It was founded in 2000 by Julia Kurtyka. Working with the Lexington Arts Council under the leadership of Lee Jones, Kurtyka engaged Don Th. Jaeger as its first music and artistic director.

Jaeger led the festival for 15 years, collaborating with artists as diverse as jazz musician Chris Brubeck; concert violinist Caroline Goulding, and Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster William Pruecil. Jaeger stepped down in 2014, passing the baton to current director Dodson.

The Festival Orchestra is comprised of professional musicians from throughout Michigan, Ohio, and beyond. In addition to their artistic work with other professional orchestras in the region, many serve on the faculties of universities, colleges, and other educational institutions throughout the area.

For tickets, call 359-5120 or visit the Lexington Arts Council website online at http:// lexington-arts.org/. For an in depth look into the festival, including music selection and featured artists, please visit the Lexington Bach Festival official site at www.lexingtonbachfestival.org.

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