Bach Cantata Vespers

Bach Cantata Vespers

The Bach Cantata Vespers series at St. James presents four Bach cantatas each season as the centerpiece of the Evening Prayer liturgy. Psalms, hymns, homily, and additional choral music all reflect the theme of the cantata. The St. James Bach Choir is joined by professional soloists and orchestra. Additional choral singers interested in singing in the Bach choir may contact the Church Office about rehearsal requirements.

The commissioning of new motets and psalm settings is a unique aspect of the Bach Vespers. Seventeen choral motets have been written by composers including Paul Bouman, Carson Cooman, Richard Felciano, Frank Ferko, Randy Giles, Richard Hillert, Ron Jeffers, Robert Kyr, Joel Morris, Timothy Nickel, Richard Proulx, Carl Schalk, Kevin Walcyzk, and Christopher Wicks. If you are interested in funding the composition of a new motet for a Vespers next season in memory of an individual or in honor of a special birthday, anniversary, or other special event, please contact the Church Office for more information.

The series is supported by the “Friends of Bach Vespers at St. James” and offerings received at the Vespers. Last season more than 130 individuals and organizations supported the series with an average attendance of 230 persons. Please consider becoming a Friend of Bach Vespers in making a contribution to support this unique ministry!




Did you enjoy the music on Reformation Sunday? That was just a taste of the 2018-2019 season celebrating the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Mark your calendars now for what we predict will be a spectacular series, directed by St. James Cantor Joseph Z. Pettit. The upcoming Vespers season includes:

Second Sunday of Advent, December 9th, 2018, 5:00pm
Cantata 30 Freue dich, erlöste Schar (Rejoice, Redeemed Flock)
Motet Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (Wake, Awake), Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach
Julie Kangas, soprano ~ Kathryn Weld, alto ~ Steven Arends, tenor ~ Barry Johnson, baritone ~ Scott Swope, baritone

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, February 3rd, 2019, 5:00pm
Cantata 125 Mit Fried’ und Freud’ ich fahr’ dahin (With Peace and Joy I Depart)

Good Friday, April 19th, 2019, 7:00pm
Excerpts from Johannes-Passion BWV 245 Feast of Pentecost

Pentecost, June 9th, 2019, 5:00pm
Cantata 172 Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! (Ring Forth, You Songs, Sound, You Strings!)

More information will be posted as it becomes available.








NOTE:  For other upcoming musical events in the Portland area, please visit WEKA or Western Early Keyboard Association at