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Johannesburg Bach Choir Newsletter

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Johannesburg Bach Choir

EDITION 1  l  MARCH 2013

A Word from our Chairman

Dear Lover of Choral Music

The Johannesburg Bach Choir boasts a history of close on 50 years of providing remarkable choral music to the public of Gauteng. Unfortunately our noble cause is sometimes swamped by other minor incidents (like government changes, sportsmen in disrepute etc). That is why we would like to let you know that we are still here and still singing!

Herewith we present our new electronic newsletter to you. This is our first edition, and we plan to issue more at intervals of two months. We hope that the newsletter will keep you abreast of our activities and concerts and lighten your day with the odd anecdote or story from the Choir’s ranks.

There is no cost involved in receiving the newsletter, and we encourage you to get family and friends of choral music to sign up for our mailing list. You can do this by simply using the button below to forward to a friend.
Our next set of concerts will introduce the relatively unknown Bohemian composer Jan Dismas Zelenka, a rare treat to music lovers in this city. More details of the concerts can be found to the right.

Let the good voice flourish!

Reiner Fossati


A Short History

The Johannesburg Bach Choir was started in 1964 under the guidance of Tony Fell with the object of performing the lesser-known and smaller-scale works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Its first concert was given by some 30 voices in the same year.
Since then the Bach Choir has gone from strength to strength. When Tony Fell moved to England in 1974 the musical leadership was taken over by John Mitchell, who was then involved with PACT. Subsequent conductors included several luminaries, including Robin Walton, Weiss Doubell, EberhardKünkel, Douglas Reid, Colin Yorke, Walter Butt, Dario Broccardo and Tim Roberts, the current Musical Director.
The works performed by the Choir extend both forwards and backwards in time from Bach and now encompass 16th to 21st century music. Some memorable highlights include Beethoven’s MissaSolemnis, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Bach’s major works (Passions, Mass in B minor, Christmas Oratorio) and, in collaboration with other Choirs, Orff’s CarminaBurana, Verdi’s Requiem, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius and Mahler’s Symphony no. 2.
The members of the Johannesburg Bach Choir come from all walks of life and are all amateur singers. All enjoy singing in the Choir and making music together which transcends the banality of everyday life.


What we have been up to....

On Sunday 24 February the Johannesburg Bach Choir took part in a benefit concert for the REEA Foundation, an organisation dedicated to epileptic care. St Columba’s Church in Parkview, the venue for the event, was packed to the gunwales with an appreciative audience. The items ran the whole gamut of musical styles, from Baroque to modern.

The Bach Choir performed well-known excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, as well as works by Bach and Mozart. Here, as with the other items presented, the crowd gave voice to its enthusiasm.

Gregor Heidemann in a letter to the Choir , “Please pass on my best wishes and a huge thank you to all members of the Bach Choir.  I think the Choir is very lucky to have Tim as the conductor. The Choir added a different dimension to the concert. I loved the first three numbers…”

The Johannesburg Bach Choir makes itself available to sing at functions, company evenings, weddings and other events. And, of course, it holds two or three concerts of its own annually, as it has for almost 50 years already.



Source: Wikipedia

Jan Dismas Zelenka, previously also known as Johann Dismas Zelenka, is considered the most important Czech baroque composer. His music is admired for its harmonic invention and counterpoint.

Born: October 16, 1679, Louňovice pod Blaníkem

Died: December 23, 1745, Dresden

Last album: Tiosonaten, Volume 1 (feat. oboe: Burkhard Glaetzner)

Albums: The Lamentations of Jeremiah (Chandos Baroque Players), Tiosonaten, Volume 2 (feat. oboe: Burkhard Glaetzner), Requiem / Miserere (Ensemble Instrumental Baroque & Czech Chamber Choir feat. conductor: Roman Válek), Missa Dei Filii / Litaniae Lauretanae (Tafelmusik, conductor: Frieder Bernius, choir: Kammerchor Stuttgart), De Profundis / Miserere / Requiem, Tiosonaten, Volume 1 (feat. oboe: Burkhard Glaetzner)More

For more background information, read his full biography here

The Johannesburg Bach Choir is proud to be the first choir to perform Zelenka’s Miserere in c minor in South Africa.

Upcoming Events & Announcements

JHB Bach Choir

Upcoming Events: Baroque Sparkle

Comprising works by JS Bach and JD Zelenka, the latter being a lesser-known but no less accomplished Bohemian composer from Bach’s time.

Date: Sunday, 21 April
Venue: St Martin's-in-the-Veld (corner Eastwood and Cradock Roads, Dunkeld)
Time: 15:00

Date: Sunday, 28 April
Venue: Bryanston Catholic Church (behind Sloane Square Shopping Centre, Sloane St)
Time: 18:00

Tickets: R100 per person
Pre-book tickets with Kevin Martin, 011-706-4885. Remaining tickets will be available at the door.

Please visit our website,, for maps to the venues.

Choir at work

Announcement: Singers Required!!

The Johannesburg Bach Choir is always on the lookout for enthusiastic singers. If you feel that your efforts in the shower or bathtub are no longer satisfying or wasted on your family, you should consider coming to sing with us. We are a dedicated and spirited band and perform regularly in the Johannesburg region. If you can read music, so much the better, but not being able to do so should not be a deterrent.

The Musical Director of the Choir is Tim Roberts, oboist and musician par excellence – see Tim’s bio elsewhere in this newsletter. We rehearse on Monday evenings at St Columba’s in Parkview. Please call Pamela Werrell (011 467 2378 or 082 707 7317) if you are interested. Alternatively, visit our website, for details on how to join.


Member's Bio

Tim Roberts, Musical Director

Tim Roberts: Musical Director

Tim Roberts is currently the principal conductor of the Johannesburg Bach Choir and the South African Ballet Theatre Sinfonia. As well as his commitments to work in South Africa he is also involved in recording the works of Ludwig August Lebrun. While in Johannesburg he is a member of the Music Department of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, and a presenter of Classic Notes for Radio Bakgat. He is married with a young and noisy family. In his waking hours he is preparing a Zuckermann Harpsichord to be brought back to a life of live music making!

Come to our next concert and see this maestro at work. Or come and join the Johannesburg Bach Choir!



Possible image of  ZelenkaOur Chairman Reiner FossatiJBC in Rehearsal

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Johannesburg Bach Choir

P O Box 1036


Johannesburg, Gp 2135

South Africa

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