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September 13, 2018
Authentic: Greg Funfgeld
Celebrating 36 Years at the helm of the Bach Choir of Bethlehem
To the musicians, scholars, colleagues, and friends who’ve had the pleasure of knowing him, Greg Funfgeld may seem like one in a million (and he is!). But more accurately, he’s one in six: since the Bach Choir of Bethlehem was founded in 1898, he is only its sixth artistic director and conductor.
Greg, celebrating his 36th year with the Choir, is humbled and grateful: by the pleasure of continually discovering the works of J.S. Bach—“Bach is smarter than all of us, so you have to keep working at it”—and the joy of collaborating with extraordinary people. “There are so many wonderful people connected to this organization,” he says. “It’s the ultimate embarrassment of riches.”
A native of Long Island—whose parents found his first piano teacher in the Yellow pages—and graduate of Westminster Choir College in organ performance, Greg became the music director of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem in 1976. The Bach Choir position opened up, and the rest is history.
You could say all of it is history. The Choir, the first to perform Bach’s Mass in B Minor in the U.S. in 1900, represents over a century of tradition in Bethlehem. During Greg’s three and a half decades, the Choir has grown beyond its Christmas and May concerts to offer family and spring concerts, monthly free Bach at Noon concerts, and Bach to School outreach programs.
“I’ve wanted to make it much more a part of the life of the whole community,” Greg says, “to open the doors as wide as we can and invite people in.” A life well lived, after all, is a life shared.
Learn more about The Bach Choir of Bethlehem at: bach.org