Guelph Chamber Choir performs St. Matthew Passion at River Run

The Guelph Chamber Choir will perform Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the River Run Centre on April 11 at 8pm.

The choir is joined by an or­chestra playing on period instruments and by Canadian guest soloists: soprano Mere­dith Hall, alto Rosemarie van der Hooft, tenor James Mc­Lean (Evangelist), and bass Justin Welsh (Jesus).

Bach’s masterwork ranks high among the works of Western sacred art. "The choir is in the midst of rehearsals to bring this challenging and breath-taking masterpiece to life," said conductor Dr. Gerald Neufeld. "We have chosen to per­form it in English, allowing the compelling drama to be fully and immediately under­stood."

The oratorio was originally intended to be performed in two halves: one before and one after the Good Friday church sermon. Scholars believe the first performance of the St. Matthew Passion was on April 11, 1727. It was performed on Good Friday of 1729, and perhaps at several other Good Friday services during Bach’s lifetime. It then dropped from public view until 1829, when it was performed by Felix Men­delssohn, sparking a revival of interest in Bach’s music that grew throughout the 19th cen­tury to today.

Reverend John Buttars, Unit­ed Church minister, ex­plores the origins of Matthew’s gospel and illuminates the context for its account of the crucifixion in a bridge talk pre­ceding the performance, start­ing at 6:45pm. All ticket hold­ers are welcome.

The 40-voice Guelph Cham­ber Choir brings together local, dedicated  and primarily ama­teur singers who share a collec­tive vision for “inspired choral music to stir the human spirit”. The choir’s 29th season con­cludes with a concert of Love Songs for Springtime on May 9, at Harcourt Memorial United Church. 

Tickets to St. Matthew Passion are $30, or four for $100. Students can buy dis­count­ed tickets to all Guelph Chamber Choir events for $10 and $5 through the national eyeGo programme. To order, call the River Run Centre at 519-763-3000 or 1-877-520-2408, or order on-line at

For more information on the Guelph Chamber Choir call 519-836-5103 or visit www.­