St. Charles Singers to launch season with ‘Welcome Bach!’

St. Charles Singers will perform in Wheaton and St. Charles in March 2023.

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles Singers, led by founder Jeffrey Hunt, will launch its 40th season with concerts featuring choral masterworks of Johann Sebastian Bach on Oct. 14 and 15, in its hometown of St. Charles.

The acclaimed chamber choir will present “Welcome Bach!” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 14, and 3 p.m. Oct. 15, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles.

The program offers two J.S. Bach motets, neither of which the St. Charles Singers has performed before, along with polyphonic pieces from the English Renaissance to the present. Polyphony is a musical style in which multiple melodies are sung at the same time.

“Audiences will get to savor a profusion of polyphony,” Hunt said in a news release.

The mixed-voice ensemble of 35 singers will give its first-ever performances of Bach’s sacred motets “Fürchte dich nicht” (Do not fear), BWV 228, and “Komm, Jesu, komm” (Come, Jesus, come), BWV 229.

“These compact choral works display Bach’s genius in concentrated form,” Hunt said. “Though each motet lasts about eight minutes, you’ll experience a full measure of Bach’s musical gifts.”

Performing with the choir in the Bach motets will be a period-instrument continuo – a Baroque rhythm section – of Chicago early-music luminaries Craig Trompeter, Baroque cello, and Jerry Fuller, Baroque double bass, with Stephen Uhl, organ.

Trompeter is founder and artistic director of Chicago’s Haymarket Opera Company. Fuller is founder of Chicago’s Ars Antigua early music group. Uhl, a versatile young organist and collaborative pianist, has been heard on WFMT radio on multiple occasions. He is collaborative artist at Elmhurst University and organist at the Union Church of Hinsdale.

Hunt says this will be the first time a group of period-instrument players has performed with the choir.

Beyond Bach, the St. Charles Singers will offer Ivo Antognini’s festive motet “Jubilate Deo” (Shout to God); William Byrd’s English Renaissance anthem “Sing Joyfully”; Hugo Distler’s neo-Baroque “Ich wollt, dass ich daheime wär” (I wish that I were home), Op. 12, No. 5; and L.L. Fleming’s arrangement of the traditional spiritual “Give Me Jesus,” with duets between tenors and basses and sopranos and altos.

The choir also will sing Algirdas Martinaitis’s poignant, meditative “Alleluia”; Charles Villiers Stanford’s lyrical “Beati quorum via” (Blessed are those whose way is blameless) from “Three Latin Motets,” Op. 38; John Tavener’s “The Lord’s Prayer,” a work of calm, inner serenity; and Judith Weir’s “I Love All Beauteous Things,” written for Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.

Most of the pieces are new to the St. Charles Singers’ repertoire.

“What you’ll hear at ‘Welcome Bach!’ – and throughout our 2023-2024 season – is a wide array of beautiful, transcendent and spiritually moving music,” Hunt said. “Some of it is challenging to perform, all of it is irresistible to listen to.”


Single-admission tickets cost $45 for adults, $40 for seniors age 65 and older, and $12 for students. Tickets and information are available at or by calling 630-513-5272. Tickets are also available at Town House Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles (checks or cash only at this ticket venue). Tickets also may be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability.

The choristers

St. Charles Singers’ sopranos performing in “Welcome Bach!” include Karen Rockett of Batavia; Amy Bearden and Ingrid Burrichter, both of Chicago; Marybeth Kurnat, DeKalb; Jessica Heinrich and Mary Kunstman, both of Elburn; Laura Johnson, Hanover Park; Meredith Taylor Mollica, Naperville; Amanda Kohl, Oak Park; and Cynthia Spiegel, St. Charles.

Altos are Christina Collins, Arlington Heights; Valerie Bollero and Margaret Fox, both of Batavia; Julie Popplewell, North Aurora; Jennifer Gingrich, Naperville; Bethany Brewer, Palos Heights; Debra Wilder, Vernon Hills; and Karen Archbold and Rachel Taylor, both of Wheaton.

The tenor section includes Bryan Kunstman and Bradley Staker, both of Elburn; Nicholas Metzger, Elgin; Marcus Jansen, Geneva; Stephen Mollica, Naperville; Jonathan Cramer, Waukegan; David Hunt, Wayne; and Steve Williamson, West Chicago.

Bass voices are Brandon Fox, Batavia; Douglas Peters, Chicago; Brian Jozwiak, Crystal Lake; Jess Koehn, Downers Grove; Michael Popplewell, North Aurora; Antonio Quaranta, River Grove; Aaron James, St. Charles; and Drayton Eggleson, Sycamore.

About the St. Charles Singers

Founded and directed by Jeffrey Hunt, the St. Charles Singers is a chamber choir hailed by American Record Guide as “a national treasure.” The mixed-voice ensemble includes professional singers, choral directors and voice instructors, some of whom perform with other top-tier Chicago choirs. Classics Today has called the ensemble “one of North America’s outstanding choirs.” Among the St. Charles Singers’ prominent guest conductors have been renowned English composer John Rutter, founder of the Cambridge Singers; Philip Moore, composer and former music director at England’s York Minster cathedral; and Grammy Award-winning American choir director Craig Hella Johnson. The choir launched in St. Charles in 1984, as the Mostly Madrigal Singers.