Courtesy Gwen Gotsch, Grace Lutheran Church and School

Free performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at Grace Lutheran in River Forest on Sunday, March 24, 4:00 p.m.

The musicians of Grace Lutheran Church’s Bach Cantata Vespers, joined by professional singers and orchestra musicians from the Chicago area, will present a free performance of J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion on Palm Sunday, March 24, at 4:00 p.m. The church is located at 7300 Division Street in River Forest.

Bach’s Passions were composed for performance in worship services on Good Friday. This performance follows the tradition of singing the Passion story during Holy Week in a church setting–though at this performance, not within a worship service. Bach’s original audience would have listened to a sermon between Part One and Part Two. In this concert version, listeners are invited to a reception at the intermission with hors d’oeuvres and wine!

The concert is part of Grace’s monthly Bach Cantata Vespers, now in its 42nd season. Cantatas are performed September through May within the context of a worship service, as originally intended, with a homily and other music supporting the devotional themes of the cantata.

Soloists include tenor William Watson as the Evangelist, baritone Keven Keys as Jesus, soprano Jennifer Rossetti, mezzo-soprano Karen Brunssen, tenor Derek Chester, baritone Douglas Anderson and bass-baritone Andrew Schultze. Michael D. Costello, Cantor at Grace, is the conductor. WFMT Morning Program host Carl Grapentine will preview the music of the Passion at an Adult Education session at Grace at 9:45 a.m. on the morning of the performance.

Childcare will be available in the church nursery during the performance. There will be a freewill offering at intermission. For more information call 708-366-6900 or visit

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