Bach Festival Society of Winter Park to Host 86th Annual Festival

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Correction: A previous version of this article mentioned that the festival would be available virtually the day after live performances and accessible for one week following. However, the virtual performances are expected to be available a week after live performances and available through June.

Following a successful first half of its season, the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park will present its 86th Annual Bach Festival led by Conductor Dr. John Sinclair on Friday, February 12 through February 28. With performances held at the Rollins College Knowles Memorial Chapel, as well as the Central Park Main Stage, guests can expect a variety of music by world renowned composers both on stage and virtually.

Kicking off the 86th Annual Festival is organist Colin MacKnight. The Juilliard graduate, who is also the associate organist and choirmaster at Cathedral of the Incarnation in New York, will host his organ recital free of cost to the public on February 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Knowles Memorial Chapel. The Bach Festival Orchestra, conducted by Dr. John V. Sinclair, will follow the recital on February 13 at 5:00 p.m. with the Spiritual Spaces: Peace and Serenity event which will also be held at the chapel with limited attendance. This year’s festival program will include similar events including Concertos by Candlelight, Bach Festival Brass, and many more.

As one of the longest continuing Bach Festivals, the organization plans to follow its previously announced COVID-19 safety protocols to ensure the safety of both its guests and performers. In order to uphold social distancing guidelines, Dr. Sinclair and his fellow organizers have divided the 170-member choir into smaller ensembles to maintain a low number of musicians on stage at any given time during performances. With only 125 people in attendance, which will include artists, audience, and staff members, the society will offer virtual concerts through Bach at Home for those unable to attend in person.

Since 1935, the Bach Festival has been a longstanding music tradition taking place each spring in Central Florida for not only the Winter Park community, but also the country. Every spring, guests from all areas of Central Florida and beyond join the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra in illuminating the Rollins College campus for nearly three weeks of live music and other festival activities. Although current conditions have caused a shift in festival logistics, the society plans for this year’s annual event to continue that tradition.

Organizers expect that guests looking to watch the festival virtually will be able to access the performances approximately one week after the live performances, which will be available through June on the festival’s website.

Visit the Bach Festival website or call 407-646-2182 for updated programming information and ticket sales.

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