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Harrisonburg: Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival centers around ‘Unity’ theme

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The 32nd annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival will run June 9-16 offering 16 concerts and talks by more than 60 musicians.

The weeklong festival, presented by Eastern Mennonite University, is spread out across locations in Harrisonburg including Asbury United Methodist Church, Massanutten Regional Library and Pale Fire Brewing Company.

Works center around the festival theme of “Unity.”

“I’m thrilled to welcome audiences to experience this year’s festival featuring an absolutely stellar lineup of musicians from around the world, including artists from EMU, JMU, Shenandoah Conservatory  and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, as well as rising star performers from the Shenandoah Valley,” said David Berry, artistic director.

  • Guest conductor Deanna Tham, associate conductor of the Oregon Symphony and music director of the Union Symphony Orchestra, who will conduct Festival Concerts II and III
  • Benjamin Bergey, assistant professor of music at EMU and conductor of EMU’s Orchestra, Chamber Singers and University Choir
  • Berlin-based soprano Sara Duchovnay, a “dynamic and expressive” vocalist who sings with “warmth and luster” (OperaWire)
  • Penelope Shumate, who sings soprano solos with “appealing bell-like clarity and surpassing sweetness” (The New York Times)
  • Mexican American violinist Alejandra Switala, a top prize winner at the 2023 Sphinx Competition in Detroit, Mich.

Other highlights include an open mic night at Pale Fire, which offers listeners the opportunity to hear and mingle with festival performers in a casual setting.

A talk titled “Harry T. Burleigh, Antonín Dvořák, and the Symphony from the New World” will be presented by music historian, author and EMU alumna Jean Snyder on Thursday, June 13, at 4 p.m. at Massanutten Regional Library.

For more information, visit https://www.svbachfestival.org.

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.