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The Ithaca College Choir, Madrigal Singers, and Chamber Orchestra, along with six faculty soloists, will give a free performance of Bach's St. John Passion on Sunday, April 27. The concert will begin at 3:00 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music. Lawrence Doebler will direct.

The story of Jesus's arrest, trial, and crucifixion has been a recurring theme in music over the centuries. Originally, the passion texts were read to serve as a remembrance and a way to reinforce Christ's teachings. By the 13th century, reading had given way to chanting by a single singer. Over the next four centuries musical resources became more plentiful; one of the results was Bach's dramatic and richly textured composition.

"Bach's St. John Passion is one of music's great religious works," Doebler says. "It is an astonishingly vital, energetic, and honest portrayal of this significant historic event."

The faculty soloists joining the three School of Music ensembles will be soprano Patrice Pastore, mezzo-soprano Kelly Samarzea, tenor David Parks, baritone Randie Blooding, cellist Elizabeth Simkin, and harpsichordist William Cowdery.

Currently in his 25th year at the College, Doebler is a professor of music performance. In addition to serving as director of choral ensembles, he teaches conducting, choral techniques, and choral literature. He is currently the music director of the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble and has served as the director of music at churches in Cleveland, St. Louis, Madison, and Ithaca.

For more information on Ithaca College concerts, visit or call (607) 274-3717.

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