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Bach Study Group

Conductor: Mark Nelson
Pianist: David Almond  

We are an informal group dedicated to the study of  J. S. Bach’s cantatas, motets, and Passions.  We immerse ourselves in rehearsal of a chosen work for a number of weeks and perform a final run-through at the end of the study period.  Founded in 1983 by Joan Snell, the group currently numbers some 50 singers (SATB) and instrumentalists (playing flute, recorder, oboe, violin, viola, cello, and keyboard). We are grateful to the Howe Library in Hanover, which provides rehearsal space and makes possible the borrowing of scores from the Drinker collection of the Philadelphia Free Library.

In the winter of 2019 we are working on BWV 21, “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis.”  Though we do not commonly perform in public, we will likely perform this cantata at the Bach Marathon, which will be hosted by Our Savior Lutheran Church, Hanover, in late March.

No Auditions: There are no auditions.  Singers and instrumentalists of all levels of experience are most welcome! Interested musicians are encouraged to contact Mark Nelson (mark.bach.study@gmail.com).  Non-participating observers are welcome as well.

Rehearsals: Fridays mornings, 10:00 – 11:45 a.m. in the Mayer Room of the Howe Library in Hanover, N.H. The Howe requests that we park in Hanover’s parking garage in order to leave room for regular library patrons.

Weather closings: We do not meet on days on which Hanover schools are closed.  BSG members are notified via e-mail about cancelled rehearsals.  The Dresden school district Web site—www.sau70.org—includes announcements of school closings.

Listen to Bach 

About Bach

Librettos and Notes

Librettos with English translations plus Ellen Frye’s conductor’s notes are available as pdf downloads.


Henry Drinker conducting a Bach cantata during one of his “singing parties.” The Bach Study Group is modeled after these informal gatherings of musicians.

Bach Study Group, 2010


1. Phil Porter - December 12, 2010

“Be not the first by whom the new is tried;nor yet the last to lay the old aside.” With advice like that how would anything ever get done? This webpage is an excellent start. I particularly like the hyperlinks that send one to the analyses Ellen has done of works we have studied,such as the Christnas Oratorio and various cantatas. You might list the cantatas we will be studying during the first half of 2011.

Best wishes,

Phil Porter

2. Lucie Arbuthnot - June 21, 2012

For anyone wishing to study Bach’s choral works along with excellent orchestral accompaniment, this is an absolute goldmine.

3. DNA 2 - May 9, 2014

Good day I am so thrilled I found your web site, I really found you by accident, while I was browsing
on Bing for something else, Regardless I am here now and
would just like to say thanks for a marvelous post and a all
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4. Jeannette Hargroves - May 12, 2020

I was wondering what your plans are for the summer of 2020 . I have always wanted to sing or study with you when I am in Woodstock, VT in the summer. Even if we cannot sing together, do you have any plans for study through zoom, etc.

In the winter I live in Lincoln, MA, sing with John Finney’s Heritage Chorale, with Jane Ring Frank’s Concord Women’s Chorus, and am a long time member of Berkshire Choral International. Choral Music is my passion, especially Bach Cantatas. A fan of Emmanuel Music

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