Last year's edition of the ClavierFest played to a large and enthusiastic audience. Don't miss this year's edition, Friday November 3 at 7:30PM in West Hartford. Featured on the program are Bach's lively Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 and a moving aria from the Saint Matthew Passion, presented by CONCORA baritone Jermaine Woodard, Jr. Details below!

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Friday, November 3, 2017, 7:30 PM
Saint Mark the Evangelist Church
467 Quaker Lane, West Hartford, CT

This Friday evening, CONCORA’s Friends of Bach presents the ClavierFest, a lively concert of keyboard and vocal music by J.S. Bach and his contemporaries.

Keyboardists Edward Clark, Christa Rakich, and Stephen Gamboa will be joined by Andrea LeBlanc (transverse flute), Emlyn Ngai (Baroque violin), Alice Robbins (cello), and baritone Jermaine Woodard, Jr., to perform music by Johann Sebastian Bach and his contemporaries.
Highlights of the program include an aria from Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion, performed by CONCORA vocalist Jermaine Woodard, Jr., and the fifth Brandenburg Concerto, performed by the instrumental ensemble. Other featured works include the “King Arthur” suite by Henry Purcell, a flute sonata by George Frederic Handel, and other works by J.S. Bach, his son Johann Christoph Bach, and Friedrich Wilhelm Rust. A complete program list is shown below.
The keyboard music will be performed on reproductions of Baroque-period keyboard instruments including harpsichords, organ, lautenwerk (a rarely-heard lute-harpsichord with a unique sound) and clavichord (a small keyboard instrument with a very soft sound). The instruments are hand-crafted by expert makers, with beautiful carvings and painted decorations that enhance the musical experience; take a look at the photo below, then come in person to get a close-up look of this gorgeous harpsichord and other Baroque keyboard instruments.

Scroll down to enjoy an interview with baritone Jermaine Woodard Jr, to peruse the program list, and to find information and details about tickets, directions, and parking.

ClavierFest Baroque Concert
Friday, November 3, 2017, 7:30 PM

Saint Mark the Evangelist Church
467 Quaker Lane South, West Hartford, CT

Tickets: $10-$30 are available at, by
phone at 860-293-0567, by email at, or at the door. Last year's event played to a capacity audience; we recommend that you reserve your tickets soon!
Insights from featured vocal soloist Jermaine Woodard
CONCORA baritone Jermaine Woodard, Jr., highly regarded for his committed performances and warm baritone timbre, is the featured vocal soloist in this year's ClavierFest.

We asked Jermaine to share his insights as he prepares to present an aria from Bach's Saint Matthew Passion. 

Tell us about the aria you will sing. Which one is it? Where does it fall in the Saint Matthew Passion, and what is its message?
It’s such a privilege to have been asked to sing “Der Heiland fällt vor seinem Vater nieder ... Gerne will ich mich bequemen.” Within the Passion, it appears almost towards the conclusion of Part 1, the exposition of the oratorio. The aria’s message almost vehemently implies submission; a surrender of human power to God the Father, through Jesus Christ the Son (the liaison) — the grace (given by God) so humbly forgiving and benevolently patriarchal and a mercy that’s deliberate and persuasive.
Had you known this aria already, or is it new to you? What do you think Bach wants us to hear, to feel, to understand?
This aria, and the Passion itself, is new music for me. I didn’t understand at first why Bach composed some of the vocal line the way he did; so jounced and disjunct. In the research I did to prepare for this performance, I found one particular analysis where the philosopher was able to contextualize chromatic nuances and its deeper meaning, Bach’s compositional intentions, chord and interval juxtaposition through Picander’s text, and chordal symbolism in the voice and instrumental part.
Personally, I don’t always feel inclined to dissect the theory of the music; rather, I react spontaneously to the harmonies and melody — with raw feelings — almost unapologetically eliminating the process of theoretical decomposition.
With that said, the text spoke boldly to me, especially “Gerne will ich...” or “Gladly will I...”  Ironically, the idea of grace and mercy has always been a hovering theme in own my life. Atonement for one’s sins, living life according only to the flesh, doubting the Gospel — I empathize with all.
Once I learned the aria, its themes seemed more colloquial and pertinent to the “present day,” thus having a more personal impact on me.
Is there a particular moment that grabs you - a dissonance, a turn of melody, a particular way that Bach sets an important text?
Listen for the lilting and impulsively forward-moving 3/8 meter; the diminished 7th and augmented 4th intervals on “anzunehmen;” the seemingly anxious and scattered leaps all over the vocal line; the perfect IV chord of “versüßet” at the end of the B section. Man is willing to submit himself unto God — gladly and resolutely — but is he ready, ready to fully surrender?

Jermaine's presentation of this moving aria is sure to be something special in this year'[s ClavierFest on November 3; do you have your ticket?

About Jermaine Woodard— Baritone Jermaine Woodard Jr loves a diversified singing career in opera, musical theatre, jazz, R&B, gospel, sacred, and inspirational classical and contemporary music. Thrilled for a second season with CONCORA, his choral affiliations include Novi Cantori, Wallingford Chorale, New Haven Chorale, and (formerly) the Cathedral of Saint Joseph’s Schola Cantorum. In addition, he will be featured as baritone section-leader with Asylum Hill Congregational Church and Hartford Chorale in an electrifying new season of music-making. Extracurriculars include solo endeavors across the New England and Tri-State border, directing University of Saint Joseph’s BlueJays In Spirit (Voices of Praise) ensemble, and cantoring at the Church of the Holy Spirit (Newington), Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center (West Hartford/Farmington) and Sacred Heart Church (Bloomfield).
Reserve your ticket now to hear Jermaine Woodard, Jr sing Bach on November 3 in West Hartford
Clavierfest 2017 -- A Baroque Feast
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Suite from King Arthur, Z.628 (1691)
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Sonata for Flute in B minor, HWV 367b
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788)
Concerto in F major, H. 471; Wq.43/1 (1771), arranged for two keyboards
Friedrich Wilhelm Rust (1739-1796)
Marcia from Sonate für Clavichord (1792)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Recitative and Aria from Saint Matthew Passion: "Der Heiland fällt vor seinem Vater nieder" and "Gerne will ich mich bequemen"
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Two Preludes in B Minor from Das wohltemperierte Klavier 1 & 2
Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)
Sonata IV in A major for Harpsichord with an accompaniment for the Violin (ca. 1780)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, BWV 1050
Here is just one of the beautiful instruments that will be played on Friday, November, 3, at the Friends of Bach ClavierFest. Members of the audience will be able to get a close look at this harpsichord and the other instruments following the concert.

This is a French Double Harpsichord after Blanchet, built in 1980 by Willard Martin; sound board painted by Pamela Gladding, 1980; lid painting by New Hampshire artist Andre Belanger, summer 2012.
ClavierFest Event Information
ClavierFest Baroque Concert
Friday, November 3, 2017, 7:30 PM
Saint Mark the Evangelist Church
467 Quaker Lane South, West Hartford, CT

Tickets: $10-$30 are available at,
 by phone at 860-293-0567, by email at, or at the door.

Click on the image or map below to open Google maps for this location.
Reserve your tickets to hear the Bach ClavierFest on Friday, November 3 in West Hartford
One of CONCORA's most exciting concerts of the year is just around the corner! Here's where the present meets the future, where fresh young voices combine with CONCORA's seasoned sounds to produce something Extraordinary! If you haven't experienced this concert before, prepare to be dazzled!
CONCORA (and friends!) sing
Choral Masterworks

Saturday, November 18 2017, 7:30PM
Saint Thomas the Apostle Church
872 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, CT
“What a treat to sit and be bathed in glorious sound! The young voices were so fresh and clear and the ensemble sound quite breathtaking. The variety of musical offerings was a delight to the listener and perfectly suited to that grand space.”
Continuing a long tradition of inclusion and outreach, CONCORA will be joined by gifted Connecticut choirs from high schools in Bristol, Ledyard, and Litchfield to present a program of selections from choral masterworks. This is the eleventh edition of the “Extraordinary Concert” series, which began in 1993 as part of CONCORA’s education and outreach programming.

Tickets are on sale now ($10-$55) and will also be available at the door. Advance purchase is recommended for preferred seating. Bring some friends and take advantage of group rates for parties of eight or more adult and senior general admission tickets (advance sales only, please).
Click here to reserve your tickets to hear CONCORA (and three fine young choirs!) sing Extraordinary Choral Masterworks on November 18 at 7:30PM in West Hartford
Join the conversation on CONCORA's social media pages! We post new content nearly every day, with news and notes of interest to lovers of classical music, choral music and singing, and the arts.
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CONCORA’s 2017-2018 season is made possible through the generous gifts of many individual donors and with the generous support of the following foundations and institutions: the American Savings Foundation; the Greater Hartford Arts Council; the Richard P. Garmany Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; the J. Walton Bissell Foundation; the William T. Sloper Trust for the Andrew J. Sloper Music Fund; the State of Connecticut, with the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; the Helen M. Saunders Charitable Foundation; the Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation; the Ensworth Charitable Foundation; the City of New Britain Commission on the Arts; the William and Alice Mortensen Foundation; and the Robert C. Vance Charitable Foundation.
Copyright © 2017 CONCORA, All rights reserved.

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