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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

New beginning for the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus starts with 6th annual “Love Is” concert and a world premiere

Chris Ludwa conducting the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus
Kalamazoo Bach Festival
Chris Ludwa conducting the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus

Change is coming to the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, which was founded over 70 years ago as a spring festival hosted by Kalamazoo College and the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus. The chorus will perform its final concert under that name on Wednesday, May 24 in the 6th annual “Love Is Love Is Love Is…” concert led by artistic director Chris Ludwa. It will open with a world premiere composed by longtime chorister Joe Ossmann and his son, composer David O.

Joe Ossman
Courtesy photo provided by Joe Ossman
Co-composer Joe Ossman

Along with Chris Ludwa, the Ossmanns spoke to Cara Lieurance about the creation of “Blessed: Meditations on The Beatitudes.” When David was a child, Joe and his wife would invite friends to their California home for musical evenings that would include private readings of choral music Joe composed for their entertainment.

During the pandemic, the family came together again in Michigan and David asked his father about the songs he remembered from his childhood. A music professional who recently music-directed the Billy Crystal show “Mr. Saturday Night” on Broadway, he offered to help his father finish the work.

The chorus’s new name and logo will be reveal at the concert, which begins at 7:30 pm in the Dalton Theatre at Kalamazoo College. Tickets and more information are available at this link.

Cara Lieurance is the local host of NPR's All Things Considered on 1021 WMUK and covers local arts & culture on Let's Hear It on 89.9 Classical WMUK weekday mornings at 10 - 11 am.