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Baroque Artists of C-U appoint Joseph Baldwin as new Music Director

The Baroque Artists of C-U (BACH), C-U’s premier chamber choir, is in the midst of adding to the strong foundation of their program. As they make some very important changes, they welcome their new Music Director, Joseph Baldwin. Below you can read all about Baldwin’s history and achievements from his personal website:

A person of diverse artistic interests, Joseph Baldwin is a conductor whose primary work explores the integration of choral music, dynamic programming and presentation, the conductor as servant leader, and the transformative power of community engagement. He has a keen interest in arts and non-profit leadership at the academic and professional levels. 

In 2017, Joseph was appointed as Music Director of the Baroque Artists of Champaign Urbana (BACH). From 2012-2015, Joseph served on the faculty at Smith College (MA), where he was the Iva Dee Hiatt Distinguished Assistant Director of Choral Activities and taught full-time in the Department of Music. He has held key appointments with the University of Massachusetts Amherst as a Visiting Professor of Music, Berkshire Choral International as a Staff Conductor, the Grammy® Award-winning choral ensembles at the University of Michigan, and the choirs of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An active guest conductor and collaborator, he has enjoyed conducting engagements with SongFest at The Colburn School and the Five College New Music Festival (MA) as well as conducting fellowships with the Oregon Bach Festival (as a member of the renowned Master Class in Conducting) and the Yale School of Music — Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. Joseph is passionate about contemporary music and regularly partners with thriving composers, including Dominick DiOrio and Anne LeBaron. He has assisted in the preparation of choruses for performances with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Kent Tritle, and Nicholas Cleobury. A strong advocate for the choral arts at all levels, Joseph is an active guest clinician and adjudicator with ensembles in the professional/young artist, collegiate, secondary, and spiritual settings. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Founding Artistic Director & Conductor of the Community Chorus of Detroit, now a cultural force in the Detroit-area arts scene. A baritone, he sings as a professional member of some of the nation’s leading ensembles, including the Yale Choral Artists, Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival Singers, and the University Musical Society Choral Union/Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

In an effort to build upon the previously established foundation, Baldwin releases a call for new singers to join his choir:

I’m writing to invite you to sing with the Baroque Artists of Champaign Urbana (BACH), C-U’s premier chamber choir. BACH was conducted by beloved conductor Chet Alwes for 21 years, and I was just recently appointed as its new Music Director. I’m thrilled to be involved—we have ambitious plans to build on BACH’s solid foundation, and I’m so looking forward to a wonderful season! BACH is proud of the diverse range of its repertoire—from its roots in Baroque music to today’s most exciting new works by living composers. Today’s audiences enjoy programs featuring both favorite Baroque masterpieces and leading works from across the entire choral repertory. It is also just a wonderful group of people.

BACH rehearses on Monday evenings from 7-9 pm in the Wesley United Methodist Church choir room. There is a Welcome Reception/Info Session on Sunday, August 13, at 7 pm in the Canterbury House Lounge, The Chapel of St. John the Divine; you will meet fellow members of the BACH community and hear from the Board of Directors and me on our upcoming 2017-2018 season.

New singer auditions will be held on Saturday, August 26, in a friendly, get-to-know-you 10-minute meeting with me. I will hear you sing and welcome you to the BACH community; no preparation is necessary. We’ll meet in the Fellowship Hall (the northern part, not the church) of the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana. If you’re able to join us, what time would work well for you between 10 am and 1 pm, and I’ll sign you up?

To stay up-to-date on BACH announcements & news, please follow us on Facebook: Our current website is being updated, but updates will be complete in the next couple of weeks.

I do hope to welcome you to BACH this year! We would love to have you! Please let me know if you have any questions.

All the best,

The BACH schedule of events from 2017 to 2018 is included below, if you want to see what BACH is all about, they hold several local concerts throughout the year at a small cost.

BACH 2017-2018 SEASON

♫ A Garden of Delights
Sunday, October 22 – 7:30pm
Chapel of St. John the Divine
1011 S. Wright Street, Champaign

Baroque Chamber Music on Period Instruments, with Sun-Young Shin, violin, Amanda Pond, flute, Benjamin
Hayek, viola da gamba, and Charlotte Mattax Moersch, harpsichord.
$20 General/$10 Students


♫ Embracing New Directions
Sunday, November 12 – 7:30pm
McKinley Presbyterian Church
809 S. 5th Street, Champaign

BACH does it all! We are proud of the diverse range of our repertoire—from our roots in Baroque music to today’s
most exciting new works by living composers. Join us for Music Director Joseph Baldwin’s inaugural concert with
$20 General/$10 Students


Messiah Sing-Along
Sunday, November 26 – 4:00pm
First Baptist Church at Savoy
1602 S. Prospect Avenue, Savoy

An annual tradition and community favorite for fifteen years, this interactive concert just might be your holiday
season’s favorite memory. We provide the conductor, terrific soloists, and instrumentalists. You, the audience, will
serve as our choir! Bring your own score or borrow one at the door. Singers of all ages are welcome.
Free-will donation


Young Baroque Artists Showcase Concert
Sunday, February 11 – 7:30pm
McKinley Presbyterian Church
809 S. Fifth Street, Champaign

Join the BACH Chorus and the talented winners of our annual high school student-artist competition for a joint
concert! Student-artist winners will bring fresh interpretations of Baroque classics, and the combined forces will join
to present songs of unity.
$10 for all


♫ Schütz’s Resurrection
Sunday, April 8 – 7:30pm
Grace Lutheran Church
313 S. Prospect Avenue, Champaign

Emeritus music director Chester Alwes conducts Story of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Heinrich Schütz (op. 3,
1623), the first German oratorio. Also featured will be other works for the Easter season by Schütz and his pupils.
$20 General/$10 Students


♫ BACH Shines – A Celebration of Life
Sunday, June 10 – 7:30pm
St. John Catholic Chapel
604 E. Armory, Champaign

BACH explores themes of life and death with unifying texts of a variety of sacred and secular traditions. Featuring
Joby Talbot’s phenomenal 2005 work Triptych and J.S. Bach’s stirring Cantata 4, this final program of our season
will be one not to miss.
$20 General/$10 Students

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