Bach to Church

You know how Lutherans around the world continue to share really great resources? It’s just such an encouragement to me! Today, I get to share yet another one, a great website just launched called Bach to Church!

Rev. Andrew Richard and his fellow teachers at Mount Hope Lutheran School in Casper, Wyoming, have put together a treasury of searchable, printable, fabulous Bach chorales!

From the About Page:

“You know, Bach’s chorale arrangements are all in the public domain, and most of the great Lutheran hymns have English translations in the public domain. Someone just needs to put them together, and then we would have a choral library to last a lifetime.” Thus we mused in 2021, and the Bach to Church Project had its beginning. We quickly realized that we couldn’t stop at Bach. “Here’s a beautiful hymn arrangement by Michael Praetorius, and here’s another by Johannes Eccard, and Johann Walter, and Heinrich Schütz.” And the list of great Lutheran choral composers goes on.

The Lutheran Church has a rich musical heritage, and we want that heritage available to Lutheran congregations and schools. There are many beautiful settings of beloved Lutheran hymns, written by some of the greatest choral composers the world has ever seen. A good many of these choral settings lie scattered online, somewhat accessible (with German words) to those who know where to look, but not easily found and not ready for use in English. A few have seen the light of day in Lutheran choir books. We’re glad that our heritage has never been completely lost, and we’re very grateful to others who have set about preserving it. But many more treasures lie hidden, and they should be readily available to our Lutheran congregations and schools.

What makes the Bach to Church Project unique?
  • We provide a searchable, easy-to-use online library of specifically Lutheran choir pieces from the 16th-18th centuries.
  • Each setting is clearly engraved in modern notation and paired with an English translation, typically from a modern Lutheran hymnal (The Lutheran HymnalEvangelical Lutheran Hymnary, or Lutheran Service Book).
  • Settings are available for download as PDFs and easy to print for use with a choir.
  • Each setting has a recording accompanying it, as well as separate tracks for learning each part.
  • All of this is available for free. We simply want to preserve and bring back into regular use our Lutheran choral heritage.

Enjoy the treasures of our Lutheran choral music. They are for you. Bach did not primarily write for the concert hall, but for the sanctuary, and the same goes for the other great Lutheran composers. As they now stand around the throne of God in heaven, their delight is Christ, and if they derive any delight from their music continuing in use on earth, it’s because those who likewise delight in Christ and desire to praise Him take up that music and sing it in faith. This is your music and your hymnody. Sing it. Believe it. Love it. And look forward to that day when with Bach and King David, with angels, and archangels, and all the company of heaven, you will evermore praise the Lord.

So far there are five composers: JS Bach, Johann Walter, Johannes Eccard, and Michael Praetorius, and Samuel Scheidt, and the number is growing.

Search by voices, homophonic or polyphone, church year,  and you can even search by hymn number of the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary (ELS 1996), Lutheran Service Book (LCMS 2005), or The Lutheran Hymnal (LCMS 1941).

There are even practice tracks!!! Multiple formats! Live recordings!

Yay, yay, yay! Please help spread the word! 😀

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