The Bach Society of Dayton is the region’s leading presenter of sacred and secular choral masterpieces, performing inspirational works by J.S. Bach and other classical and contemporary composers. We bring the art of great choral singing to Dayton with a regular season of four concerts and a repertory that spans seven centuries.
photo by James DeYoung
The Bach Society Chorus comprises more than 60 accomplished singers, who are accompanied by professional soloists and instrumentalists. We frequently collaborate with guest vocalists, musicians of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Kettering Advent Ringers, Kettering Children’s Choir, Muse Machine, and outstanding high school and college ensembles.
Our mission is to carry on the rich tradition of choral performance at the highest level and to nurture younger singers to develop a passion for singing and an abiding appreciation for choral music.
We actively cultivate young singers through our Collaboration and Outreach efforts, which give singers throughout the region the opportunity to perform at a professional level alongside the Bach Society of Dayton.
We invite you to join us in the adventure of musical discovery. Come to our concerts. Add your voice to our chorus. Support us financially as generously as you can. We rely on people like you to continue to provide the finest choral music to the Miami Valley and beyond.
Our performance venue is the Kettering Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Kettering.
John Neely, Music Director
John Neely is one of the most renowned musicians in the greater Dayton region. He has been Music Director of the Bach Society of Dayton since its inception in 2002. His engaging personality, abundant musical skills and ability to nurture musicians of varied ages make him the ideal musical leader of the Bach Society.
For 32 years John Neely has been Associate Pastor for Music at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Dayton. A superb organist and choral director, he leads an active music program for all ages at Westminster Church, with five choirs and three hand bell ensembles. Westminster offers musical programs that nourish the entire region.
Mr. Neely holds degrees from Duquesne University, Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister. Prior to coming to Dayton he taught at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and at Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio. He has held leadership roles in the American Guild of Organists and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. Mr. Neely is active in the tri-state area as an organ recitalist and choral clinician.
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R. Alan Kimbrough, Accompanist
R. Alan Kimbrough, a professor of English at the University of Dayton, is well known within the Dayton arts community as an outstanding organist-accompanist. Dr. Kimbrough was the accompanist for the former Dayton Bach Society from 1974 to 2002. He is a long-time member of the American Guild of Organists and is currently a co-organist at the First Baptist Church of Dayton.
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Board of Directors and Staff
The Bach Society of Dayton is governed by a Board of Directors, consisting of chorus members and community leaders from outside the chorus, who volunteer their time to secure our future by solidifying our funding, marketing, operations, and visibility. Board and officer elections are held annually.
The current officers and directors of the corporation are:
William Spohn, President
Bond R. Hattershire, Treasurer
R. Alan Kimbrough, Secretary
David Grupe, Operations Manager
Laurana Wong, Administrative Support
The Bach Society is also served by task groups that meet occasionally to assist in marketing and outreach, development, education, and governance. If you are interested in helping in those areas, please contact David Grupe at 937-294-2224.
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The Bach Society of Dayton was formed in 2002 by a core group of choral singers from the former Dayton Bach Society, which performed from 1974 to 2002, with a focus on early music performance and the music of J.S Bach. The singers were so committed to continuing the Bach Society’s tradition of classical choral excellence that they served as board members as well as volunteer singers for the new organization. John Neely, who was asked to guest conduct the first concert, has been our music director from the very start, and R. Alan Kimbrough has been our accompanist throughout our history.
The new Bach Society of Dayton presented its inaugural concert on December 8, 2002, featuring the Kettering Children’s Choir as guest artists. Since 2002, the organization has established a reputation for inspiring performances of the greatest classical works for chorus and orchestra, including Mozart’s Requiem and Grand Mass in C Minor, and J. S. Bach’s Magnificat, St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, and Mass in B Minor. For an account of all the works, large and small, that Bach Society of Dayton has performed over the years, consult our Concert Reference Guide.