Bach Choir’s Greg Funfgeld, Bridget George plan to retire
The Bach Choir of Bethlehem has announced that its Artistic Director and Conductor Greg Funfgeld and Executive Director Bridget George will retire in the next two years.
The choir’s board of managers has launched a leadership transition plan to fill both positions, choir Board President Harold Black announced May 22.
Funfgeld will retire in June 2012 after conducting 38 seasons with the Bach Choir and his final Bethlehem Bach Festival in May 2021.
George will retire in December 2020 after 24 years with the choir.
The choir board will set up a search committee for each position this summer.
The international search for an artistic director and conductor will begin in October 2019.
The national search for an executive director will follow in April 2020.
“On behalf of the board, I want to sincerely thank Greg and Bridget for their countless contributions over many years,” said Black.
“While we will be sad to see them go, their retirements are positively well-deserved and follow a long and impressive tenure for both.
“The mission of the Bach Choir will remain the same. The Bach Choir of Bethlehem has been around for 125 years and we plan to be around for at least another 125,” Black said.
Funfgeld has expanded the choir’s programs from the annual Bach Festival to a year-round season of 40 concerts and educational programs, including “Bach to School,” “Bach at Noon” and the “Family Concert” to reach an audience of more than 22,000.
Funfgeld has led the choir on two major concert tours, to Germany and to the United Kingdom. He conducted the choir’s centennial performances at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.
Under Funfgeld’s leadership, the choir has released 14 recordings and coproduced two films, the Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary, “Make a Joyful Noise,” and the Classical Kids’ DVD, “Mr. Bach Comes to Call.”
“The Bach Choir is an extraordinary organization, and our years together have been rewarding, inspiring, challenging and incredibly stimulating, said Funfgeld.
“The people in this organizatoin are incredible. The commitment of the choir, the board of managers, staff, our brilliant soloists and orchestra, our guarantors and listeners from around the world, this has been a loving and supportive family in which to work and grow.
“I consider myself blessed, having been privileged to work with these remarkable people.
“Superlatives are inadequate when speaking of these souls. They are angels in our mist. And our work together has been filled with joy. And many good things are yet to be accomplished.”
Said George, “I came to the Bach Choir not only because of the choir’s amazing legacy, but because of Greg Funfgeld’s extraordinary creative leadership, his musical and spiritual understanding of Bach and his transformative collaborative vision.
“Thanks to Greg, and a board, staff and family of musicians prepared to take creative risks, the 22 years I have spent with the choir have been an exciting time of musical growth, programming initiatives and new partnerships, generously supported by our wonderful donors.
“The result is a strong and vibrant organization and significant expansion of our audience of all ages.
“The careful planning for a new dynamic leadership duo is in great hands with board president Hal Black, and I look forward to the seasons to come with joyful optimism.”