Music lovers from throughout the area attended the Bach and Handel Chorale's annual fall concert on Saturday at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jim Thorpe. Those who braved the wintry weather were treated to several selections by Johann Sebastian Bach and Dietrich Buxtehude.

The fall concert featured soloists, chorale members and the Festival Orchestra.

The program began with an orchestral piece, "Suite No. 3 in D Major" by Bach, led by chorale founder and conductor Randall D. Perry.

The chorale then joined in with Buxtehude's "Magnificat Anima Mea" ("My Soul doth magnify"), BVW 1068, showing for the first time this season the combined power of the chorale performers and the 23-piece orchestra.

The program's four soloists were featured alongside chorale members in "Gott, wie dein Ruhm" ("God, as thy fame"). Soloists included Meghan Dewald, soprano; Jennifer Laubach, mezzo-soprano; John Calkins, tenor; and Richard Johnson, bass.

The chorale and soloist ended the program with Bach's "Magnificat in D," BWV 243, again featuring solos and duets by the evening's four soloist.

The chorale then broke into its signature "Hallelujah Chorus," by George Fredric Handel. Perry turned to the audience, encouraging them to join in. Many members of the audience sang along to the familiar piece.

As the soloists and chorale members exited the sanctuary, the audience burst into applause.

The chorale will offer its final three Christmas performances this weekend. On Saturday, Dec. 12 the chorale will perform at 3 p.m. at St. Mark's Church on Race Street in Jim Thorpe, and at 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church on Third and Iron streets in Lehighton.

On Sunday, Dec. 13, the chorale will perform at 3 p.m. at the Angela Triplex Theatre in Coaldale. Contact Kathy Ruff at (570) 645-3059 for information and tickets.

The chorale will also offer its annual Easter Concert at St. Mark's on April 10, 2010 at 3 p.m., featuring music by Fred W. Peace and conductor Randall Perry.

The spring concert, featuring the Festival Orchestra and soloists, will take place at 3 p.m. on May 1 at St. Mark's.

The Bach and Handel Chorale was founded by Perry in 1984 to celebrate the 300th anniversaries of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel.

Based in Jim Thorpe, the chorale is an active member of the American Bach Society and performs frequently throughout Carbon County and eastern Pennsylvania.