History of Bach Parley
The Tallahassee Bach Parley was incorporated not-for-profit in the State of Florida in September 1981, following its first concert in August of that year. From its inception, the Parley has been a community-based organization, though it has presented a large number of guest soloists and ensembles as well.
The Parley's purposes are to present vital, interesting, and informative performances of primarily Baroque music, with special sensitivity to style and other traditions, using period instruments as much as possible. For many years, a choir auditioned from the community presented Bach choral works in programs that also featured solo and ensemble works. Some of the early dress rehearsals were open to the public; and educational commentary on the musical works and the instruments has always been an important feature of Parley concerts. Special programs have included a "Charles Burney Travelogue"; "German Kaffee Haus" events; and “Kids Go For B’roque,” a popular event featuring talented young musicians from the community.
Guest artist concerts sponsored by the Parley have presented specialists in the performance of Baroque music, among them the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Baroque cellist Anner Bylsma, London Baroque, the Kuijken Quartet, baritone Max van Egmond, organist Peter Williams, the Kirkby-Rooley Duo, the Palladian Ensemble, Baroque violinist Monica Huggett, and the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra with Baroque dancers. Most of these guests presented master classes at the Florida State University College of Music; and excerpts from two concerts (London Baroque and the Kuijken Quartet) were broadcast on National Public Radio's "Performance Today."
Regular season concerts often feature guest performers also; and special events have included a seminar on harpsichord decoration at the Lemoyne Art Foundation and a lecture/slide show about J. S. Bach co-sponsored by other local organizations. Parley musicians have performed in Bainbridge (GA) [sponsored by Bainbridge College], in Thomasville (GA), in Gainesville (FL), and at a music educators' convention in Tampa.
The first twelve seasons of Parley concerts were performed at Epiphany Lutheran Church on Thomasville Road. Other local venues have included First Presbyterian Church, East Hill Baptist Church, First Baptist Church, St. John's Episcopal Church, Episcopal Church of the Advent, and Florida State University’s Opperman Music Hall.
In the first decade, most musicians on the regular season concerts performed without remuneration. It is to their dedication, and the faithfulness of our audience and supporters, that we owe our existence. The Parley is supported by memberships and donations; and the Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council of Florida’s Department of State have supported many of our efforts through grants.
Karyl Louwenaar Lueck