Cantata services / Special services PDF Print E-mail

St Johns Southgate presents an ongoing series of services incorporating the choral music of J.S. Bach in the context for which it was written, liturgical Lutheran church services.  2014 is its 17th liturgical year.  The series has presented over 100 different cantatas, the B Minor Mass, the Christmas Oratorio, the Magnificat, and several Latin masses in almost 150 events.

A choir presenting a Cantata

The series features the St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra directed by St Johns’ Director of Music, Graham Lieschke.  The services include congregational liturgy and chorales, and organ music on the 1992 Knud Smenge pipe organ (see

Some works are presented in collaboration with other groups.  In 2013, these included the Choir of Trinity College (The University of Melbourne) directed by Michael Leighton-Jones, the Early Music Studio Baroque Ensemble and Early Voices (University of Melbourne), directed by Greg Dikmans, and The Consort of Melbourne.

The St Johns Bach Orchestra plays on period instruments.  The St Johns collection of baroque instruments includes a 1996 Smenge chamber organ, a pair of oboes da caccia, a set of 3 baroque timpani and a pair of cornetti.

Translations and notes on Bach cantatas are available at:

Services include an opportunity to make offerings and donations to support the St Johns Bach Program.  The "St Johns Southgate Bach Foundation Inc" was formed in 2011 to encourage donations and other activities supporting the program.  Donations over $2 are tax-deductible.

To make a donation:
(1) contact the church office at < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
(2) donate on-line (banking details are: ANZ Bank / BSB 013-128 / A/C 2783 73397).  Make sure that you identify yourself with any electronic donation so that you can be sent a receipt for taxation purposes.

Free parking is available at service times.  For enquiries, contact the office on (03) 9682 4995.

Pastor Ian presenting a sermon    A Cantata presented in it's intended setting

Bach Cantata Services for 2014

Events are organised on a rolling basis

9:00 a.m.

Epiphany Festival Eucharist
Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen
(BWV 65)

for 2 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 recorders, 2 oboes da caccia, 2 horns and continuo

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
directed by Graham Lieschke

9:00 a.m.           

Eucharist (Lent 4)
Ihr werdet weinen und heulen
(BWV 103)

for 3 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes d'amore, recorder, trumpet, continuo

Genevieve Lacey (recorder)
Tristram Williams (trumpet)
Sally-Anne Russell (mezzo-soprano)
Daniel Thomson (tenor)

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
directed by Graham Lieschke

9:00 a.m.     

Eucharist (Easter 2)
Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats
(BWV 42)

for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes, bassoon, continuo

Jennifer Cook (soprano)
Sally-Anne Russell (mezzo-soprano)
Daniel Thomson (tenor)
Oliver Mann (bass)

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
directed by Graham Lieschke

Thu/29/May/14 7:30 p.m.


Ascension Day Vespers
Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille
(BWV 120)

for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 2 oboes d'amore, 3 trumpets, timpani and continuo

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
directed by Graham Lieschke

Fri/25/Jul to
Sun/10/Aug/14 Mon-Sat 10am-4pm
(Thu 7/8,Sat 9/8 to 6pm)
Sun 27/7,3/8 12-4pm
Other times by arrangement   

Scenographiae Lipsiacae - Glimpses of Bach's Leipzig from the Lieschke Collection

An exhibition walking through early 18th century Leipzig as Bach saw it.  Outstanding original maps and prints from 16th to 19th centuries, including several rare and iconic items, from the private collection of Graham Lieschke.

Official Opening by Prof. Christoph Wolff - Sat/26/Jul, 4:30pm (within the Melbourne Bach Forum - details at and also in Events Listing on this website.

Admission free.

9:00 a.m.

Eucharist (Pentecost 7)
Es ist das Heil uns kommen her
(BWV 9)

for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, flute, oboe d'amore and continuo

Early Voices (dir. Vivien Hamilton) and
Baroque Ensemble of the Early Music Studio, Faculty of the VCA and MCM, University of Melbourne
directed by
Greg Dikmans

Coinciding with the Bach Symposium to be held at the University of Melbourne and St Johns Southgate (25-26/July) - details at

9:00 a.m.

Eucharist (Pentecost 12)
Tritt auf die Glaubensbahn
(BWV 152)

for 2 soloists, viola d'amore, oboe, recorder viola da gamba and continuo

Soloists from the St Johns Bach Orchestra
directed by Graham Lieschke

9:00 a.m.

Reformation Festival Eucharist
Christen, ätzet diesen Tag
(BWV 63)

for 4 soloists, chorus, strings, 3 oboes, bassoon, 4 trumpets, timpani and continuo

With dedication of the new St Johns harpsichord (concert double by Alastair McAllister after Hans Moermans [1642]).  Service will conclude with Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5/i (BWV1050) with Elizabeth Anderson (harpsichord).

St Johns Bach Choir and Orchestra
directed by Graham Lieschke

Sun/30/Nov/14 9:00 a.m         

Advent Festival Eucharist
O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort
(BWV 20)

for 3 soloists, chorus, strings, 3 oboes, trumpet and continuo

The Choir of Newman College and Newman Baroque Orchestra
directed by Gary Ekkel

A Cello player intense on the task at hand