A Series of Discussions; Bach's Music for Advent and Christmas by Joe Marchio
Wednesdays, at 11 am, EST/8 am, PST 
November 11–December 16, 2020
Registration Status: OPEN
Tour Cost: $10 per session or $50 for series of 6

There is no question that the music of Johann Sebastian Bach is timeless. His melodies for instruments and voices paint beautiful and vivid pictures for our ears to savor. In Leipzig, Bach found employment composing music for both church and civic functions throughout the year, requiring him to write for many occasions using various themes. From inaugurations to ordinations, weddings and funerals, dance, and liturgical music, Bach even wrote a cantata to celebrate a favorite drink of the day–coffee!


Joe Marchio will embark upon a study of the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach as he progresses through the seasons of the year through Bach’s music. Joe will begin with the Advent season, and he will continue in the Spring with music for the Passion and Easter, which will include organ music and cantatas. The study will continue with series for the Summer and Fall.

Johann Sebastian Bach

"Christmas Oratorio" performed by Symphony Orchestra and chorus of the Kharkiv Philharmonic on December 26, 2011, in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine

Advent and Christmas


Some of Bach’s most significant works are, without a doubt, the result of music he composed for Advent and Christmas seasons. These compositions come in all shapes and sizes, some small and some grandiose. For this season of the year, Bach composed three works that many consider to be his very best–Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, Magnificat, and the Christmas Oratorio. During this Armchair Journey, we will travel to Leipzig, and other places associated with Bach, to experience the expectation and joy these and other musical works of Bach possess. 


Joe will delve into the glorious Weihnachtsoratorium, which for me, brought up as a Protestant in a pretty musical family and having studied German, gives me goose-pimples of joy. Over the span of 6 sessions, Joe will discuss Bach’s advent music, its meaning, performances, and the context and history in which it originated.



November 11–Wachet auf, ruft uns Die Stimme, BWV 140

November 18–Magnificat, BWV 243

November 25–Und Mund sei voll Lachens, BWV 110

December 2–Advent and Christmas Organ Works

December 9–Christmas Oratorio, Parts 1 and 2

December 16–Christmas Oratorio, Part 3

The Advent series will begin on Wednesday, November 11, 11:00 AM EST, 8 AM PST. This first series of Bach’s works will continue on Wednesdays at 11 AM for six weeks, through December 16.


Subsequent series and their dates will be announced.

CD Cover for Gardiner's recording of Bach's Christmas Oratorio


Joe Marchio
Instructor & Guide

Joe Marchio is a graduate of the College of Wooster, where he earned both a Bachelor’s degree in organ performance and a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies. He earned a Master of Divinity degree at the Yale University Institute of Sacred Music, and a Master of Music degree in choral conducting at the Boston Conservatory. Joe became Music Director of the Chatham Chorale in 2010. He is also the Pastor and Director of Music of the First Congregational Church of Chatham.

Joan Hill
Owner, Host, & Director

Years ago, it was suggested to Joan that she might offer an art program, and she jumped at the chance of a lifetime. Bringing together all of her life's passions, the development and administration of Artful Journeys is an exhilarating process for Joan.


Joan was born and raised in the apple country of the Hudson River Valley in New York; her father was a gentle, very tolerant, educated land surveyor, and her mother was the efficient business administrator and home engineer. The youngest of four children, Joan was encouraged to pursue anything she wanted, but also to do her best. Sometimes that was very difficult, especially succeeding three very accomplished siblings.


  • Each session will cost $10 or listen to the entire series of 6 for $50

  • PayPal is preferred; however, we do take checks   

  • You will receive an email with the Zoom link to the lecture with instructions on how to login within 24 hours of presentation

To register for a session or the series, please click below:

A Zoom link will be provided by email within 24 hours of each meeting.

For details or questions, please click here to contact Joan Hill.

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