A Message from the Artistic Director

November 28, 2022

Dear friends of the Bach Ensemble,

Performing the sacred cantatas of J. S. Bach requires having highly trained and capable musicians. If you’ve attended a Bach Vespers, you have witnessed firsthand what creative and talented artists we have in the Bach Ensemble. Month after month they come together and learn the incredibly intricate parts of a cantata, and perform them at the highest level in our services.

To do this well not only takes years of training but incredible talent and dedication. I am humbled and grateful to be able to lead these musicians. I am also thankful for the generosity of our patrons who make it possible to compensate these musicians at an appropriate level. The Bach Vespers is a treasure to our area, but it takes “treasure” to make it happen.

Did you know…

  • $2000-3500: The cost of Bach Vespers service.
  • $2000: Sponsors a Bach Ensemble member for an entire season
  • $1500: Sponsors a Bach Scholar for a season.
  • $300: The cost of a score and parts for a cantata.
  • $40,000: Our total annual budget for the Bach Ensemble. This amount comes entirely from our donors and grants and is not a part of the operating budget of St. Thomas.

It takes a lot to make the music happen: hard-working and talented musicians to study and prepare, and gracious and generous patrons to make their work possible.

If you haven’t made a gift to the Bach Ensemble in 2022, I ask that you consider doing so. Gifts of any amount are greatly appreciated and put to good use. You can give in several ways:

If you have given this year, thank you. We could not do this without you.

I look forward to seeing you in 2023, as we prepare for the exciting arrival of our new organ in the fall!

Best wishes,

Carlton Monroe

Introducing Seven Hills Baroque!

Ensemble-in-Residence at St. Thomas 
In conjunction with the Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas

Sunday, April 11, 5:00 p.m.
Link to view performance: https://youtu.be/toizwSQMvYk

The Bach Ensemble is proud to introduce you to Cincinnati’s newest early music ensemble, Seven Hills Baroque. Dedicated to historically informed performances, the 7HB features some of our areas most talented musicians. We hope that you will enjoy this premiere on Youtube this Sunday, April 11 at 5:00 p.m., and look for more wonderful music from this group.


Events – 2021

Back to Bach! A Conversation and Recital

Erik Anderson, cello
Sunday, February 21, 5:00 p.m.
Via Zoom (register to attend here)

Cellist and BEST friend Erik Anderson returns for another invigorating afternoon of conversation and great music. Using the music of J. S. Bach as a backdrop, Erik leads a fascinating discussion, encouraging comments and questions from the audience.

Register to attend here!

Virtual Vespers, BWV 55

Mish Eusebio, soloist
Sunday, March 7, 5:00 p.m.
Premiered on Youtube

The BEST returns with a virtual performance of Cantata 55, with tenor Mish Eusebio as soloist. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra oboist Lon Bussell performs a solo sonata by C. P. E. Bach, and Artistic Director Carlton Monroe will share a special reflection.

Concert: Seven Hills Baroque

Sunday, April 11, 5:00 p.m.
Premiered on Youtube

Cincinnati’s exciting new ensemble, Seven Hills Baroque, will present its first concert in vitual fashion.

The New Fritts Organ at St. Thomas

Jason Gunnell
Wednesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m.

St. Thomas and Bach Ensemble organist Jason Gunnell will present a live-streamed lecture on Youtube introducing the new instrument to be installed in 2021. Jason will give an overview of the basic anatomy of an organ, tour the current instrument in the church, and then share details of the new instrument from master-builder Paul Fritts of Tacoma, Washington.

Virtual Vespers, BWV 35

Lauren McAllister, alto
Sunday, May 2, 5:00 p.m.

The BEST concludes its spring series with a performance of Cantata 55 with soloist Lauren McAlister.

Bach is Back!

A message from the Artistic Director:

I am very pleased to share the good news: Bach is Back! The Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas has been on an extended hiatus as we grappled with the effects of the pandemic through 2020 and into this year. Because the heart and soul of the BEST experience has always been the in-person experience of Bach Vespers, the challenge to envision what our organization could be given the necessary restrictions what great.

As we continue forward, we are pleased to offer in the upcoming months a variety of programs, online-services, and presentations centered around the music of J. S. Bach. This includes two “Virtual Vespers” presented on Youtube, a special Zoom conversation and recital by patron-favorite and cellist Erik Anderson, a online concert by one of the most exciting new ensembles in Cincinnati (and new Ensemble-in-Residence at St. Thomas!), the Seven Hills Baroque; and a wonderful presentation by St. Thomas organist Jason Gunnell, who will give an introduction to the new organ from master organ-builder Paul Fritts which will be installed at St. Thomas is just one short year away!

Please visit our Events page to get all of the details on the wonderful offerings in the coming months. Thank you for your continued support during this challenging time. We are glad to return to bringing you “Timeless Music Today.”

Best wishes,

Carlton Monroe

Bach Vespers for March 15 CANCELLED

The Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas is sorry to announce that this Sunday’s Bach Vespers service has been cancelled, due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

We do so with heavy hearts, as we recognize that in difficult times art can bring comfort and inspiration to us all. But given the concerns about gatherings of people in small spaces and the increased chance of transmission, we felt this decision to be in our musicians and our patrons best interest.

We look forward to bringing Bach’s music to life again soon, and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Bach Vespers – February 9, 2020


Amiens05-largeMy vessel of sorrow is completely
filled up with tears

Sunday, February 9, 5:00 p.m.

The Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas will perform J. S. Bach’s Cantata 13 “My Sighs, My Tears” as part of the Bach Vespers service on Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

Although composed to accompany the story of the Wedding at Cana, Bach takes the cantata is a different direction, exploring the nature of grief and the desire for transformation. Soloists include Bach Young Artists Hayley Maloney, Kate Gardin, and Mish Eusebio, as well as bass Stephen Hanna.

The prelude for the service will feature three soloists from the Cincinnati Symphony—flutist Randy Bowman, oboist, Dwight Parry, and violinist Charles Morey—performing a concerto by G. P. Telemann.

Come early for a special pre-Vespers talk by Douglas Easterling in the church parlor. Following the Vespers, join the musicians for a celebratory reception.



Recital: Erik Anderson, cello

DA_013 (1)FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 7:30pm

The Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas welcomes back cellist Erik Anderson for an evening of stimulating conversation and exquisite music making on Friday, January 10 at 7:30pm at St. Thomas. Erik is joined by B.E.S.T. Artistic Director Carlton Monroe and this season’s Young Artists Hayley Maloney, Kate Gardin, and Mish Eusebio. The recital is free and open to the public.

Bach Vespers – December 8, 2019

I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

Sunday, December 8, 5:00 p.m.

The Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas presents a Baroque gem, Bach’s Cantata 132, Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn (“Prepare the way, prepare the roads”) on Sunday, December 8, at 5:00pm at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Cantata 132 is a meditation on one of the central figures of Advent, John the Baptist. The cantata will feature soloists Hayley Maloney, soprano, Bree Bragg, alto, Sam Krausz, tenor, and Hayden Smith, bass.

Come early for a special pre-Vespers talk by Douglas Easterling in the church parlor. Following the Vespers, join the musicians for a celebratory reception.



Bach Vespers – November 24, 2019

40448709-winter-sunsetLife and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.

-Lao Tzu

Two cantatas, and two perspectives. The May Festival Youth Chorus joins with the Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas to present two cantatas, composed nearly three hundred years ago, that resonant with the same questions that we face today.

Join us on Sunday, November 24 at 5:00pm for Bach Vespers.

Come early for a special pre-Vespers talk by Douglas Easterling in the church parlor. Following the Vespers, join the musicians for a celebratory reception.

2019-11-24 Poster


Bach Vespers – October 20, 2019

Wedding_Feast_at_Cana,_Cathedral,_Toledo,_Spain_(14469946398)We are Storytellers.

Ich geh und suche mit Verlangen, BWV 49 – J. S. Bach

The story of a wedding is at the heart of Bach’s Cantata 49, Ich geh und suche mit Verlangen, which the Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas will perform on Sunday, October 20 at 5:00pm as part of a Bach Vespers service.

Soloists Josefien Stoppelenberg and Michael Young are featured in this Dialogus cantata. Organist Jason Gunnell is the featured soloist both in the cantata, and with two significant works by Bach for organ as the prelude and postlude to the service.

Joining the Bach Ensemble is the Schola Cantorum of St. Thomas, singing plainsong psalms, canticles, and service music, along with a motet by Charles Wood, Oculi Omnium.

Come early for a special pre-Vespers talk by Douglas Easterling in the church parlor. Following the Vespers, join the musicians for a celebratory reception.

2019-10-20 Poster