Louisville Bach Society
Founded 1964 by Melvin and Margaret Dickinson


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Remembering the 47 year history of an extraordinary musical heritage

Photos on this page:  Moses Photography (c) May 1, 2011

THE LOUISVILLE BACH SOCIETY was founded by Melvin and Margaret Dickinson in 1964, with its initial performance in October of 1964 at Calvary Episcopal Church. The Society began with 16 singers, and has expanded to between 60 and 70 over the years. The LBS performs choral masterpieces covering all musical periods, including contemporary composers who have written especially for LBS. Its specialty and charge is Bach, by virtue of the name of the organization, and the community has heard the LBS perform a repertoire of all Bach’s motets, Masses, Passions, Oratorios, the Magnificat in D, and 144 of his 220-plus Cantatas.

For many years, the LBS has specialized in concerts for children, realizing that herein lies the opportunity to educate our young people into the world of Bach and other classical composers. Dr. John Hale has opened doors to thousands of area children through these concerts.

In 2008, the Louisville Bach Society branched out into a new venture. Taking seriously the challenge of both encouraging and nurturing young singers who could be the backbone of serious music in our country, the LBS initiated the Gerhard Herz Young Artists Competition in Vocal Performance. The competitions continued in 2009 and 2010. The number of these young singers entering the three competitions was astonishingly many, and the level of talent that was uncovered is equally astonishing and most encouraging for the future of serious music in America. Two of our past winners are soloists in the B Minor Mass today: Youngmi Kim, soprano; and Angela Smucker, alto. Ruthanne Fulton, soprano, was a finalist as well.

Melvin Dickinson is one the longest-serving conductors anywhere in the world. Of the hundreds of works he has conducted, he easily names Bach’s B Minor Mass as the most thrilling for him. It is fitting, then, that a performance of the Mass be the last ever concert of the Louisville Bach Society. It is with regret that Margaret and Melvin Dickinson see this organization of 47 years come to an end, but financial and other circumstances dictate that outcome. They offer profound thanks to all the musicians and supporters who have kept the LBS true to its mission “to promote, conduct, operate, participate in, exclusively for educational and charitable purposes, an organization devoted to the musical arts and particularly the music of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH.”
(Articles of Incorporation, 1965)
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Heartfelt gratitude is extended to all the generous agencies, patrons and sponsors who made the Louisville Bach Society possible.

Recent News


Melvin Dickinson's many friends and admirers were saddened to learn of his death on January 31, 2014. 

Dona nobis pacem.



The Louisville Bach Society performed Bach's Mass in B Minor as its final performance on May 1, 2011.

The church was filled to capacity with families and friends who traveled from as far away as Germany to share in the milestone performance.

A sustained ovation for the chorus, soloists, and orchestra, and, most of all, for Melvin and Margaret, showed appreciation for a remarkable performance ... and an enduring legacy.

Prior to the concert, Dr. John Hale offered a special tribute to the Dickinsons after his pre-concert lecture.  Representatives from Congressman John Yarmuth's office presented the Dickinsons with a special certificate of recognition.

Following the concert, a reception for the Dickinsons was held at Pincecrest, the home of Allan and Nancy Morris.



Courier Journal 4/30/2011:
Bach Society's grand finale:  The Dickinsons' devotion honored



Arts Louisville 4/25/2011:
Louisville Bach Society Final Performance



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