The 22nd annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival will return to the area June 8-15. Most of the concerts will be held in Eastern Mennonite University’s Lehman Auditorium, however one will also be held at First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg. (Photo courtesy of Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival)

Annual Bach festival set to return to EMU for 22nd installment

Mary Kay Adams considers classical music more than a pleasant pastime.

“It adds a beauty and an enjoyment [to life]. … It touches the deepest part of our soul in a way not much else does,” she remarked.

As the executive director of the 22nd annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival (SVBF), Adams is looking forward to sharing her passion for classical music at the week-long event to be held June 8-15 at Eastern Mennonite University.

Adams, who estimates the event draws a crowd of roughly 4,000 annually, says the festival is respected nationwide for its high-quality performances, and even attracts some international audience members. According to Adams, the Virginia Commission for the Arts even called the SVBF the “jewel in Harrisonburg’s crown.”

“It’s such an intense week,” she added. “The musicians are playing from the moment they get to town until they leave 10 days later.”

This year’s featured musical artists include Kenneth Nafziger, Marvin Mills, Sharla Nafziger, Barbara Rearick, Kenneth Gayle, Daniel Lichti, Diane Phoenix-Neal, Sandra Gerster, Emma Resmini and Judith Saxton.

Adams says that Nafziger — the artistic director/conductor — keeps the shows fresh from year to year.

“He makes a point of making it new,” she praised.

Though the SVBF will offer classical music from six different eras, the festival is named in honor of Johann Sebastian Bach, a German composer born in 1685.

“Most of the composers who came afterwards, to this day, use his music as a model,” explained Adams, adding that Bach’s works are at the event’s “heart.”

Adams encourages all locals to attend the festival, and says there’s no need to be a musical expert. With the help of program guide notes and explanations from the stage, she insists that even a novice can enjoy the experience.

“The music lover is really going to understand and appreciate everything going on with this … but we really do try to get people who don’t know much about classical music in there, too.”

Three-concert ticket packages cost $60 for adults; $50 for seniors ages 65 and older, and $15 for youth ages 22 and younger.

Advance single tickets cost $25 for adults; $20 for seniors and $5 for youth; tickets cost $2 more at the door.

Tickets for groups of 12 or larger cost $20 for adults; $15 for seniors and $5 for youth.

Donations collected for leipzig and noon chamber music series.

Tickets may be purchased at the door, online at or by calling 432-4582.

Schedule of Events

  • Concert 1: 3 p.m. June 8 at the Lehman Auditorium on EMU campus.
  • Concert 2: 7:30 p.m. June 13 at the Lehman Auditorium on EMU campus.
  • Concert 3: 7:30 p.m. June 14 at the Lehman Auditorium on EMU campus.
  • Leipzig Service: 10 a.m. June 15 at the Lehman Auditorium on EMU campus.
  • Noon Chamber Music Series: 12 p.m. June 9-14 at the First Presbyterian Church in Harrisonburg.
  • Father’s Day Brunch following the leipzig service June 15 in the Northlawn Dining Hall. Make reservations online by June 1.

For a complete list, visit

Courtesy of the Daily News Record, May 14, 2014