About the Bach to Church Project
“You know, Bach’s chorale arrangements are all in the public domain, and most of the great Lutheran hymns have English translations in the public domain. Someone just needs to put them together, and then we would have a choral library to last a lifetime.” Thus we mused in 2021, and the Bach to Church Project had its beginning. We quickly realized that we couldn’t stop at Bach. “Here’s a beautiful hymn arrangement by Michael Praetorius, and here’s another by Johannes Eccard, and Johann Walter, and Heinrich Schütz.” And the list of great Lutheran choral composers goes on.
The Lutheran Church has a rich musical heritage, and we want that heritage available to Lutheran congregations and schools. There are many beautiful settings of beloved Lutheran hymns, written by some of the greatest choral composers the world has ever seen. A good many of these choral settings lie scattered online, somewhat accessible (with German words) to those who know where to look, but not easily found and not ready for use in English. A few have seen the light of day in Lutheran choir books. We’re glad that our heritage has never been completely lost, and we’re very grateful to others who have set about preserving it. But many more treasures lie hidden, and they should be readily available to our Lutheran congregations and schools.
What makes the Bach to Church Project unique?
- We provide a searchable, easy-to-use online library of specifically Lutheran choir pieces from the 16th-18th centuries.
- Each setting is clearly engraved in modern notation and paired with an English translation, typically from a modern Lutheran hymnal (The Lutheran Hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, or Lutheran Service Book).
- Settings are available for download as PDFs and easy to print for use with a choir.
- Each setting has a recording accompanying it, as well as separate tracks for learning each part.
- All of this is available for free. We simply want to preserve and bring back into regular use our Lutheran choral heritage.
Enjoy the treasures of our Lutheran choral music. They are for you. Bach did not primarily write for the concert hall, but for the sanctuary, and the same goes for the other great Lutheran composers. As they now stand around the throne of God in heaven, their delight is Christ, and if they derive any delight from their music continuing in use on earth, it’s because those who likewise delight in Christ and desire to praise Him take up that music and sing it in faith. This is your music and your hymnody. Sing it. Believe it. Love it. And look forward to that day when with Bach and King David, with angels, and archangels, and all the company of heaven, you will evermore praise the Lord.
Who We Are
The four of us who began this project are all teachers at Mount Hope Lutheran School in Casper, WY. When we started working together in 2021, we quickly realized that we had soprano, alto, tenor, and bass covered, and we took to singing hymns and Bach chorales. We love our Lutheran hymnody, discovering new choral pieces, and collaborating on original hymns. Collectively we are knowledgeable in Lutheran theology and history, music theory, hymn writing and arranging, web design, choir conducting, audio recording, and music engraving. We are (left to right):
Pastor Andrew Richard
Matters of Copyright
The music in The Collection is all in the public domain. The English translations used in The Collection are either in the public domain or have been used with permission. Texts used with permission are marked accordingly, and we have ensured that such permission also includes the distribution of those texts in the files on this site. Any copyrighted portions of works on the site have been used with permission and may still be reproduced.
The original choral settings and original hymns on the Heirs section of the website are gifts to the Church for her to use as she will. We hope they prove edifying and continue the Lutheran choral tradition.
The recordings throughout the site are likewise for the Church to use in any edifying way. We hope they inspire you to learn the pieces and sing them.
Invitation to Contribute
We’re always on the hunt for Lutheran choral pieces from the 16th-18th centuries. If you are already working with such pieces, have them notated in a program such as Finale or MuseScore, and are willing to contribute the files to this project, please get in touch with us through the form on the Contact page. We would love to make such pieces more widely available through the Bach to Church collection, add recordings and practice tracks for them, and format the PDFs necessary for singing and accompanying.