Standing Ovation & Capacity Crowd Open the Festival!

The Fourth Bach Music Festival of Canada is officially opened – and what an opening night it was!

John Avey & Marlene Fagan delighted the full house with gorgeous renditions of show favourites. Warmth, humour, friendship and memories set the tone for the Festival concerts yet to come.

It’s going to be a fabulous weekend of concerts with Leopoldo Erice, Spanish pianist, on tap tonight. For full information check out our website, Facebook or call our Box Office at 519 235 2622.

Here’s What You’ve Been Waiting For!


Artistic Director Gerald Fagan, and the Board of the Bach Festival are happy to announce that preparations for the Bach Festival 2017 are progressing rapidly to provide South Huron and the rest of Ontario with a great new concept for this coming July!!!   Scheduled from July 6 to 16, the Festival is being labelled OUR HOME AND NATIVE LAND, profiling an all-star cast of some of this Province’s finest musicians.

The Festival is proud to announce a great mix of outstanding talent (including fine local musicians).  Some of the leading talents include the return of virtuoso pianist Leopold Erice, a first time appearance in South Huron of world champion fiddler Shane Cook (performing with Exeter legend Jerry Smith), and world class cellist Cameron Crozman (flying in from Paris France with his 12 million dollar Stradivarius cello). The Grand Opening performance will feature baritone John Avey (Metropolitan Opera) with the legendary pianist Marlene Fagan….  again delighting audiences with popular Broadway music of the 60s and 70s.

The Gala Closing performance (Sunday afternoon July 16) will be a blockbuster performance featuring over 200 musicians.  Four icon solo singers;  Leslie Fagan (soprano),   Anita Krause (alto),  Colin Ainsworth (tenor), and John Avey (bass);  will headline the Festival Massed Choir (with core choirs  CHOR AMICA of London,  the South Huron Choir, “that other choir”,  and choristers representing over 25 choral groups from across Ontario.  All of these singers will perform with the outstanding Festival Symphony Orchestra (Concert Master Sig Martin of Grand Bend).  The Gala Closing performance is a departure from the past in every way.  Four new Canadian songs will have their first performance during the concert, as four Ontario composers have been commissioned to write new material;   all of which will be heard for the first time at the Gala.

Local musicians continue to have a prominence in July. Jeff Smallman (Hensall)  is one of the commissioned composers;   Jerry Smith (former Fiddling Champion)  is performing with Shane Cook;   Dr. Richard Heinzle (Organist at Trivitt Anglican Church) is giving an organ recital;  and The South Huron Choir is a core group  in the Gala closing ceremonies.    Coming soon to the Times Advocate will be the announcement of the names of local youth taking part ……a great feature at the last three Bach Festivals.

So keep those dates (July 6 to 16) set aside for listening to great music as Exeter opens its doors to the fourth exciting edition of the Bach Festival!!

Thank you from Gerald Fagan

Bach Festival Artistic Director Thanks Community!

In two weeks time, my wife Marlene and I travel to Ottawa for the ceremony whereby I receive the Order of Canada. Although I am proud of this achievement, at the same time I am very humble at being chosen. One realizes early in life, that one’s achievements are because of the kindness of many people met along the way. It is with this knowledge, that I thank the numerous people from Exeter and South Huron who were front and centre in offering my name for consideration to the Governor General. I will never know exactly who you were, but I do know that it was because of your actions that we are travelling to Ottawa soon.

When Friedhelm Hoffmann, the Chairman of the Board, and I thought of the Bach Festival situating in Exeter, we were met with much skepticism from sources outside the area. For the last seven years, the efforts of countless performers, politicians, donors, businesses and volunteers have made it possible to make The Bach Music Festival of Canada a reality. The number of folk is in the hundreds, if not thousands who have either participated or attended performances . This I did not accomplish; it was the efforts of good people working together which made the Festival so successful.

So now , the hard working Board of Directors is gearing up for Festival 2017, which we have named “OUR HOME AND NATIVE LAND”. This July we will present an all Canadian cast of performers (including many world class musicians, and great local artists). As the weeks go by, exciting news of singers and players coming to South Huron will be publicized. It promises to be a thrilling time in July as we celebrate Canada and Ontario’s Anniversary.

Thank you all for the kindness shown to me and my family in the time spent in South Huron…..these are memories never forgotten.

Gerald Fagan C.M., O.Ont.

Artistic Director,

The Bach Music Festival of Canada

We’re Looking For ‘Bachers’

Our Volunteers are busy contacting our ‘Bachers’ for the 2017 Festival.

We present World Class Artists during our Festival for the benefit of

all our Patrons. ‘Bach’ us in this effort to bring Excellence in the 

Performing Arts to South Huron and become a sponsor,

or donor, or volunteer to give ‘Bach’ to the community.


A Unique Handel’s Messiah

Get yourself in the Christmas Spirit on Saturday, November 19th, 7:30 p.m. at Oakridge Presbyterian Church, 970 Oxford St. West in London. Please join us to sing the Hallelujah Chorushandels-messiah-nov-19-2016!

Gerald Fagan Receives Order of Canada

Exeter Times-Advocate

EXETER – The co-founder of the Bach Music Festival of Canada recently received the highest honour a civilian can achieve in Canada.

Gerald Fagan was named a Member of the Order of Canada in July. In a press release, the Bach Music Festival said the recognition is for Fagan’s “over half a century of music performances across Canada, and his dedication to choral art internationally.”

Fagan co-founded the Bach Music Festival of Canada, based in South Huron, in 2011, and has served as the festival’s volunteer artistic director since. He told the Times-Advocate recently that he was both very humbled and very happy to be made a Member of the Order of Canada. Fagan was quick to credit the people he has worked with over the years, explaining that you don’t receive accolades unless people help you along the way.

The Order of Canada is the latest of many honours Fagan has received during his career, including being made a recipient of the Order of Ontario in 2011 and the Citizen of the Year in London in 1994. During his career, Fagan was artistic director of Fanshawe Chorus London, the Gerald Fagan Singers and the Concert Player Orchestra. He also founded the Toronto Mendelssohn Youth Choir, twice conducting the Ontario Youth Choir and directing provincial choirs in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario, as well as conducting choirs from around the world.

He was twice awarded the Ontario Lieutenant-Governor’s Award and has toured internationally.

He said he felt “extreme elation” over his most recent honour.

“It’s beyond comprehension, really,” he told the T-A.

He said that when festival co-founder Friedhelm Hoffmann first spoke to him around 2010 about starting up the Bach Festival, people said it was impossible because nothing like it had ever been done before in the area, but that made Fagan and Hoffmann even more determined. Fagan said Exeter was seen as a good choice to base the festival out of because of its location in the middle of some of the most productive agricultural land in Canada, its proximity to the busy Lake Huron beachfront and its closeness to about 1.5 million people in London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Stratford, Goderich and Sarnia.

More importantly, Fagan said, South Huron has an incredible mix of talented people. He said when the festival’s board of directors first met, there was excitement immediately.

The festival is held every other summer in South Huron, and its fourth will be held next summer. Over the years, it has evolved as it has learned what audiences enjoy. It now incorporates classical, jazz and country music, as well as holding a major youth program.

Fagan said one of the reasons for the festival’s success is the local support, including from South Huron council and Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, the latter which helped get the festival started with monetary support and continues to allow the festival to hold its performances at the church.

“Without Trivitt and South Huron council, we never could have started,” Fagan said, adding Mayor Maureen Cole, Deputy Mayor David Frayne and Coun. Wayne DeLuca have been great supporters.

He also credited the festival’s board of directors, local businesses and volunteers, as well as festival manager Jean Jacobe, who co-ordinates it all.

Fagan and the Bach Festival are already busily working towards the next festival, to be held in the summer of 2017, and changes are afoot — unlike past festivals, which were a week-long, next year’s will be held over two, four-day weekends on the first two weekends in July.

Fagan said the reason for switching to consecutive long weekends (Thursday to Sunday) is that the Bach Festival discovered that mid-week concerts are difficult for out-of-towners to attend because of the driving involved.

In addition, to mark Canada’s 150th birthday next summer, the Bach Festival will celebrate Canada, and all the performers will be from Canada, with most of them from Ontario. The closing gala performance will be called “Our Home and Native Land,” and the festival has commissioned six Canadian composers (including Hensall’s Jeff Smallman) to each write five minutes of music. The pieces will each be separated by a “prominent” narrator, Fagan said. The show will be scored for 200 minutes and will include a mass choir, symphony orchestra, children’s choir and four internationally known Canadian soloists.

In addition, Fagan said the festival will feature the Chor Amica and The Bach Festival Chamber Orchestra, while he hopes to see the popular Youth Arts Program expanded.


Hot on the Heels of our very successful Summer Youth Art Program, Facilitator/Artist Extraordinaire Catherine Weber has developed ART DAYS for youth during this school year’s PD Days!

Here are all the awesome details:

2015-2016 PD Day Art Classes for Young Artists in Grades 1-8

Dear Parents:

• Early Bird registration $50.00 for grades 5-8, and $35.00 for grades 1-4 Art Classes

• Early bird payments are always accepted until the Friday prior to a P.A.Day

*Regular price $60 for gr 5-8 and $40 for gr 1-4 (Art classes)

If you would like to commit to all five P.D.Day Art Classes, it is $235.00 for gr 5-8 and $165.00 for gr 1- 4 to be paid prior or first day of class

* Cheques payable to: Caven Presbyterian Church

Instructors: Catherine Weber and Stephanie Talbot

Where: Caven Presbyterian Church, 68 Main Street South , Exeter ON NOM 1S1 519-235-2784

Hours: 9:00 am – 2:30 pm

2015 – 2016 Dates:

•Nov. 6 – drawing /watercolor and ink

•Dec 21 (we added that = not a PD Day) – Christmas arrangement

•Feb 3 – clay

•April 22 – weaving

•June 10 – create your own t-shirt or bag

•an exhibition of work to follow

Registration Form attached here (*you can print these forms and mail to the included address, or print, fill in, scan and email to the email address below) : PD DAY – Registration Form for Childrenjj (1)

Contact: 519 234-6711/ 519 235-2784/

**Be sure to bring your own sketch book, a lunch and two snacks

If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me or call at 519 234-6711


Catherine Weber




Rarely Performed ST MATTHEW PASSION a Festival Highlight!

The Bach Festival of Canada announces its Gala Performance of the

St Matthew Passion

JS Bach’s great Choral and Orchestral Composition

Conducted by Artistic Director GERALD FAGAN

Bach’s monumental work with a double choir of over 100 voices, full orchestra and 6 soloists, performed in the pastoral setting of South Huron. This gala performance will close the week of Concerts & Events of the third Bach Festival. Truly music in the heart of the community!

Bach’s St Matthew Passion still deeply moves audiences nearly three centuries after it was first heard in St. Thomas’s Church in Leipzig, Germany. Written in the late 1720’s, it is considered one of the great works of Western sacred music, as it is both monumental and intimate. Rarely performed because of the demanding double choir, it is therefore an honour to present to our Bach Festival community and a rare treat to hear!

Calling it “the most profound musical statement of the crucifixion known to western civilization”, conductor Gerald Fagan believes this is the first performance of the St Matthew Passion in Huron County! A performance not to missed and likely not repeated for many years to come. 

Artistic Director Gerald Fagan
Artistic Director Gerald Fagan


Saturday July 18 2015

Venue: South Huron Recreation Centre
Time: 7:00pm

Tickets: $30 for Adult & $25 for Student

Due to the kind support of our Festival sponsors, ticket prices are extremely low for this once in a lifetime event.

Leslie Fagan
Leslie Fagan


Colin Ainsworth
Colin Ainsworth
Daniel Lichti
Daniel Lichti


Laura Pudwell
Laura Pudwell


John Avey
John Avey
James McLennan
James McLennan