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Michael D. Costello is the Cantor at Grace Lutheran Church and School in River Forest, IL. At Grace he conducts the Senior Choir, the Youth Choir, directs the Bach Cantata Vespers ministry, and serves as the principal organist. Before coming to Grace, Michael was the Assistant Pastor and Director of Music Ministries at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in Columbia, SC, and Adjunct Instructor for Liturgical Ministries at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, also in Columbia. Michael holds degrees from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC, and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. He is married to Rebekah Weant Costello and has a son, Andrew Doyle Costello, and a daughter, Lydia Marie Costello.

Laura Zimmer is an Assistant Cantor at Grace Lutheran Church, primarily serving as organist and accompanist. She also is the Administrative Assistant in the Music Department at Concordia University in River Forest. Laura has two degrees from Concordia, River Forest, including a BA in Elementary Education and a Master of Church Music. She and her husband, Dennis, have four children.

Bach Cantata Vespers Committee

Paul Bouman Minister of Music Emeritus
The Rev. Bruce K. Modahl Senior Pastor
Marilyn Busse

Financial Secretary

The Rev. Michael D. Costello Cantor
Gwen Gotsch Music Assistant and Communications
Carlos Messerli Cantata Background and Notes
Carl Schalk Retired Music Assistant

Frequent Soloists

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Mezzo-soprano Cynthia Anderson has performed with many American orchestras and choral organizations, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Honolulu Symphony, Chicago Sinfonietta, St. Louis Symphony, and Chicago’s Music of the Baroque. Born to Lutheran missionary parents in Tokyo, she graduated from Luther College and received a Master of Arts degree in music from Concordia University Chicago. She maintains a private teaching studio, is Director of Music at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Villa Park, and directs choral groups at Concordia and College of DuPage.

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Baritone Douglas Anderson, a long-standing member of Grace Lutheran Church and its choir, has been soloist at the Vesper Cantata services frequently since 1978. He has also been a soloist many times with Chicago’s Music of the Baroque since 1988. Most recently he performed as soloist in the Evanston Bach Music Festival performance of the St. John Passion of Bach. Dr. Anderson is also a neurosurgeon and Professor at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. He is married to Ann, who often performs as flutist at Grace Lutheran Church. They are the parents of four children, all of whom are trained in music.

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Alto Karen Brunssen is Associate Professor of Music at Northwestern University and Coordinator of Voice and Opera.  She is a graduate of Luther College and the Yale School of Music. Ms. Brunssen has performed frequently with major orchestras and organizations across America and in Europe in roles drawn from a wide-ranging repertoire that extends from Baroque to contemporary music. She is a member of Grace and has performed in Bach cantatas here many times. 

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Tenor Christopher M. Cock is Professor of Music at Valparaiso University, where he is Director of Choral and Vocal Activities, the Bach Institute, and holds the Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Chair in Lutheran Music. He has appeared as a solo artist with Maestros Robert Shaw and Helmut Rilling and with many major symphony orchestras and at festivals in the United States. He frequently appears in his signature role as a Bach Evangelist and often has been a soloist at Grace’s Bach Cantata Vespers services.

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Soprano Maura Janton Cock is an Adjunct Instructor of Voice at Valparaiso University and Administrative Assistant of the Bach Institute on that campus. She has appeared as soloist in oratorios, passions and cantatas at Valparaiso and most recently for the Michigan Bach Collegium, Bach Chamber Choir and Orchestra of Rockford, IL, and the Miami Bach Society. In December 2009 she was a soloist in presentations of Bach’s Magnificat and Vivaldi’s Gloria at Valparaiso. In recent years she frequently has been a soloist in Grace’s cantatas.

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Tenor Kurt R. Hansen, a member of the faculty of Northwestern University, has performed in Europe, the Far East and South America, as well as in many cities across the United States.  Although he has specialized as a performer in Bach’s cantatas and passions, his repertoire is not limited to Bach. An active recitalist, he has sung major cycles of Fauré, Schumann and Schubert. He has performed as soloist in works of Monteverdi, Mozart, Verdi, Strauss, Mussorgsky, Mahler and Britten with many major orchestras and opera companies. One of his fondest memories was being chosen to sing the role of Rodrigo in Verdi’s Otello with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to celebrate the late Sir George Solti’s 75th birthday in an internationally telecast tribute. Mr. Hansen currently makes his home in Glenview, IL, with his wife, Theresa Brancaccio and two sons, Kristofer and Alex.

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Soprano Susan Krout earned her Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Church Music degrees from Concordia University Chicago, where she is Assistant Professor of Music and teaches applied voice. Ms. Krout is an active performer, vocal instructor and church musician. She has appeared locally as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Mcdowell Artists Association, and several times at Grace. She is a member of the Chicago Symphony and the Grant Park Festival Choruses and, as such, is a frequent performer in solo/small ensembles for concerts, recordings, tours and television appearances. In addition to teaching applied voice privately, Ms. Krout is the Minister of Music at Christ Episcopal Church in River Forest.

Frequent Orchestra Members

Betty Lewis, Paul Zafer, Carol Yampolsky, Karen Nelson,
Lou Torick, Nina Saito, Helen Blazie, Ralph Boyd, Laura Zimmer

Naomi Hildner, David Tartakoff, Becky Coffman Viola
Susan Ross, Vicki Mayne, Ann Monson Cello
Judith Hanna Double Bass
Cindy Fudala, Donna Port, Ann Anderson Flute
Meg Busse, Christine Phillips, Nancy Hagen Oboe
Candace Horton, Greg Fudala, Andrew Bruhn Trumpet
Jonathan Boen, Robert Johnson Horn
Kyle Bellin, Tina Laughlin  Timpani