Bach Cantata Vespers at Grace.

The music.

Johann Sebastian Bach composed church cantatas throughout his life, especially during his first years as Cantor at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. Bach used his extraordinary musical gifts and imagination to communicate God’s love and grace to people journeying through the trials of this life. Nearly 200 of these sacred cantatas survive, each one a unique and rewarding musical experience.

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The setting.

The resonant acoustics of the Grace Church sanctuary, its outstanding Berghaus organ, and the warmth of wood and stained glass windows provide a beautiful setting for afternoon vespers worship.

Services begin with an instrumental prelude at 3:45 p.m. — an orchestral piece, chamber music, or an organ prelude by a guest organist. Evening Prayer with its opening Service of Light begins at 4:00 p.m. Come early for a live preview lecture about the cantata at 3:00 p.m.

There is no admission fee; a free-will offering is received during the service.


Schedule of services.

Cantatas are presented one Sunday afternoon each month, from September through November and January through May.

2024-25 schedule

Join us!

Bach Cantata Vespers services are held at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division Street, in River Forest, Illinois. River Forest is nine miles west of downtown Chicago, and there is plenty of free parking. Grace is handicapped accessible and a nursery is available during services for young children.