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8/22/2013 2:23:00 PM
Music and monks make for unique festival on hilltop
Mount Angel Abbey photo
Fr. Vincent Trujillo, Prior of Mount Angel Abbey, checks picnic baskets at Abbey Bach Festival.
Mount Angel Abbey photo
Fr. Vincent Trujillo, Prior of Mount Angel Abbey, checks picnic baskets at Abbey Bach Festival.

ST. BENEDICT — Music, monasticism and fair summer evenings mixed again at the annual Mount Angel Abbey Bach Festival.

Guests gathered on the lawn in front of the Abbey church during the afternoon to visit with friends, read and relax in the shade of cedars and other trees. Later, they joined the monks for vespers, a church concert, picnic supper and a feature concert.

Over the past few years the picnic supper menu has been updated and now reflects the influence of abbey chef Paul Lieggi and his Bon Appetit staff. Local ingredients and abbey grown products appear on the menu – Lonely Lane Farms Oktoberfest sausage; Traeger barbecued chicken – and a new highlight on Friday – Abbey smoked salmon salad.

Monks and volunteers work hard on efficient service. All guests receive their picnic supper within just a few minutes after the church concerts.

“I have attended the festival for a few years, and was delighted at how well organized and efficient it was this year," one guest said. "You have a great system. The food was ample and I always appreciate a sweet finish. The cookies were very nice. I can't wait until next year!”

During the picnic, monks circulate, greeting the guests and popping wine corks.
This year’s performances provided a variety of classical music – violin, soprano, piano and string quartet for the feature performances. Church performances included the Martin Ott pipe organ and double choir and orchestra performing Bach Cantatas.

The 2014 festival is set for July 23-25. Feature performers will include Ensemble Caprice, Jean Saulnier (piano) and Marcia Hadjimarkos (forte piano) and Julianne Baird (soprano) along with Sergey Kirillov (organ) and the Tudor Choir. Learn more at: www.mountangelabbey.org/bach-home.htm or Facebook/AbbeyBach/Festival.

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