Lindsay Clark of the Juneau Symphony will be one of 10 symphony musicians to take part in the Crystal Saloon’s, “Beer. Brats. Brandenburgs.” event the evening of Oct.1 (Courtesy Photo / Taylor Vidic)

Lindsay Clark of the Juneau Symphony will be one of 10 symphony musicians to take part in the Crystal Saloon’s, “Beer. Brats. Brandenburgs.” event the evening of Oct.1 (Courtesy Photo / Taylor Vidic)

Bach meets weizen-bock

Classical bars to be played at downtown bar

Juneau Symphony music director Christopher Koch knows a thing or two about bringing classical music ‘Bach’ to its roots — the bars.

The Crystal Saloon will present an evening of beer, brats and classical music for an event they’ve appropriately titled Beer. Brats. Brandenburgs, 6-11 p.m., Oct. 1, with music lasting from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.

“I’ve done stuff like this before which is taking what you might call concert hall music and putting it into different situations, which is actually much closer, maybe to the environment the music would have originally been performed in,” Koch said.

Crystal Saloon is partnering with Devil’s Club Brewing Co. to serve two fall releases, which will be served all throughout the month of October, while supplies last, according to Crystal Saloon booking agent Taylor Vidic. Co-owner for Devil’s Club Brewing Evan Wood said the two beers being premiered at the event are Half Note Helles Lager and Johann Weizen-Bock.

All are welcome to attend to learn more about German-style Bock and Märzen as the Crystal kicks off their beer-liest month of the year. Brats will also be available for sale to round out the experience. The Brandenburg Concertos, by Johann Sebastian Bach, date back to 1721 and are considered some of the best orchestral compositions of the Baroque era. The concertos consist of six 3-to-8-minute pieces.

Juneau Symphony music director Christopher Koch. (Courtesy Photo / Christopher Koch)

Juneau Symphony music director Christopher Koch. (Courtesy Photo / Christopher Koch)

According to Koch, music written in the 1700s used to be featured more in less formal settings, there wasn’t a separation between “bar music” and “classical music,” the music being written was for social settings in general.

“Getting dressed up and sitting in a concert hall to hear really any kind of music is relatively new, it’s a 20th century concept,” Koch said. “So, it’s really cool to hear Bach in a brewery or in a warehouse or anywhere else.”

Koch said he has put on similar events in the past in cities he used to live in and he’s now excited to try it out in Juneau. Koch most recently came from Oregon and while he’s only been in Juneau for a month and half, he’s excited to turn his old idea into a new one here in town.

While the event isn’t directly tied to the Juneau Symphony, Koch said all of the musicians involved are members of the Juneau Symphony and mostly consists of principal players in the symphony, Koch included, who will be playing in the winds section.

The featured musicians are Franz Felkl, Lisa Ibias, Lindsay Clark, Meg Rosson on Viols (violin), Meghan Johnson on bass viol (cello), Sue Kazama on keys, and Sally Schlichting, Jetta Whittaker, Jeff Karlson and Koch on wind instruments.

Tickets can be purchased on the Crystal Saloon website. General admission costs $20, or Vidic said there is a pre-show tip option called Brandenburg Babe for $40 where the extra $20 goes directly to the musicians.

“What it really comes down to is it’s really great to hear music in a variety of environments. We like to fight stereotypes, you don’t have to sit in a concert hall in silence to listen to great music. That’s one way to listen to it, but there are a lot of ways and it’s fun,” Koch said. “It’s fun to listen to music in a bar. There’s different kinds of experiences that we choose from for the way that we interact with music and I think it’s so important, it doesn’t matter what genre of music it is, you can enjoy that music in just about any setting. I think it’s important in the classical world to sort of get out of the concert hall. Not that the concert hall isn’t great, but it’s just not the only way to do it.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at

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