For true Classical music lovers, the annual Grand Rapids Bach Festival is a wonderful gem.

The festival was founded in 1997 by Grand Rapids own Linn Maxwell Keller, a world-class mezzo soprano who performed around the world. Unfortunately, we lost Linn three years ago, but her dream and creation lives on. The 12th biennial festival is bigger and better than ever with concerts, dinners, KinderBach, Bach and Yoga, specialty treats from The Donut Conspiracy and Love’s Ice Cream, and more.

The festival from March 17-24 welcomes an amazing new artistic director, Julian Wachner, from historic Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. The famous church in Lower Manhattan, severely impacted on 9/11, was portrayed in the 2004 film “National Treasure.”

Its professional choir has been nominated for Grammy Awards, and Wachner is bringing The Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street with him to Grand Rapids for a concert on March 21.

The 2019 Bach festival also will award the inaugural $10,000 Linn Maxwell Keller Distinguished Bach Musician Award. Six top-notch young singers from across the country will compete in two rounds for the cash prize, courtesy of the Keller Family. Semi-finals on Tues. March 19, finals on Thurs. March 21. Both open for free.

The finale concert on March 23 features soloists and the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus in the Basilica of St. Adalbert.