Program Notes: J.S. Bach St. Matthew Passion

Sometime in the Middle Ages, Christian churches began observing Holy Week by retelling the story of Christ's crucifixion in music. Those beginnings were simple—Bible verses set to chant melodies—but eventually they would culminate in one of the most ambitious musical compositions of all time.

When J. S. Bach came to write his St. Matthew Passion in the 1720s, the Passion, as a musical form, had grown to allow orchestra, choirs, and non-scriptural choruses and arias. But even by the standard of the Baroque Passion, the Passion According to St. Matthew is exceptional for its musical richness and its grand scope.

Dramatically, the point of view shifts continuously, from the narrative of the Evangelist, to the actual words of Jesus and his disciples, to reflections that speak for the individual believer. In Bach's hands, the effect that the Passion gives is a single, sustained, somber meditation—appropriate for a work that was first performed as part of a church service.

In contrast to his earlier St. John Passion, this work was influenced by the Pietism movement in the Lutheran Church.  Pietism emphasized personal faith, versus the Lutheran Church's perceived traditional stress on doctrine and theology.  As a result, the St. Matthew Passion is passionate and heartfelt; the solo arias are especially personal in their reflections on the events that are portrayed.

The St. Matthew Passion was probably first performed on 11 April 1727 in the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, and again in 1729, 1736, and 1742. The 1736 revision (with some possible later adjustments) is what is generally known as the St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244. Felix Mendelssohn was famously responsible for a revival of this work; he edited a manuscript that he had received as a gift from his grandmother and conducted a performance in Berlin in 1829, perhaps the first performance outside of Leipzig.  However, he made significant cuts, of ten arias, seven choruses, and some chorales. 

Excerpts of the work were performed on the American television program Omnibus in 1957 in the episode "The Music of J.S. Bach." The presenter and explicator was Leonard Bernstein, who introduced the St. Matthew Passion as "that glorious work that started me off on my own private passion for Bach." The St. Matthew Passion has been presented in staged performances. Typically, these are done with all performers in street clothes or neutral costumes, the orchestras on stage, the soloists singing without scores, and the words acted out in a solemn fashion, with only a minimal stage set.

In consideration of the story to be told, the words are treated with great importance; one can see an operatic influence in the way the music works in collaboration with the libretto.  Picander, pen name of the poet who wrote libretti for Bach, wrote text for recitatives and arias, and for the large-scale choral movements that open and close the Passion. Other libretto sections came from publications by Salomo Franck and Barthold Heinrich Brockes.  The Biblical texts are from Matthew 26–27 (Luther’s translation) and also from the Song of Songs. Finally, eleven chorales (Lutheran hymn tunes) are used.

The words of the Evangelist and the named characters (Jesus, Peter, Judas, Pilate, the High Priest) are taken directly from Scripture, using recitatives, vocal passages that imitate spoken language, usually in free tempo. 

The words of Jesus usually receive special treatment. In this work, they are accompanied not by continuo alone, but also by the entire string section, using long, sustained notes and "highlighting" certain words, thus creating an effect often referred to as Jesus's "halo." Only his final words, in Aramaic, Eli, Eli lama asabthani? (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?), portraying his physical death, are sung without this "halo.”

The chorus has a dual role: portraying group roles (disciples, the crowd), the words directly from Matthew’s Gospel; and acting as a commentator, in chorale tunes with verses that reflect back upon the action. The chorales are distinguished by varied harmonizations, which effectively color the emotional content of the words.

Additionally, choruses with a mixture of chorale tunes and poetry—chorale fantasias—are used to “bookend” the major sections of this work. In the St. Matthew Passion there are three such extended choral movements: the opening chorus ,"Kommt, ihr Töchter, helft mir klagen" (Come, you daughters, help me lament); the conclusion of Part One, "O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß" (O man, lament your great sin ); and the final chorus ,"Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder" (We sit down in tears).   

The arias meditate on and react to the events of the Passion, interpret the Gospel texts, and represent the responses and thoughts of the soul.  The arias are interspersed between sections of the Gospel text. They are sung by soloists with a variety of instrumental accompaniments, typical of the oratorio style. Obbligato instruments are equal partners with the voices, as was customary in late Baroque arias. In the arias Bach often uses word painting, as in "Buß und Reu," where the flutes start playing a raindrop-like staccato as the alto sings of drops of tears falling and in "Blute nur," where the line about the serpent is set with a twisting melody.

Overview and Highlights

Part One

The first scenes are in Jerusalem.  The opening chorus sets the tone, establishing Jesus as both the bridegroom and the sacrificial lamb:  "Suddenly the chorus breaks into two antiphonal choruses. 'See him!' cries the first one. 'Whom?' asks the second. And the first answers: 'The Bridegroom, see. See Him!' 'How?' 'So like a Lamb.' And then over and against all this questioning and answering and throbbing, the voices of [the treble] choir sing out the chorale tune, 'O Lamb of God Most Holy,' piercing through the worldly pain with the icy-clear truth of redemption. The contrapuntal combination of the three different choruses is thrilling. There is nothing like it in all music." – Leonard Bernstein

Jesus announces his death. Next, the intention to get rid of him is expressed. A scene in Bethany shows a woman anointing his head with valuable oils. In the next scene, Judas Iscariot is negotiating the price for handing Jesus over.  With a great contrast of mood, the preparation for the "Easter meal" (Osterlamm) is described, and the Passover meal itself, the Last Supper, foreshadowed by the announcement of betrayal. The disciples ask Jesus over and over again, “Herr, bin ichs?” (Lord, is it me?); this phrase is repeated eleven times; each disciple, except for Judas, the actual betrayer, questions anxiously.

After the meal they go together to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times before the cock crows. At the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks his followers several times to support him, but they fall asleep while he is praying in agony. It is there that he is betrayed by Judas's kiss and arrested. While soprano and alto mourn Jesus's arrest, the chorus makes angry interjections (“Laßt ihn, haltet, bindet nicht!” Release him, stop, do not bind him!).  In a dramatic highpoint the chorus furiously demands against those who arrested Jesus "Zertrümmre, verderbe, verschlinge, zerschelle/ Mit plötzlicher Wut/Den falschen Verräter, das mördrische Blut!" (Smash, ruin, devour, shatter with sudden fury the false betrayer, the murderous blood!).  

Part I closes with a stately and expansive four-part fantasia on the chorale “O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde groß” (O mankind, mourn your great sins), reminding us that Jesus was born of the Virgin to become the intercessor and acknowledging mankind’s great sins and the sacrifice Jesus is making to secure redemption. The sopranos sing the cantus firmus, the other voices embellish aspects of the chorale words.

Part Two

In the opening movement, the alto soloist sings of looking anxiously for Jesus, who is missing, and for whom she fears the worst.  The chorus sings words from the Song of Songs, offering to help her in her search.  

The first scene of Part Two is an interrogation at the High Priest Caiaphas, where two witnesses report Jesus having spoken about destroying the temple and building it again in three days. Jesus is silent to this, but his answer to the question if he is the Son of God is considered a sacrilege calling for his death. Outside in the courtyard Peter is told three times that he belongs to Jesus and denies it three times; then the cock crows.  Peter remembers this, and flees, “weeping bitterly.” This is followed by the heart- wrenching aria “Erbarme dich” (Have mercy), in which the soloist asks that these tears bring forgiveness for this faithlessness, the violin obbligato weeping along with the soloist.

In the morning Jesus is sent to Pontius Pilate. Judas, overcome by remorse, kills himself. Pilate interrogates Jesus, is impressed, and is inclined to release him. (It was customary to release one prisoner for the holiday.) Pilate is supported in this by his wife. But the crowd, given the choice to have Jesus released or Barabbas—a thief, insurrectionist, and murderer—declares with one voice "Barrabam!".  Then the crowd calls for Jesus to be crucified. Bach uses the musical device known as the sign of the cross to set these harsh words.  The chorale that follows immediately changes the mood: remarking on how strange and wonderful it is that the “good King pays his subject’s obligation,” using an anxious and restless harmonization of the chorale tune “Herzliebster Jesu.” The exquisite recitative “Erhat uns allen wohl getan” (He has done good to all of us) and aria “Aus Liebe/Will mein Heiland sterben” (Out of love/My Savior wants to die) follows.  Then an additional outburst of”Let him be crucified” shatters the mood andintensifies the effect of the aria’s poignancy.

Pilate gives in to the crowd, washes his hands claiming his innocence, and delivers Jesus to torture and crucifixion. At Golgotha Jesus and two others are crucified and mocked by the crowd. Even Jesus’s last words are misunderstood. Where he cites Psalm 22, "Eli, Eli" (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?), he is thought to have called Elijah. He dies. 

St. Matthew describes the tearing of the temple curtain and an earthquake—depicted graphically by the orchestra. In the evening Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for the corpse for burial. The bass recitative and aria,“Mache dich, mein Herze”), comforting in its gentle rocking movement, asks for a pure heart, so that he can make a precious grave there for Jesus. The following day officials remind Pilate of the talk of resurrection and ask for guards and a seal for the grave to prevent fraud.  

In a dialogue with the chorus, each soloist (starting with the bass and rising through tenor, alto, and soprano), says farewell and expresses gratitude to Jesus, while the choir echoes “Mein Jesu, gute Nacht!” (My Jesus, good night!). The work closes with a grand-scale chorus in da capo form. Choir I and II are mostly in unison for the first part, “Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder“ (We sit down in tears), but are in dialogue in the middle section—choir II repeating "Ruhe sanfte, sanfte ruh!" (Rest gently, gently rest!), and choir I reflecting "Your grave and headstone shall be for the anxious conscience a comfortable pillow and a resting place for the soul. In the highest bliss the eyes fall asleep." These are the last words, marked by Bach himself p pp ppp (soft, very soft, extremely soft), before the first section repeats.  The very last chord is marked with a poignant leading tone in the oboe, like a final sob of grief.

Patricia Jennerjohn


Purchase your tickets soon to get discounted advance pricing for our monumental opening concert of this 2016-2017 season.

Kairos Youth Choir in the Opening Chorus

Berkeley’s premier youth choir, Kairos has offered comprehensive vocal music education to children ages 6 to 15 for over twenty five years.

The youth choir is featured in the opening chorus of our St. Matthew Passion performances. John Eliot Gardiner compares that movement to the immense altar paintings from the 16th century, where an entire story is told, with different scenes playing out at the same time. Following that idea, we can imagine a procession of mourners in the streets, with death bells sounding in the bass part in the orchestra. Witnesses of what has been happening in Jerusalem (Choir I) invite onlookers (the believers, or Daughters of Zion, Choir II) to join them, and speak of Jesus’ suffering, including him carrying the wood for his own cross.

Gardiner says: “The music seems entirely complete … and we marvel at how smoothly [Bach] makes room for a series of antiphonal exchanges between his two choirs and orchestras. But there is still more to come: at the moment when the first choir refers to Jesus as a bridegroom, and then as a lamb, Bach brings in a third choir with the chorale “O Lamb of God, unspotted,” in an abrupt expansion of the sound spectrum: a G Major chorale within the E minor context of the main piece. Sung in unison by a group of trebles, the effect must have been stunning.”

The congregations in Leipzig, where the St. Matthew Passion was first performed on the afternoon of Good Friday in 1727, would have heard this chorale, also known as the German Agnus Dei, earlier that day at the conclusion of the morning service.

Our St. Matthew Passion concerts feature members of Kairos' Aphaia and Agape choruses. In addition to performing at the all-Kairos winter concert each December, Aphaia and Agape choristers sing at the Junior Bach Festival and other events throughout the year, and are regular guests at KPFA radio. Kairos presents a fully staged musical play every spring, showcasing educationally rich stories such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and Fiddler on the Roof. In recent years, Kairos has toured Norway, Denmark, Italy, Greece, and Austria.

Kairos founder and conductor Laura Kakis Serper received her degrees in music education and voice performance from University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music as well as Westminster Choir College and Aspen Music Institute. Her Greek heritage inspired the name of Kairos Youth Choir and its choruses. Kairos [Kah-ee-ros] means time measured by quality, the moment when all things work together in harmony. Aphaia is the Goddess of Light; Agape means Love.

Ms. Kakis Serper is also the director of choral music at The Crowden School, and is a former artistic director of San Francisco Boys Chorus. She was recognized at the California State Senate for her excellent musical service to the community through Kairos Youth Choir programs.

Kairos, with director Laura Kakis Serper and pianist and composer Arkadi Serper in front, after a successful concert at the Votivkirche in Vienna, Austria • Photo by Geoffrey Biddle

Concertmaster Carla Moore

Concertmaster of our orchestra, Carla Moore is one of America’s foremost Baroque violinists acclaimed for her stylish and virtuosic playing.  We asked Carla to talk to us about playing the St. Matthew Passion, what it means to her as a vioinist, and what she likes about Bach:

"For me, revisiting the St. Matthew Passion is akin to my visiting a beloved place. I have my favorite spaces, or movements, that I delight in. I hear once again the wonderful timbres created by the woodwinds in their solo arias, or the wash of sound created in the large choruses. Bach played the violin and the viola and that is obvious in his writing. While his music is not always easy to navigate technically, it shows he had a complete understanding of what a violinist is capable of. His music also has such structural integrity that I very much enjoy working on the phrasing of a line.

"Playing any of Bach’s music is a wonderful experience, and having the opportunity to play this powerful masterwork is a supreme pleasure. I look forward to our upcoming rehearsals and performances!"

Concertmaster Carla Moore.

Concertmaster Carla Moore.

A First Prize winner of the Erwin Bodky Competition for Early Music, Carla is co-concertmaster of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and concertmaster of Portland Baroque Orchestra. Carla is founder and co-director of Archetti Baroque String Ensemble, which recently released its first CD on the Centaur label.

Carla has served as concertmaster and performed as soloist with Pacific MusicWorks, Pacific Baroque Orchestra, Santa Fe Pro Musica, Musica Angelica, Baroque Orchestra of Colorado and American Bach Soloists. As a chamber musician, she has recorded seven critically acclaimed CDs with the ensemble Music’s Re-creation and three with Voices of Music. Her videos with Voices of Music have been viewed by millions worldwide on YouTube.

Residing in Oakland, California, Carla teaches baroque violin at the University of California, Berkeley. Carla received her undergraduate training from the University of Southern California and earned a Master’s of Music with Distinction from Indiana University’s Early Music Institute where she studied with Stanley Ritchie.

Purchase your tickets soon to get discounted advance pricing for our monumental opening concert of this 2016-2017 season.

Stellar soloists for the St. Matthew Passion

As the Passion story unfolds, Bach allows the audience time for reflection.  Sometimes we hear his masterful four-part settings of Lutheran chorale melodies.  He also offers exquisite and meditative arias, often pairing a solo instrument with a solo voice.  Among our favorites are the well-known “Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben” (Out of love my savior is willing to die) for soprano and flutes, “Erbarme dich” (Have Mercy) for alto and solo violin, or “Mache dich, mein Herze rein” (Make thyself clean, my heart) for bass and orchestra.

Read more about our soloists for the Passion.

Jennifer Paulino, soprano.

Jennifer Paulino, soprano.

Soprano Jennifer Paulino is celebrated for her “graceful yet powerful” and “sensitive and clear” voice (San Francisco Classical Voice).  Specializing in Baroque, chamber, and new music, Ms. Paulino is in demand as an oratorio and concert soloist across the U.S.  She has appeared with Magnificat Baroque Ensemble, Bach Collegium San Diego, San Francisco Choral Society, Seraphic Fire, Southwest Florida Symphony, and the Modesto Symphony.  Her international appearances include a recital at the Organs of Ballarat Festival in Australia with concert organist Pavel Kohout, and performances of David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion with San Francisco Lyric Opera in Denmark.  In 2015, Ms. Paulino made her debut at the Festival Mozaic in San Luis Obispo, singing Bach’s B Minor Mass under the direction of Scott Yoo. In San Francisco, she performed the world premier of Terra Nostra, an oratorio by composer Stacy Garrop for soloists and chorus, under the direction of Bob Geary. This season, she makes her debut at Stanford University, singing a recital of Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos and songs with fortepianist Elaine Thornburgh. Ms. Paulino is on the faculty at the annual San Diego Summer Choral Festival and maintains an active teaching studio in the East Bay.

Danielle Sampson, mezzo-soprano.

Danielle Sampson, mezzo-soprano.

Mezzo-soprano Danielle Sampson is an avid performer of Baroque, classical, and contemporary music. Last season’s highlights included a gala performance with Pacific MusicWorks, Praetorius’ Christmas Vespers with Early Music Vancouver, and collaborations with Amaranth String Quartet to perform works for voice and strings. Danielle performed with the Boston Early Music Festival in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria (Melanto) and L’incoronazione di Poppea (La Virtù, Pallade), and with Early Music Vancouver in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (the Sorceress) and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. She performed as Ruggiero in Handel’s Alcina with Black Box Baroque in April, and appeared with Liaison, Nash Baroque Ensemble, and Jarring Sounds for the 2016 Berkeley Early Music Festival. Danielle has sung with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, American Bach Soloists, California Bach Society, San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and San Francisco Bach Choir, among others. She is a founding member of the guitar/voice duo Jarring Sounds (with Adam Cockerham), and performs with Cappella SF, the new Bay Area octet Gaude, and Seattle’s Byrd Ensemble. She earned her BM at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, and her MM at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Danielle currently resides in Seattle.

Mark Bonney, tenor.

Mark Bonney, tenor.

Mark Bonney has been called “a tenor with a perfect voice for Baroque music ... with silken tone, great clarity of diction, seemingly effortless breath control, plenty of power, and dazzling vocal agility.” Currently based in London, he performs all over Europe and in the United States. In the San Francisco Bay Area, he was a soloist with the American Bach Soloists Academy, California Bach Society (Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610) Chora Nova (Handel’s Acis and Galatea), Marin Baroque, the Albany Consort, and the San Francisco Bach Choir. Mark is currently pursuing a Master’s degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he studies with Gary Coward and has participated in master classes with Elly Ameling, Emma Kirkby, Olaf Bär, Julius Drake, Roger Vignoles, and Richard Egarr, among others. He coaches with Eugene Asti, Max van Egmond, and Nicholas Mulroy. Mark began his musical training as a treble in the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. He went on to study voice as well as political science at Stanford University. He was an intern with the California Bach Society during his senior year. He is an alumnus of the American Bach Soloists Academy and the Franz Schubert Institute, a renowned Lieder course in Austria.

Marc Pantus, bass.

Marc Pantus, bass.

Bass-baritone Marc Pantus is at home in opera as well as oratorio repertoire. Last season he sang Bach’s Magnificat with the renowned ensemble Vox Luminis, Don Profondo in Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reims with the Dutch National Opera, and a series of Schubert Lieder programs with renowned pianist Rudolf Jansen. Marc regularly sings the bass arias and the role of Christ in both St. John and St. Matthew Passions for sold-out audiences in the Netherlands. Highlights of this current season include Mendelssohn’s Paulus, Handel’s Acis and Galatea, the St. Matthew Passion in the historic Bergkerk in Deventer, and performances with the Dutch National Opera. His solo-CD Harry: Heine in Holland, featuring Lieder written by Dutch composers on German texts by Heinrich Heine, received four stars in the highly regarded Dutch/Belgian CD review magazine Luister and five stars in the national newspaper Trouw. Together with pianist Shuann Chai, Marc will perform the Lieder from his CD at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco on Saturday October 22 at 4 pm, and at the Piano Club in Berkeley on Sunday October 23 at 2:30 pm (click here for more information).  Mr. Pantus studied with Udo Reinemann and Meinard Kraak at the Utrecht Conservatory of Music and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. At the Steans Institute for Young Artists in Chicago, he studied with Thomas Allen, Christa Ludwig, Barbara Bonney, Elisabeth Söderström, and Roger Vignoles. 

Purchase your tickets soon to get discounted advance pricing for our monumental opening concert of this 2016-2017 season.

Brian Thorsett sings the Evangelist in the St. Matthew Passion

Tenor Brian Thorsett will sing the role of Evangelist in our performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion on October 7-9.  CBS audiences will remember his portrayal of Acis in Purcell’s Acis and Galatea (October 2010) and his stunning performances of Monteverdi madrigals (March 2010).  We are delighted to welcome him back for Bach’s great masterpiece. Jesus will be sung by baritone Sepp Hammer. Sepp was one of the soloists in our Schütz Symphoniae Sacrae program in April 2013, and in February of this year, he was an impressive God in Carrissimi's Jonas. Read more about these two talented soloists in their biographies.

Brian Thorsett, tenor (Evangelist).

Brian Thorsett, tenor (Evangelist).

Tenor Brian Thorsett, his voice “clear, ringing, and luminous,” excels in opera, oratorio, and recital across the world and has been seen and heard in over 100 roles. Upcoming opera highlights include the title characters in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito and in the premiere of Josheff’s The Dream Mechanic. Future concert highlights include Evangelist and soloist in both Bach Passions, Handel’s Messiah and Alexander’s Feast, Pilate in Pärt’s Passio, Britten’s War Requiem, as well as the Requiems of Mozart and Verdi. An avid recitalist, Brian is closely associated with expanding the vocal-chamber genre. Premieres and commissions of over 100 works include those of Ian Venables, David Conte, Shinji Eshima, Scott Gendel, Michael Scherperel, Peter Josheff, Gordon Getty, Michel Bosc, Noah Luna, Brian Holmes, Eric Davis, Robert Conrad, Eric Choate, and Nicholas Carlozzi. Brian has also been heard in recordings, commercials, and movies, and as the voice for SoundIron’s library Voice of Rapture: Tenor. He is a graduate of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Glimmerglass Opera’s Young Artists Program, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, and Music Academy of the West. Brian is currently Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at Virginia Tech’s School of Performing Arts. 

Sepp Hammer, baritone (Jesus).

Sepp Hammer, baritone (Jesus).

Sepp Hammer’s voice has been described as showing “warm baritone gravity” (The Boston Globe). Recently with the California Bach Society, he has appeared as soloist in Charpentier’s Le reniement de Saint Pierre, Zelenka’s Missa Votiva, and Bach’s cantata Aus der Tiefe. Other concert engagements include Rutter’s Mass of the Children with Solano Symphony, Zelenka’s Gloria with Chora Nova, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with Contra Costa Chorale, and, with various ensembles, Charpentier Messe des Morts, Schütz Symphoniae Sacrae, Bach Magnificat, Bach B Minor Mass, Haydn Lord Nelson Mass, Schubert Mass in G Major, Brahms Requiem, Fauré Requiem, and Duruflé Requiem. Starting in the 2016-2017 season, Sepp will be joining the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale. In recent seasons on the opera stage, Sepp has appeared as Pistol in Verdi’s Falstaff with Cinnabar Theater, the Speaker in The Magic Flute with Pocket Opera, Malatesta in Donizetti's Don Pasquale with North Bay Opera, and in the role of Wagner in Gounod’s Faust with Opera San Jose. His opera roles also include Escamillo in Carmen, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, the title role in Don Giovanni, John Proctor in The Crucible and Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro.

Purchase your tickets soon to get discounted advance pricing for our monumental opening concert of this 2016-2017 season.

Welcome to the new CBS website!

After many years and an aging design, we have migrated our website to a new modernized web platform that will allow us to keep you updated more quickly and elegantly.  It unifies our design across all of our communications, and hopefully should be easier and more pleasant to find information on, especially with this brand new season and our colossal opener, J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion!

Notably we have not yet migrated over the old 40th anniversary timeline, with some lovely and endearing stories from past choir members.  Since we're now in our 46th year we'll have to think more about how we can retain some of our great history online.

Please let us know how you like the new site, or how you think it could be improved.  Feel free to comment below or email with your thoughts.