March 21 is Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday, and the neighborhood is doing more than you may know to commemorate the composer’s life.

The Baroque Arts Ensemble, founded seventeen years ago by former Durant resident Alice Harris, will help local St. Luca’s Cathedral, at Main and Park streets, celebrates the musical tradition of its European architectural models with a special classical concert this month.

On Sunday, March 26, at 7 p.m. the Ensemble will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 and three of his cantatas, featuring baritone soloist Leslie Mitchell.

Mitchell, who is both a bassoonist and conductor of the Baroque Arts Ensemble, was born and raised in Durant but moved to Springfield three years ago to become artistic director of the annual East Inverness Spring Music Festival. Ensemble publicist Imogene Carpenter says the group’s 20 singers fell in love with St. Luca’s after rehearsing in the cathedral last year.

“We talked to Father Lawrence, and he said he was thinking about a music series there.” recounts Carpenter. “It’s a splendid resonant space, with a wonderful vault. We can hear the sound come back, and there’s reverberation. In some other spaces, it’s like singing into a wad of cotton.”

The church initiated the classical music series, co-sponsored by the East Inverness Spring Music Festival, in March with an Ensemble performance of famous opera Dido and Aeneas. St. Luca’s will offer a third program “Music French Baroque,” in April and hopes to continue on a seasonal basis each year.

“The family of one of our members attends the church, and we’re hoping to attract the congregation,” adds Mitchell, “but I don’t know if they like Bach”.

Even if they’re not well versed in the German religious text, they will no doubt appreciate Bach’s use of polyphonic vocal harmonies, as well as the music’s clarion instrumental accompaniment of trumpets, woodwinds, and strings.