The Kentucky Bach Choir invites aspiring singers born on or after April 1, 1991 to compete for a cash prize and an opportunity to perform with the Kentucky Bach Choir.


As a preliminary audition, applicants must submit unedited recordings of themselves singing two Bach arias and one sacred Haydn or Mozart aria. Arias are to be sung in the language in which they were written.

Auditions Fall 2020

Next Competition


Ten finalists will be selected from the submitted recordings to come to Lexington and sing before an audience and panel of judges in a live competition in the Chapel of First Presbyterian Church, 174 N. Mill St., Lexington, KY 40507. 

The winner will receive a cash prize of $2,000 and an opportunity to perform as a featured soloist with the Kentucky Bach Choir. Additionally, an audience choice prize of $750 will be awarded, and two additional encouragement prizes of $500 each may be awarded at the discretion of the judges.


Since its founding in 2007, the Kentucky Bach Choir, through its performances in Lexington and throughout Central Kentucky, continues to grow and develop in its mission to present the great masterworks of Johann Sebastian Bach and composers of like stature. The choir has provided professional performing opportunities for Central Kentucky-based singers and instrumentalists.


Printable Application Form (PDF)

Printable Competition Flyer (PDF)

Advocating for the Gifted Singer

In 2011, the Kentucky Bach Choir initiated a vocal competition to encourage the study and performance of the solo vocal repertoire of J. S. Bach. For the competition, singers submit recordings of themselves performing two arias by Bach and, for the sake of contrast, their choice of an aria by Haydn or Mozart. Finalists chosen from the initial screening are invited to participate in a live competition in Lexington, Kentucky, singing before an audience and a panel of judges. The winner receives a $2,000 grand prize and an opportunity to perform as a featured paid soloist in a subsequent Kentucky Bach Choir season. In addition to the grand prize, and Audience Choice prize of $750 is awarded, and up to two singers may be chosen by the judges to receive encouragement awards of $500 each.  Eligible singers for the 2019 competition must be born on or after April 14, 1989.  Limited, gratis, local accommodations can be provided for singers traveling from distances requiring overnight lodging.  


The 2019 competition will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky on Saturday, April 13 at 2 p.m. Applications must be postmarked by March 1 or received online by March 4. All applicants will be notified of the results no later than March 11, 2019.


The first two years of the competition were funded primarily from a local arts grant and from the choir’s operating budget. Sensing the tenuous nature of such funding, in 2013 Kentucky Bach Choir Board member Audrey Rooney stepped forward as the primary sponsor of the competition, ultimately establishing an endowment to ensure perpetuity of the competition, now held biennially. 


The competition is adjudicated by three judges: a voice instructor, a keyboardist with early music experience, and the Artistic Director of the Kentucky Bach Choir, Marlon Hurst. 


Kayleen Sánchez, praised for her "perfect voice, pure and unshakably direct in delivery..." (Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine), is an active performer, recording artist, and pedagogue. She is a founding member of the lute song duo BEDLAM. Recent BEDLAM engagements include the Phoenix Early Music Society, Pegasus Early Music, and the Rochester Early Music Festival. BEDLAM has been broadcast on Rochester’s WXXI, WWFM’s “Well-Tempered Baroque”, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, and Arizona PBS. BEDLAM released its debut album, BEDLAM (Athyr Records) in 2015, and their latest album, Died for Love (Soundset Recordings) was released in June of 2017. BEDLAM’s active touring schedule can found on their website at

Sánchez received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance and Literature from the Eastman School of Music. She is on voice faculty at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. A full list of upcoming performances may be found at

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Photography by © Kopana Terry ,