This year marks 40 years for Tafelmusik’s Chamber Choir, a group of singers who specialize in 17th- and 18th-century music. Under the direction of Ivars Taurins, they’ve been exploring historical performance practice alongside Tafelmusik’s baroque orchestra, and have developed a sound and style appropriate to the repertoire they perform.
As we conclude our 21/22 Season, we asked a few choristers to share their thoughts:
“I am proud to have been singing with the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir for 30 of its 40 years.
The time has flown by, but it always feels fresh and new. The music made and the friendships forged are extraordinary. Each week, Ivars brings to us his passion and perfectionism. His humour— with everything from whimsical metaphors to silly walks to cultural references— makes every rehearsal a pleasure. The singers bring their talent, commitment, personality, joy, energy and intelligence. Together, we walk a path of learning, growing, belonging, and stunning music-making to the delight of our audiences. We honour the many voices that have been in the flock over the years and added to the sound that is the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir.
We are thrilled to celebrate our 40th anniversary!”
— Carrie Loring
“Singing with Tafelmusik is one of the most rejuvenating parts of my life. Whether in rehearsal or on stage, making music with these musicians is an incredible creative experience that makes me feel alive, connected, and filled with joy.”
— Meghan Moore
“All professional musicians who are sports fans know that with evening concerts and rehearsals, we miss a lot of “big games.” I am convinced that such Tafelmusik conflicts pretty much guarantee a win for the home team, whether it is the last game at Maple Leaf Gardens (1999- OK, we lost that one), the first gold medal for Canada in hockey in 52 years (2002) or Jose Bautista’s “Bat Flip” home run (2015). I look forward to singing a Tafelmusik rehearsal or concert when the Leafs finally win the Stanley Cup.”
— Peter Mahon
“What a joy it has been to be part of the Tafelmusik family since 2004. Rehearsing and performing beautiful music with a dream-team of choir friends, superb players and guest musicians is uplifting to say the least! Top that off with leadership from Ivars and the Tafelmusik staff and what we have is a truly exceptional experience.”
— Susan Suchard
“I joined Tafelmusik at the age of 20, when I barely knew what “historically informed performance” even was. Although I was studying music history at the time, singing in Tafelmusik wasn’t about the “academics” of it then, and it’s not now. To sing this incredible music with these fantastic musicians all around me, is to experience what it actually means, in real time, to aim for perfection. Of course, “perfection” is impossible – everything from tuning thirds to delicately formed phrases and gestures… getting all the notes in some crazy passage of Zelenka’s… uniform vowels in German Latin… but the idea is that, through our singing, we can glimpse what it might mean to get it right, if only for a moment, before it slips away into the next moment. It really is that metaphysical. It’s what we shoot for, and what Ivars tirelessly redirects our attention towards, rehearsal after rehearsal, year after year.
Lest this sound all too theoretical, however, one short story here: By the time COVID 19 shut everything down, I had been in the alto section for more than 15 years, and I cherished all this dedication to excellence, and all this intentional, detailed work to bring these pieces alive, just as I’ve tried to describe above. But it was not until the Jeanne Lamon Tribute dress rehearsal in March earlier this year, when we took off our masks for the first time in more than two years, unobstructed by plexiglass, singer’s masks, and huge physical separation, that I understood just how much our music depends on our ability to be present with each other and with our audiences. These works of art may be objectively beautiful, but it is our collective love for them that will make them live. That is, my years in the Tafelmusik choir have taught me that it’s not enough to know how to make music; we also need to know why. When we do, the sky’s the limit.”
— Kate Helsen