By Carol Kehoe, Executive Director
Working at Tafelmusik, I’m keenly attune to “joy”. If you believe like I do that happy people are instrumental in creating healthy, sustainable cities, then you seek out those experiences that create a sense of wonder, awe and beauty that make you feel one with the world.
We spend a good deal of our time at Tafelmusik determining how to bring joyful experiences to diverse audiences at home and around the world, and we’re confident our exceptional musicians and the music they perform contributes positively to the wellbeing of our Toronto community, and to individuals worldwide.
My trip to England to join the orchestra on their recent concert tour of Britain involved many new experiences, including a 30-minute train ride north of London to Slough.
Anne-Marie Applin (left), Charles Beauchamp (centre), Carol Kehoe (right) at Mandinga Arts.
I was thrilled to be invited by General Manager Stephanie Applin from London’s Mandinga Arts. Mandinga Arts, founded in 2002 by Julieta Rubio and Charles Beauchamp, researches, designs, creates and delivers extraordinary and innovative outdoor performance costumes, puppets and processions, engaging communities in collaboration with skilled professional artists. For the event in Slough, they partnered with ArtReach, which organized an afternoon-long outdoor community festival ahead of the holiday season. The magnificent individually hand-sewed costumes worn by a local dance company were a reminder of how magical it is to see life-size frogs, waterlilies and a field of pansies parade among human beings. The dancers in their bright costumes stood out prominently against a grey weather day, encouraging laughter, smiles and play from the hundreds of children and adults in attendance. Watching 70-year-old Charles bring a giant fish to life with dance moves worthy of a pop star reminded me that we can all use a little “play” in our lives.
In her book, Joyful, author Ingrid Fetell Lee argues that ordinary things can create extraordinary happiness. I was reminded of this as I was travelling by “tube” from Paddington to the Barbican Station, and watched a car full of adults lose their stoic faces when a smiling baby entered with his parents. And, I couldn’t help thinking how extraordinary it was to be sitting in the Barbican’s beautifully designed Milton Court Concert Hall preparing to listen to Music Director Elisa Citterio and the orchestra. The energy was palpable: we were all waiting for that moment when our musicians and Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin would bring it home, and together we’d be feeling that euphoric satisfaction that comes from hearing great art.
Tafelmusik Baroque Ochestra and soprano Karina Gauvin on stage at Milton Court Concert Hall, Barbican Hall. Photo by William Norris.
Tafelmusik Board Member Anne-Marie Applin, along with superfans Jane and Al Forest, had attended the orchestra’s concert in Basingstoke just four days earlier. Anne-Marie reported that the audience there treated our musicians to five standing ovations throughout the almost two-hour performance. I’m guessing that audience’s surprise at the exceptional calibre of our musicians created an overwhelming happiness they could only express through joyous applause. Surprising for that audience, perhaps, but not so surprising for us, who know and love Tafelmusik. Our joy is fuelled regularly by winning concerts at halls in Toronto, but it’s a privilege to share it with the world.