Oct 23, 2020

Musical Ties That Bind

Still frame from Tafelmusik's Mozart Together digital concert. Musicians performing in isolation on stage of Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre.
Still frame from Tafelmusik's Mozart Together, October 1, 2020.

In mid-March, as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Canada, everything ground to a halt—including Tafelmusik. But we didn’t stay silent for long: after leaving our physical headquarters behind, we virtually returned just four days later to launch #TafelmusikTogether: a way for us to gather online, to share beauty and comfort through music of the past.

In the months that followed, what initially began as handmade home recordings evolved into refined, highly-sophisticated audio and video projects. We have since released two digital albums, countless videos, a digital magazine, a Tafelmusik At Home concert series—and now, we’re proud to welcome you to our full reimagined digital Fall season.

Throughout this transition to producing content exclusively online, one thing has remained constant: heartwarming feedback from our patrons, which has inspired and motivated all of us at Tafelmusik, reminding us of why we do what we do—and, how music keeps all of us connected, even when we are apart.

The following is a small collection of the overwhelming number of comments, emails, and countless emojis Tafelmusik has received since the pandemic began.

“What a wonderful gift to see all of you playing this wonderful music.”

“We miss you. Thank you for this.”

As the pandemic set in, all of us—both Tafelmusik’s musicians and staff, and our patrons—were forced to stay at home. Many of us turned to the internet to stay connected, and as Tafelmusik started to release new kinds of content—musicians performing solo in their homes, staff members sharing what we’ve been up to—the positive response from our fans and followers was swift and heartwarming.

“So inspiring and touching. Thanks!”

“This is absolutely wonderful and such a joyous interlude in the midst of a difficult time. Tafelmusik, you continue to amaze and give us great pleasure. Thank you!”

“Beautiful music as always and a meaningful narrative for our troubled time, worth the watch!”

Some shared that our content, connecting with them while apart, was a bittersweet experience.

“The ending made me burst into tears. So bittersweet.”

“This completely made me cry, seeing everybody!”

“That was so beautiful! I felt a wave of emotion seeing you all playing at Trinity St Paul's again "together" apart!”

Others noted how much they miss the live experience, and that they couldn’t wait to be back together, physically, again.

“Absolutely enchanting and heartwarming, thank you all for the hard work at all the stages of this production! I look forward to seeing this live someday.”

“This is Bach for sure, and it is also Tafelmusik. A winning combination. Looking forward when we can hear all of Elisa’s arrangement live in a music venue.”

“Wonderful! I can’t wait to hear the rest of this arrangement. And, of course, to attend concerts in person again!”

While distance has its challenges—both logistical and emotional—a silver lining is that we’ve been able to reach far beyond Toronto, to audiences all around the globe.

“This is great. Now I can go to your concert in Toronto without leaving my house in Saskatchewan. Looking forward to the concert!”

“Lovely! Merci! Cheers from Nosara, Costa Rica!”

“Thank you, watching from California!”

“Wonderful interpretation and also a great display of what is our resilient nature as humans. Thanks Tafelmusik for cheering us up in this circumstances. Warmest greetings from Lima, Perú.”

“This is a wonderful interpretation: voices, instrumentalists, tempo and phrasing! Many greetings from Leipzig.”

And, by moving online, we’ve also been able to capture new audiences—including some young new Tafelmusik fans!

“I'm probably the only kid in the comments... But that doesn't affect anything! I love you guys!! Better group than the Justice League!! I love your music!!”

“This is such a wonderful idea! My son is 5 and was enthralled with the Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring video you guys did a few months ago. He must have watched it dozens of times and told everyone how much he loved it.”

Some viewers at home were motivated to share their own personal stories, and their connections to the music—and at times, the pets making cameos in the background:

“That was beautiful - thank you. I learned that piece for piano many years ago and especially love it. A breath of calm in these increasingly uncertain days.”

“Thank you for this little gem on making a violin. When we moved from Quebec to Ontario we had a black cat called Raven as well! Looking forward to other episodes on making a violin as well seeing other episodes from Tafelmusik members!”

Other comments were an important reminder to us that music is so much more than entertainment: it’s a truly vital force; one that helps us thrive in times of isolation.

“I’m a Tafelmusik subscriber who has been confined to my room in a care home for over three months. Only my faith and your music have made this confinement bearable.”

Some thoughtful and engaged viewers questioned the technical logistics of how we were achieving our projects—specifically, how it was possible to bring a full orchestra and choir together, remotely.

“Wow... how did you that extraordinary ritardando at 2:40 being physically distanced?!!! Beautiful, as always from Tafelmusik.”

“Fantastic! I don't know how you do it. But then, of course I do. You're Tafelmusik.”

And while many expressed sorrow about not being able to attend live concerts, others pointed out the interesting new benefits that filmed, digital concerts can bring: like seeing instruments up close; being able to watch and re-watch—and, being able to enjoy the experience with wine, a fire, and a furry friend nearby.

“BRAVO! STANDING OVATION! I really enjoyed the smaller groupings as it showcased the depth of talent at Tafelmusik. The camera work was excellent. We have very good seats and have a good view of the performers but for most of your audience the camera would have provided a very special performance.”

“It was actually lovely to sip wine, on the sofa with our puppy and the fire blazing in the background. Congratulations! We're looking forward to seeing all your concerts.”

“This was an amazing concert. I listened to it a few times and each time I loved and learned more.”

“It was a wonderful production in every way. The camera work allowed us new insights. Being able to see the instruments up close, seeing the way they are played, some glimpses at the music ...some musicians using IPads...and the seeing non-verbal communications between the musicians made the concert really interesting.”

As we’ve worked tirelessly to adapt in new, digital ways, all of us at Tafelmusik have been so rewarded by the outpouring of comments we’ve received. It’s true that music connects us, but connecting through music online has brought an immense new wealth of opportunity: reaching people around the world; reaching people who are isolated; offering new experiences; and being able to talk, in real time, with our patrons.

Tafelmusik is grateful for all of the likes, shares, comments, and conversations—and we hope you’ll continue to stay engaged with us this season. From all of us, thank you for keeping the conversation going! 

“This is such pure Joy. Thank you Elisa. Your Dream Team is magical. Love every moment!”

“Sooooo well done! Thank you for finding creative ways to share the music in these crazy times!”

“We're looking forward to seeing all your concerts.”

“Go to the Tafelmuisk website for this. I urge everyone to watch it. Amazing production with gorgeous music, superb guest artists and a compelling story.”

“LOVE this!!!!! Adorable and so uplifting and entertaining during this crazy time. Keep posting videos.....music is so important right now. Watching these children fills my heart with love, hope and happiness!!!! Well done kids!”

 “This is amazing — thank you for bringing the orchestra together so brilliantly.”

“Oh this is so beautiful and moving. Thank you so much for sharing! I absolutely love to watch you play together. So fantastic!”

“Beautiful. A lovely interlude to soothe the angst of the day.”

“Can't keep a good orchestra down for long. Silver linings can provide enough light in dark times to provide a way.”

“Wonderful warm arrangement and presentation, unexpected format in these times ~ Change is the only constant. Thank you.”

“What a lovely performance! Thank you so much for sharing this freely with the world.”

“Thank you for spreading the joy... Made my morning. I can't wait to see you in person again.”

Our next digital concert is Passions of the Soul, on November 26 at 8pm EST. Learn more and buy tickets here.

Tafelmusik Together