My Tafelmusik … with Rick Earls

In our ongoing series of featuring long-term supporters, “My Tafelmusik” invites donors to share their story with us. Individual support is integral to Tafelmusik. It funds live concerts in Toronto and across the world, education programs for young people, innovative new multi-media and recording projects … in addition to bringing renowned guest artists to our stage.

Here is Rick Earls’ story.

I first was exposed to classical music going to the TSO and Mendelssohn Choir concerts with my mom in the late 1960s, then gained an appreciation for opera listening to LPs from the Seneca College library in the early 1970s.

I have been going to Tafelmusik concerts for about 35 years. It has been such a wonderful experience to hear baroque music coming from such brilliant musicians. What a treat! My wife, Sally, has not been able to attend concerts for about seven years due to complications from a broken hip, but hopes to “face the music” again in the near future.

I took my wife Sally on dates to the NBC and COC in the mid-70s, then discovered Tafelmusik in 1981. We used to go to 90 to 100 concerts per season, now cut back to about 70 with 13 organizations.

We enjoy the high quality of performance and diversity of programing with Tafelmusik. I look forward to continued excellence and diversity in programing under Elisa’s leadership. When we go to the concerts I feel that I have been educated on baroque music and instruments and how people lived many centuries ago. We had an opportunity to visit Salzburg and Vienna on an Austrian trip in 2000, and when I hear music that composers from this area have written, it brings me a lot of joy.

Some of our memorable Tafel-moments:

  • Coming out of the Church of the Transformation in Markham after a Messiah concert just as snow began to fall and then the church bells struck eleven.
  • Running into some orchestra members at the hotel we were staying at in Stratford during the Summer Music Festival.
  • Getting glowing comments from some colleagues who attended a concert in Kingston that I told them about.
  • The surprise on my sister-in-law’s face after I gave her Julia Wedman’s solo CD after she swooned over her solo playing in a Bach Brandenburg Concerto.

Supporting the musical community runs in our family — my great-grandfather John Earls , who founded the Toronto Marlboroughs, was also a major player in a 1894 attempt to create a Toronto Philharmonic Society, but it only lasted two years.

We believe strongly in financially supporting Tafelmusik and many other arts organizations so that they can boldly go forward into the 25th century where no man has gone before (oops — make that 21st century and orchestra).


Support a global leader! Membership donations allow Tafelmusik to continue
inspiring the love of baroque and classical music. Give today!

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My Tafelmusik … with May Webster

In our ongoing series of featuring long-term supporters, “My Tafelmusik” invites donors to share their story in a Tafelmusik house program, and various digital platforms.

 Individual support is integral to Tafelmusik. It funds live concerts in Toronto and across the world, education programs for young people, innovative new multi-media and recording projects … in addition to bringing renowned guest artists to our stage.

By May Webster

Tafelmusik has been part of my musical life for many years. I sang in a church choir, and the music director, who was a subscriber, would tell us about what he had heard at the concerts. I was intrigued, especially by the concept of hearing music played as it was originally intended to be played. So I went to a concert, and became a subscriber myself, and then a member.

Tafelmusik has educated me. I have learned to appreciate choral music sung in original languages — from a choir whose words are so clear I could almost hear the words as if they were in English! I have learned from the pre-concert chats many details about the works I then would hear. Or about the composers and their world. I have learned from the Membership Academies about the baroque world itself, about baroque performance practices, and a little about how the baroque instruments differ from the modern ones. (And I am somewhat saddened that the Academies are no longer available to members at the lower ranges of contribution, although I appreciate that their popularity may have made this necessary.) I have learned to appreciate the works of composers I once thought obtuse or complicated — Bach, for instance, as against Haydn, Handel, or Mozart. So many thanks to all the musicians and other experts who have presented those lectures over the years.

I look forward to each new season, for what I shall hear and enjoy, from the Orchestra and from the Chamber Choir, and for what I might learn. I also look forward to sharing my Tafelmusik experiences with friends, and perhaps introducing them to music that I find life-enhancing.


Membership makes a difference! Membership donations allow Tafelmusik to continue inspiring the love of baroque and classical music. Give today!

My Tafelmusik … with Dorothy Russel

In our ongoing series of featuring long-term supporters, “My Tafelmusik” invites donors to share their story in a Tafelmusik house program, and various digital platforms.

 Individual support is integral to Tafelmusik. It funds live concerts in Toronto and across the world, education programs for young people, innovative new multi-media and recording projects … in addition to bringing renowned guest artists to our stage.

By Dorothy Russel

I imagine my musical life began in utero. My mother, a classically trained pianist, was the rehearsal accompanist for the Verdun Operatic Society in Montreal. This may explain my affinity for 1950s Broadway musicals. My musical education continued with piano lessons, singing in an elite youth choir, and playing the flute in high school and university bands and orchestras, augmented by regular attendance at TSO concerts.

Having become disenchanted with the TSO, in 1991 I subscribed to Tafelmusik. I immediately appreciated the excellence of their craft, the clarity of their sound and musical lines, and crisp articulation. Their delight in making music together was obvious, as was their joy in sharing it with us. What began as a way to have a regular outing with my sister, alternating with a date night with my sweetheart Rudy, soon became an addiction. I believe I have not missed a concert in the regular season since. And we even travelled to Irsée to hear them in the off-season. Before long, Rudy and I felt we were part of the Tafel family. Deep friendships developed over countless post-matinée dinners that Rudy produced at our house.

Music nourishes my soul. At no time was this more important than when Rudy died unexpectedly in 2013. A Tafel concert of the Mozart Requiem not long after conjured memories of our rich life together, rather than plunging me into sorrow as I’d anticipated. For many months, recordings by members of Tafelmusik filled my home with music and provided much needed company.

My recent donation of a baroque viola to the Jeanne Lamon Instrument Bank has filled me with indescribable joy. Unlike a contribution to a fund, this is something tangible. I can experience it year after year as each new student receives the opportunity to explore their music with a new tool. I feel part of something quite special — a circle of creation.


Support a global leader! Membership donations allow Tafelmusik to continue
inspiring the love of baroque and classical music. Give today!