For decades, national choirs have performed to foreign audiences to great acclaim, so it was no surprise when the Marionettes Chorale received an invitation to join a mass choir for a performance of Christopher Tin’s Grammy Award-winning composition, Calling All Dawns. The show’s producers had come across the choir’s rendition of one of the composer’s pieces on YouTube and booked them for the concert on June 9, 2019 in Carnegie Hall.
Over the years, the choir has caught the attention of many renowned composers, including John Rutter and Andrew Carter, and has played to audiences across the Caribbean and Central America, the United States and the United Kingdom since its inception in 1963.
Assistant Artistic Director, Caroline Taylor spoke about the experience and what the invitation meant to the group. “It wasn’t something that we were expecting at all, it was a nice validation that we performed well and that all our hard work had paid off.”
The performance, held at the historic Hall, allowed the choir to collaborate with some of the world’s top choristers and musicians.
Taylor explained that while the group is a community choir, the members, under the baton of Musical and Artistic Director Gretta Taylor, strive for a professional brand of perfection.
“To their credit, the members took it very seriously, and we were, in some ways, one of the best-prepared groups,” she revealed. “People can see locally that we’re...[aiming] to set a standard, and it manifests in the product if people get it right.”
With the desire to maintain the high quality of their artistry, the choir made sure to benefit from working up close and personal with the two-time Grammy winner. Tin shared stories of his inspiration for the piece, an invaluable experience for the group’s future plans.
The Carnegie Hall trip marks the choir’s first overseas performance in over a decade, which perhaps augurs well for future appearances abroad. Taylor explained that not only is touring a costly endeavour, but syncing members’ schedules--especially the younger ones--often proves to be a challenge.
Still, the work continues: Taylor let on that the producers of the concert are mounting a production in Lincoln Centre next year.