NOVA VOCE: OTHER LIVES
Welcome to another in our series of profiles of choir members. In this issue of the Nova Voce Newsletter, we get to know Tom Black a little better as we ask him to tell us about his life in and outside of the choir.
Inside the Choir
1. Choir member name
2. Voice in the choir (section)
3. Number of years in the choir
4. Positions held in the choir
Chair - 2015-2016
Treasurer 2004 - 2007
Finance Committee - continuing member
5. How and why did you join the choir?
I was part of the workshop in Amherst with Diane Loomer and Chor Leoni, which was a great experience. Diane challenged the group at the workshop to create an east coast ‘men’s voices’ choir.
When Terry Hurrell ( Nova Voce’s inaugural director) put out a query about interest, I responded very quickly.
6. What has kept you in the choir?
Nova Voce has taken me places and given me opportunities that otherwise I would not have experienced. For someone with no formal training in vocal music, I feel I have learned much and it is a continuous learning experience. The opportunity to sing in other languages, to sing in venues such as the Pantheon in Rome or Carnegie Hall in New York, would not have happened without Nova Voce.
But most significant is the friendships that I have developed and the support from this “Band of Brothers” in times of need (as evidenced below).
7. Best Nova Voce memory or your funniest memory
In twenty years, there are so many memories - the concerts, the trips to Italy, USA, Ottawa, St John’s - the many appreciative audiences - the kitchen parties.
The most profound was at my father’s funeral. Many members of Nova Voce came to Oxford and joined the local choir for the service. I will never forget their support.
Outside of the choir
1. General demographic information
a. Age – old (Good answer Tom!)
b. Family / Spouse - Jane
2. Other musical groups you belong to or have belonged to
ORHS High School band -
Trinity United Church choir - Oxford - 1982 -2018 - Director - 2012 - 2018
Showcase Productions Society - - an Amherst musical theatre company -1993 - 2004
Bethany United Church Choir - 2019 - current
Dalhousie Medical choir - 2019 - until Covid
Bethany Strum - 2023
2. What would you say are your talents?
I have the ability to memorize music. (Tom is being modest here. He also converts all our music to MP3 files – learning files – to assist members as we learn new music)
I worked for 40 years for Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd and related companies in accounting and IT, retiring in 2012.
3. Describe two or three life experiences that might illustrate your personality or your philosophy on life.
“All the world’s a stage”. Each of us performs many roles in life, some we desire, some we acquire through necessity, some we fall into, some we reject.
Some we enjoy. Others - not so much.
At one point, I was considering a career change and began the process to enter the ministry. I went through the discernment process and even took several courses at AST in preparation. At the last stage, events indicated this was not the right decision at this time. I did not choose that path. The premonitions were correct. Three months later I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
4. Name two things you are looking forward to this year.
Spending time with Jane, our children and grandchildren - especially at the cottage.
Spending time in the worlds of music and art.
5. If those who know you were to describe you in one or two sentences, what would they say?
Tom was a little shy to answer this question, so we did a quick survey of choir members to see what they would actually say. Here are some of the comments.
One member wrote “Tom is an unassuming man with a great heart”. Another provided this insightful message. “Tom is a Tall Timber standing tall in stature and in his musical abilities. Furthermore Jane is petite but strong in her love and support!”
Clearly Tom, your fellow choir members and partners respect and admire you and your talents.
6 Do you have a motto you live by?
Polonius’ advice to Laertes is probably a good fit- culminating in-
“ This above all others, to thine own self be true.”
Closing comment: A huge thank you to Jane and my family for all their support!