A proud moment for Rezonans?
A very special occasion for Rezonans was our concert with Eric Whitacre in Istanbul. It was fantastic to share the same stage with a composer, whose works we sang for many years, and witness the historical event of giving an a capella concert to a full house of 2,200 listeners.
An emotional moment you had in a performance?
After one of our performances, we came down from the stage full of strong emotions; we could do nothing but hug each other in silence and cry together. We knew that we had just given one of our best performances ever, and we felt completely united in one single breath. In all the time we have been singing together, that has been our most regarded moment as a choir. We still talk about it often. (This happened at the Cork International Fleischmann Trophy.)
A turning point in the life of your choir?
Our very first international presence and performance in Europa Cantat 2015, in Pecs Hungary, was undoubtedly a crucial moment for the choir. After that, Rezonans has been travelling every year to a different country. So far we have been to Italy, Ireland, Bulgaria and Estonia. And this year, Germany is on the horizon!
What was a very special performance and what made it special?
In the Europa Cantat Festival 2015, we had been on the main stage singing and dancing to the traditional song, “Istanbul Kasap Havası” when the 5,000 singers that were gathered in the festival grounds unexpectedly joined in to sing and dance with us! In years following, we came across many other choirs singing and dancing to the same song, on the streets of many European cities. Just recently, in Tallinn, we met groups of singers, dancing it in the Market Square of the Old Town! Seeing this brings back fond memories and many smiles! You can see a video the song here:
How does your choir bond as a group?
The warmth of friendship and atmosphere of trust is always present in the choir. To enhance this, we organize choral weekend retreats every season. Spending those days singing together, keeps this feeling alive and we feel more and more comfortable with each other.
What is your audition process?
When people apply, we send them two or three pieces to study, record, and send to us. Our conductor listens to the recordings. Those who fulfill the requirement of the recording process are invited for the interview and they will arrive for an in person audition where they will sing with a quartet. In the interview, the first question is always “Why do you want to become part of Rezonans?”. Knowing the motivations and expectations of the applicant is very important to decide who is going to be with us for the next years.
What happens after that?
After the audition, we test each other for a couple of months. The new member and the choir must fit well… Both parts should be in “harmony”. If this fails, then we may go separate ways, but if it’s OK, then we are good to go together ahead in our singing adventures!
A challenging performance & how you faced it?
We were invited to sing in a factory. It was a really noisy factory with machines, and it didn’t have the best acoustics. It was also very chilly, damp, and dark. Because of the low light, the choir could not see their scores, nor the conductor! We had to really listen to our fellow choristers with greater attention to get through the song. We had a few spots that fell out of sync in tempo, but everyone continued to listen and sing, and we did it!
What was the response?
And at the end of our performance, the audience was thrilled! So were we!
Special thanks to Director Burak Onur Erdem for making contributions to this article.
Born and raised in Istanbul, İlknur Akman Erk has been working as an international tour guide/tour leader for over 30 years. Besides producing and hosting a weekly radio program on Renaissance and Baroque music, she also gives seminars about composers, especially-Johann Sebastian Bach! She is a published author with one poetry book and two travel books released thus far. Having recently returned to İstanbul University as a student of American Culture and Literature, İlknur Akman Erk is a proud singer of Rezonans Choir. She is happily married and lives in İstanbul.