Tafel Talks: Music as Resistance

Online panel discussion and audience Q&A with
Torquil Campbell, Kate Helsen, and Reginald Mobley
moderated by Raha Javanfar
December 2, 2020 at 7 pm EST

Tafelmusik’s Tafel Talks online panel discussions return on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 7 pm EST with Music as Resistance. Moderated by Raha Javanfar, the conversation will explore how music has given voice to resistance over the centuries, whether political, religious, social, or economic. Joining Javanfar for Music as Resistance are panelists Torquil Campbell, member of the band Stars and co-host of Soft Revolution podcast; Kate Helsen, Assistant Professor, Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario and member of Tafelmusik Chamber Choir; and Reginald Mobley, countertenor, director, and Programming Consultant for Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society. Tickets for Music as Resistance are $15 and are now on sale at tafelmusik.org.

Throughout history, music has been a means of expressing resistance against the status quo, either openly or covertly. From Bach’s struggles with Leipzig town councillors in his effort to prioritize art over ideology to Billy Bragg and the Red Wedge movement in Thatcher-era England, and from cloistered 17th-century nuns whose music challenged papal authority to the rise of Black spirituals and gospel music during the Civil Rights movement, music has done the heavy lifting when words alone have failed.

“Music is an effective and universally understood way to convey the complexity of human existence. Music is easily passed down and internalized. At a time when the very act of performing a live concert can be seen as an act of resistance, our Tafel Talks conversation explores music’s power to lift up, unite, and give voice to the oppressed and forgotten,” said Executive Director Carol Kehoe.

“We invite you to tune in for what’s bound to be a spirited discussion about music’s ability to challenge the powers that be and help usher in change.”

Listing information:

Tafel Talks: Music as Resistance
Wednesday, December 2 at 7 PM EST online
Panel discussion and audience Q&A with Torquil Campbell, Kate Helsen, and Reginald Mobley
moderated by Raha Javanfar

Discussion will be followed by a short Q&A

Ticket price: $15
Venue: Online
Website: tafelmusik.org/music-as-resistance
Social Media: Join the conversation on Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify


Torquil Campbell
Torquil Campbell is a member of the band Stars. Campbell is also a political commentator, actor, and playwright who co-created and starred in True Crime, produced by Crow’s Theatre. Together with Ali Momen, Torquil co-hosts Soft Revolution, a podcast about the intersection of art, culture, and politics.

Kate Helsen
Kate Helsen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Music Research and Composition at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Her specialization in plainchant, and Early Music more broadly, has led to her involvement in several international projects that dismantle the traditional boundaries of music and technology and have resulted in publications in Plainsong and Medieval Music, Acta Musicologica, and Early Music. Her research interests include early notations, the structural analysis of chant, melodic encodings, and obsessing over gorgeous manuscripts. Kate has    sung professionally with the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir since 2000.

Reginald Mobley
Noted for his “purity of timbre” and “homogeneity of tone,” countertenor Reginald Mobley is highly sought after for baroque, classical, and modern repertoire.

Among recent highlights are several tours including Bach St Matthew Passion with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists led by Sir John Eliot Gardiner; Bach cantatas and Handel Dixit Dominus with Balthasar Neumann Chor & Ensemble; and Freiburger Barockorchester under Kristian Bezuidenhout. Other highlights include Handel Messiah with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; Purcell King Arthur with the Academy of Ancient Music in London; Mozart Requiem with Orkiestra Historyczna in Poland; and his Paris recital debut at the Musée d’Orsay. Reginald also recently performed Handel Messiah with the Handel and Haydn Society under Masaaki Suzuki, and made his debut in Hong Kong with Methodist International Church. This season, he will sing Ottone (L’incoronazione di Poppea) with the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Bach St John Passion with the Monteverdi Choir.

Outside of singing, Reggie enjoys an active relationship as a director with H+H, leading the ensemble in its efforts to reintegrate itself within the concerns of its home community of Boston. This position made him the first Black person to conduct the ensemble in its 200+ year existence. His role will be expanded in the 2021/22 season in the newly created position of Programming Consultant. This is a role that directly connects to his work as a political and social activist in Boston.


Raha Javanfar is a multi-faceted artist, born in Iran and raised in Toronto. A classically trained violinist with a passion for roots music, Raha plays fiddle in the Western swing band, The Double Cuts, and has played with such notable artists as Stars, Peter Katz, Tom Wilson, Protest the Hero, and Daniel Romano. She is the bassist/front-woman of Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes, the Maple Blues Award nominee blues/R&B band. Raha has participated regularly in the concert series at Soulpepper Theatre Company (Riverboat, 27 Club, 88 Keys). She was a featured performer at the 2019 Women’s Blues Revue at Roy Thomson Hall, and hosted the Maple Blues Awards at Koerner Hall in 2020.

Raha has toured extensively with Tafelmusik as projections designer and production assistant. Lighting design credits include Brothers Size (Soulpepper), garnering her a Dora nomination, Riverboat, Voyager (Soulpepper), and Miss Caledonia (Tarragon), amongst others. Raha was one of six playwrights of the Dora-nominated anti-patriarchy show, Now You See Her. She was co-recipient of the Siminovitch Protege Award, has sat on multiple juries, and been an Arts Advocate and Ambassador for Music Canada. Raha teaches music privately, and Lighting Design at Ryerson University.


Led by Music Director Elisa Citterio and Executive Director Carol Kehoe, Tafelmusik is an orchestra, choir, and experience that celebrates beauty through music of the past.
Founded over 40 years ago on the pillars of passion, learning, and artistic excellence, Tafelmusik continues to bring new energy to baroque music and beyond. Historically informed performances of 17th- to 19th-century instrumental and choral music (led by Chamber Choir director Ivars Taurins) share the stage with vibrant, insightful multimedia programs, and bold new music written just for the group. Each piece is played on period instruments, underscored and illuminated by scholarship.

Through dynamic performances, international touring, award-winning recordings, and comprehensive education programs, Tafelmusik invites audiences to engage with beauty and experience the breadth of emotion music can inspire.

Media contact: Luisa Trisi, Big Picture Communications, (416) 456-0499
luisa@luisatrisi.com | 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X7

Scroll to Top