Stories From Home - Tara Davidson and William Carn

Every week, we ask a different local artist to provide their unique perspective on the pandemic experience from a musician’s point of view. Through words, video and music, each musician will share their story, along with an audio or video sample of a recent project, and a link to purchase their music so that you can support their work.

This week, musicians, composers, educators and couple Tara Davidson and William Carn talk about higher learning, higher planes and composing for new projects.

Tara: "Like everyone else in the music biz, all of my performance-based employment fell away, bit by bit, when the pandemic hit last March. I had just begun my first season with the Stratford Festival, playing in the orchestra for Chicago, which would have run from March until November of 2020. I am very fortunate to have some teaching work at the University of Toronto and York University; that all went online in March 2020 and has stayed online since. There have been some wonderful musical experiences throughout the past 13 months: some recording sessions and live-streaming performances. But, the reality remains that 90% of all live performances are on hold for now.

Academically, I've learned a lot! I've been pursuing my Masters in composition at York throughout the pandemic (I started the degree in September, 2019) and will be completing it this summer.
Personally, I've come to realize that I'm healthier, in mind & body, when I'm not commuting constantly. I was driving a lot, pre-pandemic, and I will need to strike a balance with my work schedule when life re-aligns one day. William and I have been exercising consistently, taking time to meditate and be still and this has been, undoubtedly, beneficial.

Thanks to the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Carn Davidson 9 will be recording our third album this summer. This new project will consist of two suites (one from each of us). I completed my three-movement suite, dedicated to my family, at the end of last year."

William: "Well, 2020 saw every musician on planet Earth lose most of their work. I was booked to play several musical productions last summer including Aida with the COC and numerous touring dates. I watched all the dates slowly disappear over the first month of lockdown in 2020. It left me kind of gobsmacked.

I have definitely reaffirmed my love for music. Let me explain. With no prospect of gigs, I took some time away from the trombone but found myself always feeling aimless, lost and generally miserable without playing my horn. I realized that the act of playing music is necessary for me (even without an audience). Once I sorted that out, I spent the bulk of the year learning songs that I never had time to learn before the pandemic. As well, I learned how to record music from home. This was never a skill that interested me but necessity is the mother of getting stuff done! We purchased a high-quality microphone and some good software. We started recording from our home in the summer of 2020 and managed to rack up about 10 sessions that way for various artists and organizations. In September 2020, there was a return of some recording studio work. I also ended up composing quite a bit. Some composing may lead to a new recording *fingers crossed* but I also managed to write a new suite of music for the Carn Davidson 9's upcoming third recording. It's based on the journey my family took when we immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong in 1970. Both Tara and are writing music to reflect what it means to be Canadian. Two different people with two different familial perspectives.

Besides completing the suite of music for our co-lead group, I reached out to some very talented musicians and friends to help record parts for one of the other new compositions that I had written. The result worked better than I could have imagined. The song is called Inertia of Complacency and features Todd Pentney on synths, Ernesto Cervini on drums, Kaelin Murphy on trumpet, Kelly Jefferson on tenor sax and myself on trombone. This may lead to a project down the line but for now, I'm amazed how well it came together considering every musician recorded their parts from home."

Find out more about Tara Davidson at taradavidson.ca and William Carn at williamcarn.com.

Here is William's recording of his tune "Inertia of Complacency"

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