The Making of a Musical Ensemble
No, Vox Nobili did not spring fully formed from the forehead of Polyhymnia, the Greek Muse of Choral Poetry. We actually have our roots in a caroling group begun over two decades ago, and our members come from a rich variety of choral and performance organizations... Those details you can see in our Biographies on the Cast page. For simplicity's sake, we will present the most direct lineage here:
The Spirit of Christmas Past, by its name a Dickens-inspired Christmas quartet in San Diego, was formed by four friends wanting to continue singing together after a successful run of Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore in the fall of 1987. Over the years the group was quite successful, despite some personnel changes, as when the original soprano and tenor married and moved north to found their own quartet, by the same name, in Seattle. The San Diego quartet continued with the same format: traditional Christmas carols performed in classic mid-1800s costume, never growing beyond four people in order to guarantee patrons a solid musical unit, unlike other caroling companies that pull together quartets from a pool of disparate singers.
Performance venues included private parties, hospitals and convalescent homes, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies, church organizations, department stores and shopping centers; once we were hired by a family to carol from house to house in their small neighborhood as a Christmas gift to their neighbors! After 2001 the group became inactive until Susan Abernethy, the founding mezzo, with Tara Pool, met the newly-formed Cheshire Singers at a Renaissance Fair and were invited to join their group.
Here at last was a group of singers with whom Susan and Tara could finally pursue a dream they'd had since discovering Renaissance faires. They'd made attempts to pull together a working group of madrigal singers, but had been limited by costuming and group affiliation. Jennifer Kreml, director of the Cheshire Singers, and the rest of the group welcomed them warmly, and quickly came to embrace their ideas for a "nobility" look and portrayal, rather than the usual "peasant minstrel" style seen most often at festivals.
Over the years, the Cheshire Singers saw their numbers rise and fall, and the focus shifted to expand the musical repertoire beyond medieval and Elizabethan music. Tara departed the group to spend more time as the Musical Director for the Belles of Bedlam, and Susan had a lot on her plate with her twin boys. Liz and Vincent were still involved with CS, and we'd hear about the goings-on from time to time.
With another focus-shift and a decision to down-size, it came to our attention that several very talented singers (with the proper costuming!) were at loose ends... Susan and Tara decided the time had come to make the dream their own, and set about drawing these performers together to create a truly focused group. Vox Nobili came into being in the winter of 2006, which seems like such a short time ago...
We, too, have had our ebb and flow of personnel, as is the norm with most 'avocational' groups. We have performed with as many as eight singers, and as few as three. We still operate as The Spirit of Christmas Past during the holiday season, although we're rapidly becoming more recognized as Vox Nobili in both musical genres. We are very happy to maintain a good referential relationship with Jennifer Kreml and the Cheshire Singers. On other pages of this site you can see the variety of venues and events at which we perform, and our upcoming News.
For contract rates and booking information, please contact Tara Pool at 760.533-0041, or via e-mail at Director@VoxNobili.org.
Thank you for visiting today, and for your interest in our group. As with so many electronic publications, this page is always subject to update and revision, so please do check back in with us from time to time!