Cantus Biography: Tim Takach

November 12, 2010

St. Paul, Minn. — Join us as we get to know Classical MPR's 2010-11 Artists-in-Residence Cantus through a series of short bios. Here, we learn about Tim Takach.

Bass Tim Takach is currently in his fifteenth season with Cantus. Originally from Lake Zurich, Ill. and Eden Prairie, Minn., Tim's education background includes a BA in Studio Art and Music Theory and Composition from St. Olaf College. Here, he shares his thoughts on Danny Elfman, his indescribable performance rituals and a game called "Telephone Pictionary."

What is the best part of singing with Cantus?

In life you are constantly surrounded by people. Some of these people really know what they're doing. Others haven't a clue. Some, I'm sure, are like myself in that we feel we are really sure of a couple things that we do well, but we're mostly learning our way through life, discovering bits and bits at a time. When you sing with Cantus, heck, when you're working in the same room as these eight other guys, you're with people who know about singing. They know what they're doing, and you know you can rely on them at any point during a concert. I look around the arc and see guys who are totally committed to what they do best, and we share that on stage for almost two hours. And that's one of the really good things about singing with Cantus. The best part, I believe, lies in knowing that these eight guys will also go ahead with me as we learn our way through new experiences. None of us have really done serious improvisation in a cave before, but we just did that today. We all took it seriously, and we all learned at the same time. Together. As an ensemble.

What is your best and/or funniest memory from a Cantus tour?

Sometimes, even though we see each other all the time (read: all the time), we still end up hanging out in each other's hotel rooms at the end of the day. On one night in 2009, we played a game called Telephone Pictionary. I talked about it a bit in a blog post so I won't go into it in much more detail here. But I have posted actual drawing from the game, so check it out and see what all the fun is about.

When did you know that you wanted to make singing your career?

I don't think that I really knew that I was going to sing for a living until halfway through college, when our little student ensemble called Cantus decided that we were going to make a go of it as a professional ensemble. Singing, like eating bacon, was always something I really liked to do, and did it every chance I got. As far as a career was concerned, I wanted to be a cartoonist, architect, movie score composer, and graphic designer before I ever settled in on the singing gig.

Do you have any rituals or things you do before you go out to perform?

Well, Chris and I have a secret handshake that we do. Every bass has done it since the late 90s. It's really quite complicated to go into or describe in writing, but I'll try. |; ^|, |^ ;|, |_><_|, ( ), *** and then we say "good show." I also make sure Adam doesn't have any dinner on his suit and that I have a tuning fork in my pocket. Otherwise I'd just make up the starting pitches. Nobody wants that.

Cantus is known for its collaborations with other performing arts groups; what has been a favorite of yours?

I've always loved the work we've done with Trio Mediaeval. They're just stellar musicians, and they're fun to be around.

Do you play any instruments? Are there any that you'd like to learn to play?

I play the piano, had 3 good years with the Horn, know one song on the Autoharp, and had a mean stylophone solo in last year's Covers concerts. I'd love to learn to play the bass (string or guitar), and I'd love to learn how to play steel pedal guitar. I'll trade website design for lessons on the steel pedal. Email me. We'll talk.

Who is your music "hero" and why?

Sting, Danny Elfman, Michael Stipe, Rautavaara, Danny Elfman. These folks have honed their craft, grown as musicians, and created many wonderful musical moments and memories for me.

What hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy doing when you are not singing (or sleeping)?

Aw man! I can't say sleeping? I love to read, but the minutes I get to spend in front of a book are few and far between I'm afraid. I'm a pretty active composer, and always have a commission or two cooking, but I'm also a fairly new Dad. My son is 2 and kind of rules the household these days. So I guess I'd have to say playing cars, trains, doing push-ups with a 2 year old on my back, going for bike rides, swimming at the YMCA, and spotting high dives off the couch onto a pile of pillows. Beyond that, tennis always makes a good morning, and a good sci-fi movie plus a batch of chocolate chip cookies make for a great night.

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