|Marlene Tachoir, left, recently composed a Jazz Mass for World Peace, which will premiere at Holy Name Church on Thursday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. She and her husband Jerry Tachoir, right, a renowned vibraphonist, are seasoned jazz musicians and lead the Holy Name Church choir.|
After being bombarded with news of violence around the world, Marlène Tachoir, a renowned jazz musician, recording artist and composer, responded with two pillars in her life: her music and her Catholic faith.
Tachoir has composed a “Jazz Mass for World Peace,” which will be performed for the first time on Thursday, Feb. 12, at Holy Name Church in East Nashville, where she is a parishioner.
“I was inspired to combine my love of jazz music, my knowledge as a church musician, and my belief in prayers to compose this Jazz Mass for World Peace.”
Although she is currently the music director for the Sunday liturgy at Holy Name and has led choirs at Holy Name and Our Lady of the Lake Church for more than 25 years, the Jazz Mass represents her first major religious work.
“Church music ministry is something I have been involved with all of my life,” said Tachoir. “It is part of my DNA.”
Tachoir heralds from a large family of musicians in the Saguenay Region of Quebec. She began playing piano at a very young age, and at age 13 entered the Quebec Conservatory of Music, majoring in organ.
“During that same time, I began playing with my father’s swing society band where improvisation was a key component,” said Tachoir. “Classical and jazz influences have always been part of my life.”
Besides studying organ and piano at the Quebec Conservatory, Tachoir graduated Summa Cum Laude in arranging and composition from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. As a composer, she was the winner of the first GMN.com International Jazz Composition Contest in 2000, and is a two-time winner of the International Jazz Composition Contest in Monaco.
She has contributed her original music to eight recordings, many featuring her husband, Jerry Tachoir, an internationally renowned vibraphonist, mallet instrumentalist and music clinic instructor. As a member of the group Tachoir, Marlène has performed in concert with drummer Alan Dawson and recorded with former Pat Metheny Group member, Danny Gottlieb, and drummer Chester Thompson. She has appeared at most of the major jazz festivals throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including the Northsea Jazz festival in Holland, the prestigious Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland and the Montreal Jazz festival in Canada.
With her husband, Tachoir has conducted numerous outreach and educational music programs at schools in Tennessee, and throughout the United States and Canada. She has also written two books: “Solo Vibraphone Collection” and the soon-to-be published, “Creative Studies for Keyboard Voicings.”
The Jazz Mass for World Peace grew out of a recent trip back home to Quebec, which the Tachoir family does every few years. “This time was extra special – great weather, a trek up a mountain to a giant cross overlooking the majestic Saguenay Fjord,” recalled Tachoir. “It had the feel of a pilgrimage. I even got to play organ and piano in a large church with my daughter singing and sister playing trumpet for a nephew’s wedding. Everything about that week was magical.”
The magic ended abruptly when they returned to the states and were bombarded by a news media saturated with stories of brutal violence and conflicts throughout the world.
“As a musician, I felt compelled to do something,” Tachoir said.
Once she had the concept she was positively driven to complete it. With a strong desire to have every component of the composition “enhance praying for peace,” she infused it with uplifting music and lyrics, liturgical readings and prayers.
“I was also mindful of the assembly participating in the singing,” explained Tachoir. “First, I started working on the ‘Glory to God,’ and it came surprisingly easy. The rest of the Mass parts took about 10 days to complete. After that came the Litany of Peace and remaining pieces.”
Although the resulting composition has strong contemporary jazz influences, Tachoir believes it is, at its core, reverential. She is quick to clarify that it is not a jazz concert, but a “Mass presented in a very creative musical setting.”
Currently self-published, Tachoir hopes the Jazz Mass will extend its optimistic message to churches and schools in the area, and possibly beyond.
“The creation of the Jazz Mass made me realize the importance of music for a purpose,” said Tachoir, “to enhance a liturgy to pray for world peace.”
The Jazz Mass will take place at 7 p.m., Feb. 12, with Holy Name Pastor Father Edwidge Carré as the celebrant. Accompanying Tachoir will be Connye Florance and Marlène’s daughter, Erica Tachoir, on vocals; her husband on vibraphone; Sam Levine on sax and flute; Roy Vogt on bass; and Rich Adams on drums. The event is open to the public. There will be a “free will offering” during Mass to help with some of the production expenses.
For those who would like to become a sponsor of the project, a $50 donation would place the name of an individual or business in the program for the evening. Those who give a $100 donation will also receive a copy of the video of the Jazz Mass for World Peace. Checks should be made out to Holy Name Church with “Jazz Mass for World Peace” written in the memo line, and sent to Holy Name Church, 521 Woodland St., Nashville Tenn. 37206. For more information, call (615) 254-8847.