Behind the Music
“I grew up in the picturesque part of Denmark called Mols Bjerge in a home with an old piano as the crown jewel of our humble country-side household. The bus left two times a day, so when I got home from school I immersed myself in music and in my library books. I felt alone. I dreamed myself away in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale about the flying trunk and imagined, how I would travel the world and sing and meet a lot of people when I would be old enough.
One day the local music school gave a concert in the gymnastics hall of my school. I raised my 8-year-old hand and asked how much it would costs to have piano-lessons. It was expensive. Later that day I asked my music teacher Carsten, what it would cost to study piano with him. He looked at me and said “20 kroner” – That’s like 3 dollars. I guess he had seen the writing on the wall.
Soon after, I also joined Carsten’s school choir. There I found friends and a community, where I could root. I felt a presence in the music and a connection with the other singers. Later in life, I also experienced how music can create a feeling of unity between the performers and the audience. Extraordinary moments can appear as a result of that synergy and it adds a dimension to the music itself that cannot be recreated. I have been chasing these moments ever since throughout my years as a student at the Royal Academy of Music and since 2012 as a professional singer, songwriter, arranger, choir-leader and entrepreneur.
I see my time in Vocal Line as a big and important part of my ongoing education. I have spent every Wednesday for 15 years learning from Jens Johansen and other great choir leaders and singers from the choir. I have learned from their experience and gradually tried to follow their lead. Ten years ago a smaller group, named Postyr, emerged from Vocal Line. A small speedboat that is still circling the big cruise ship, Vocal Line. The two groups have a big influence on each other. Vocal Line is the foundation of Postyr and many of Postyr’s experiments influence Vocal Line in one way or the other and vice versa.
When people ask me, what I do, I say, that I build greenhouses. I put up frames and create communities, where the singers of my choirs, the participants at Postyr Summer Camp or at Aarhus Vocal Festival thrive and get stimulated to root and grow strong. Sometimes I need the big “garden shears” and sometimes I carefully water. I try to create spaces for the new seedlings and give room for the bigger ones to unfold. I have an ambition for the choirs and for the music, but I am also interested in the individual choir singer. If they develop their own skills and feel the music stronger, then the overall musical level of the group improves too, and thereby the chances that the magic, I chase, will happen. When it does it is like watching the elegant flow and spontaneity of a flock of birds swirling across the sky.
It is a delicate discipline to balance the musical and social interplay in a group of people. You could write an entire book about the subject, and I did just that. Actually two handbooks about playful communities and social interaction using music, movements and games to get there. Long story short: When we sing together, we connect, and in the interaction between the singers, the conductor and the audience art arise.”
Tine Fris-Ronfeld is a Danish singer well-known throughout the choir and vocal music scene for her work as a singer, composer and arranger for the contemporary experimental vocal group “Postyr” and for her work as a singer, arranger and co-conductor of the renowned pop choir “Vocal Line”, with whom she recently won the 1st. Prize of The Eurovision Choir of the Year 2019. Tine has toured extensively in Europe, Asia, and the Americas with both Postyr and Vocal Line.
Tine has been a member of Vocal Line since 2005. With Vocal Line she has performed with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Rolling Stones, Tina Dickow, Mads Langer, Lukas Graham and The Real Group in venues such as Elb Philharmonie, Berliner Philharmonie, Rose Hall Theatre at Lincoln Centre, Orange Stage at Roskilde Festival and the concert hall of Tivoli Gardens and The Danish National Radio Hall.
Tine is a founding member of Postyr. With Postyr she has performed at venues such as Shenzen Concert Hall, Taichung Jazz Festival and as main act at vocal festivals in Europe, the US and in Taiwan and China. Postyr has won several international awards, among others a CARA-award for Best European Album for “Paper Tiger” and 1. Prize of Tampere Vocal Music Competition. Postyr’s singles have been in radio rotation in Germany and the group has placed commercial syncs for companies like Samsung, Vero Moda and Danmarks Radio.
Furthermore, Tine is the conductor of the Danish pop choir “Lyt”, co-conductor of the award-winning National Danish Youth Choir “Syng Selected”, co-author of the books ”Icebreakers – A practical Approach to Group Dynamics” and “Breaking the Ice – a Playful Approach to Social Interaction”, founder of a music and dance school for talented kids in the rural area, where she grew up and project leader and vice chairwoman of Aarhus Vocal Festival.
Since 2015 Tine has served as a member of the jury in the Chinese A Cappella Award “Beehive Awards” and on multiple occasions as a member of the jury in competitions in Europe, the US and Taiwan.
Tine Fris-Ronsfeld is a graduate of The Royal Academy of Music in Denmark, and she has almost 20 years of experience teaching solo singers, choirs and vocal groups in singing, stage performance and icebreakers. She has worked as a voice teacher at MGK Aarhus, where she has also directed the choir for a number of years. She has been a guest teacher at The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and Aalborg, Karlsruhe Musikhochschule and Univerität der Künste in Berlin and at vocal festivals, choir summits, and seminars in Norway, Sweden, England, Germany, the Netherlands, France, the US, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.