Take seven local gentlemen with rich, vibrant voices, a variety of curious instruments, and a collection of classic gospel and contemporary tunes, and you have Table 18's spring concert. The concert took place at Westminster United Church on Friday evening, April 12th.
The seven vocalists have been gathering every Monday over the winter months, sharing their love of music and a spirit to perform. The group has some new members and some who have rotated out, but there are some mainstays, two of whom are the brothers Kosokowsky.
The group had its beginnings years ago under the guidance of beloved musician, vocalist, and choir leader Paul Reist. Reist's undeniable passion for sharing music led to the formation of several male choirs over the years. Although the names and faces may have changed, his hand in the creation of the initial choir is still felt to this day in the music of Table 18.
Richard and Willie Koskowsky have somewhat taken up the mantle of leadership, but they are quick to credit Reist with their ongoing efforts. Richard Kosokowsky recalls, "Paul started us out. Willie was with Paul longer than me, but then he asked me to join, and I did. And it was fun."
The group gathers once a week with no particular aspirations for fame and glory. They simply share their love of music. That said, the group has found itself in demand performing for groups and various causes throughout the area.
When Paul Reist passed away in November of 2014, the communities of Humboldt and Muenster, and for that matter the wider music community, felt a great loss. Willie Kosokowsky says, "That was one of the toughest things. It was a huge, huge tragedy. It was at least two years before we thought we can really go with it. It's a legacy to Paul; he got a lot out of us that we probably wouldn't have been able to do."
Along with the rich harmonies of the group, Richard Kosokowsky credits Paul Reist's encyclopedic knowledge of music and his ability to transmit those skills to his students and friends for their continuation today.
The group's eclectic choice of music ranged from traditional standards like Scarborough Fair, to deep south spirituals and gospel, to more contemporary works by the likes of Neil Young and Great Big Sea. A showstopper was the resonant and soaring rendition of Hallelujah by the late Leonard Cohen.
The group has one more performance before going on its summer hiatus. Here's hoping this fall's Monday nights will be filled with music for next year's winter and spring concerts.