Tehillah Alphonso


Why did you join Tonality?

Growing up as a Black woman in Nebraska, I never saw anyone who looked or sounded like me in a classical setting. I never thought there was a place for me in choral music until I moved to LA and discovered Tonality. I was amazed at the fact that this choir was comprised of such a diverse group of people – culturally, musically, and otherwise – not for the sake of an aesthetic or filling a certain quota but, rather, creating a safe space where their differences could co-exist and still create incredible music. Tonality showed me that choral music doesn’t have to look or sound like one thing and that my life experience was valid and accepted. Tonality is a sneak peek of what I hope the world will look like one day.

Why do you feel a group like this is important?

Tonality doesn’t wait for tragedy to strike to speak up on the issues that have existed year-round. They don’t wait until self-reflection and accountability are trending to “stand in solidarity” with the oppressed. Tonality is the embodiment of “being the change they wish to see in the world” and proactively making a difference through music, challenging listeners to pay closer attention and take the first step in making small changes in their own lives.

What is a particular moment you remember from singing in a Tonality concert?

Opening for Björk and getting to sing “New Collective Consciousness” was certainly a highlight. We had the opportunity to discuss climate change through music for an audience that normally wouldn’t seek out something like that, and they listened! You could hear a pin drop in that auditorium from the silence while we sang, and it was so incredibly special.