Death of Tanya Talbot Pupils say goodbye to their music teacher with a sea of flowers

Bad Godesberg · Pupils, parents and staff from Bonn International School said goodbye to their music teacher Tanya Talbot with an extraordinary funeral procession.

 Mourners lay flowers for Tanya Talbot on the bonnet of the hearse.

Mourners lay flowers for Tanya Talbot on the bonnet of the hearse.

Foto: Thomas Kölsch

Around 200 students, parents and staff from Bonn International School (BIS) as well as members of the International Voices Choir lined up in the American Quarter on Saturday to bid farewell to the popular music teacher and choir director Tanya Talbot.

At a distance from one another, the people gathered on part of the central reservation on Kennedyallee and along Martin-Luther-King-Straße to pay their last respects to the 50-year-old. Via video stream they followed the funeral service in Stimson Memorial Chapel and commemorated a woman who left a lasting mark on the lives of every single person present. “She was the embodiment of music,” said choir singer Franca Stauder, "every second with her was a gift. She always knew how to make the best of everything and everyone.”

Londoner came to Bonn in 2010

Tanya Talbot died of a heart attack on 20 April. Born in London, she studied music at the University of Warwick and came to Bonn with her family in 2010. In the same year, to bring the adults at BIS together, she founded the International Voices Choir, which grew from the original twelve members to over 80 at the last count. Concerts held in the Bonn and Cologne cathedrals were among the group’s highlights, but its main focus was above all on the community.

“Her greatest strength was that she could motivate people,” recalled Stacey Kimmig from the US, whose son was a student at BIS. "She gave me back the joy of singing. I can barely imagine what it will be like without her. After all, she was ultimately the choir.” And more. “She was always very enthusiastic and had a presence throughout the whole school,” said youngsters Franz-Josef Knops, Bars Nyam and Mark Renkemer, who are friends of Talbot's son. “She greeted everyone with a bright smile and was always there for you if you had a question or a problem.”

Hearse bonnet full of flowers

After the service, the hearse took one more lap of honour to the Bonn International School, while mourners covered the bonnet with a symphony of flowers. This had been approved by the public order office in Bonn at the request of the bereaved, thus allowing a ceremony to take place that showed the impact Tanya Talbot had, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

All those who she had encouraged to make music over the past eleven years were able to pay their last respects to her with heavy hearts. Appropriately, the song "Tanya, thank you for the music", a recording made by her choir for the occasion, rang out from loudspeakers along the road. The family has appealed for donations to be used to set up a special music programme at the Bonn International School in honour of Tanya Talbot. (Original text: Thomas Kölsch, Translation: Caroline Kusch)

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