Celebrating culture through song

French singing group has 425 songs in its repertoire and is accepting new members

Caricatures of the member’s of the local French singing group Nous Chantons. The group is welcoming new members.

LISSA ALEXANDER

reporter@pqbnews.com

Suzanne Bernard was singing French songs to her grandchild nearly six years ago when she realized there was a need in the community for a singing group.

“I was stopping in the middle of the songs saying, ‘Oh, I forgot the words!” said the Parksville resident who moved to the area from Montreal 28 years ago.

Bernard started the group Nous Chantons to enjoy the songs but also to remember and celebrate French Canadian culture and history, and today a core group of 12 people do just that.

Bernard taught French Immersion classes at the elementary school level in the area before retiring, and said music was a big part of the children’s learning.

“That’s the way we learned the language with a lot of songs and nursery rhymes,” she said.

Nous Chantons has a repertoire of 425 songs, including music from Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, France, Martinique, Spain, Louisiana and more.

The group has members spanning the Canadian provinces and Bernard said she has discovered that one of the members is related to her from nine generations ago.

“We found a line in common from a brother or sister,” she said.

Nous Chantons starts up again for the season Sept. 10 and gets together for two hours every Wednesday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. New members are welcomed.

The only stipulations to becoming a member is having a passion for singing and the ability to understand (not necessarily speak) French.

Last year the group started singing at senior’s homes in the area and in Nanaimo, and have sung twice at the Maple Sugar Festival in that city.

Bernard said the group takes turns hosting their Wednesday sessions at each other’s homes and thoroughly enjoy their experiences.

“We are very happy to sing together,” she said. “It’s a nice time to share our life and our French culture at break time.”

Call Bernard for more information at 250-248-8714.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Regional District of Nanaimo urges residents to sign up for new emergency alert system

RDN aligns its alert technology with Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach

Cougar euthanized after attacking small dog in Dunsmuir area

Attack happened during middle of the day while family was outside painting house

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Most Read