French singing group keeps culture in mind

The group has more than 600 songs in its repertoire

Members of a local singing group keep their history in the forefront of their minds as they gather to sing a variety of French songs, share French recipes, memories and more.

“I started it because I have a desire to sing in French,” said Suzanne Bernard, who moved to the area from Montreal 26 years ago. “And especially to be able to sing to my granddaughters.

“I discovered I’m forgetting the songs that are part of my childhood.”

Bernard began organizing the group called Nous Chantons four years ago, and today there is an active group of about 14 ladies, although it’s not limited to females. The group is open to anyone who has a passion for singing and can understand the French language, Bernard said. Currently the group is made up of Francophones from New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and B.C., as well as some Anglophones who speak French.

The group has more than 500 songs in their repertoire, including songs from Quebec and France, as well as international songs, folk, country, kids songs and Christmas songs.

Although right now they do not do any public performances, Bernard said in the future they would like to sing in seniors’ homes. But for now, she said, they sing for the “pure pleasure of singing in French.”

“It’s so fulfilling for your heart and [it connects] you to your roots.” Nous Chantons gathers Wednesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 at various locations. For more info or to join call Suzanne at 250-248-8714.