French choir to help bolster community

A new choir in Red Deer aims to bolster the French speaking community and offer a fun, musical environment to a group of children aged nine to 12 years.

Choir Director Roberta Koelmans-Cameron said that over the winter Red Deer Culture Services was talking with Ecole la Prairie School and decided that this opportunity would be welcome.

Chorale de Red Deer will begin practices April 17th and continue to June 5 as what Koelmans-Cameron calls a “pilot project.”

“If there is enough interest this year we will keep it going in the fall for sure.”

She has taught music for a number of years and said part of what she is looking forward to with the age range that the choir is geared for is the energy.

“They’re full of energy and enthusiasm and they learn the music very quickly. They’re much more flexible than adults I think and they learn a lot in just one hour.”

The choir practices will be held at Ecole la Prairie and Koelmans-Cameron said the school has been very welcoming and open to the idea of having rehearsals in their building.

“The school is really encouraging making this a viable experience for their students and other French immersion students in Red Deer.”

Koelmans-Cameron said there has been very positive feedback from the parents of interested children as well as the school and that, “It seemed like there was just a void to be filled here.”

The music selections will be quite broad and Koelmans-Cameron said a lot of it may be Canadian-folk music but that she likes to incorporate all cultures.

“We might have a bit of English but we are encouraging all French. We may even include African or Spanish or other cultural music with the lyrics in French.”

Registration is open until April 13th and information to register can be found through City Culture Services Centre or at any of the recreation centres.

Information for the choir can also be found in the ‘Spring and Summer Activity Guide’ on page 32.

The benefits of speaking two languages are well known but Koelmans-Cameron said there are other added bonuses to learning a second language and sharing it.

“The benefits for French have always been in the ability to share ideas across provinces and communicating with our French-speaking provinces and encouraging kids to talk to other French speaking children.”

She also said for Red Deer that it is a great opportunity for the French-speaking children to share the language outside of school and realize that it is a living language.

“We want to encourage everyone to come out for the choir and if there is enough interest we will continue to expand the project. There is a way to sing in French in Red Deer and this is just the start of something new.”