Singing again: Hallelujah!
By Anne Johnston
If you have happened to walk past the Église du Village playhouse on a weeknight sometime in past years, you may have heard some beautiful music wafting out. The playhouse is, after all, the designated practice hall for the Chœur Tremblant choir, formally named “a cultural treasure of the Laurentians” in 2016.
The beautiful old wooden walls echoed to the sound of voices once a week from September till late spring. All that stopped, of course, with Covid-19. Choral singing was identified as a viral spreader, and in fact the playhouse itself was closed for a year and a half. The Chœur Tremblant went into pause mode until practices could resume, and its artistic director Michel Brousseau resigned.
So the choir’s board of directors had challenges to face, of which the most pressing was to identify the new artistic director. Several board members had heard excellent comments about Mr. Louis Babin, artistic director of the Val-David choir Ô Chœur du Nord and of the Joliette choir Les Chanteurs de la Place Bourget. He was approached…and showed interest. So who is Louis Babin?
The most important thing to know about him is probably his passion for music. He has an impressive resume – see louisbabin.com – and loves to learn. He is currently working on a master’s degree in choral direction at the Université de Sherbrooke, adding it to his master’s degree in composition and his training in viola and trumpet at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal.
He even had a successful earlier career as a professional trumpeter, has directed international ensembles and orchestras and is an internationally known composer. All that might be intimidating, except that Mr. Babin has excellent teaching skills and a sense of humour that makes practices lively and fun. What’s more, the new repertoire will be more eclectic, you might even say more accessible, than in the past. Mr. Babin is also clear and enthusiastic about the value of choral singing.
“It’s a musical experience,” he notes, “where individuals learn to know themselves better. A vocal ensemble creates an environment where the result of the whole is greater than the simple addition of each singer. It’s an extraordinary sensation that the singers want to share with their listeners.”
Now the Chœur Tremblant is planning to resume its activities. On September 7, at 6 p.m. in the Église du Village playhouse (1829 chemin du Village facing Lac Mercier), all choristers old and new will be welcomed to an initial gathering. Voices will be checked by Mr. Babin to identify where their owners belong – soprano, alto, tenor or bass – as well as their ability to sing on tune.
General information about the choir, its repertoire and its expectations of choir members will be shared. From then on, practices will be held every Tuesday evening from 7 p.m. till 9:30 p.m., with concerts in December and May. A choral group is a community, a team, a way to meet people, an opportunity to create beauty and much more.
As an activity it requires work, but provides great pleasure and satisfaction in return. It even provides health benefits! And choristers don’t have to know music: excellent learning tools will be provided. Come be part of the Chœur Tremblant. Become one of those making the beautiful music that wafts out of the playhouse… and thrills concert-goers.