The Echoes of the Pacific 50th Anniversary Show will be held May 13 at St Lawrence Church in Coquitlam.
Five decades ago, church choirs from the parishes of Our Lady of Lourdes in Coquitlam and Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church wanted to form a secular choir.
Their goal was to revive the French-Canadian language and culture in Maillardville, a neighborhood inhabited for more than a century by Quebeckers working at the Fraser Mills Lumber Mill and, after World War II, by French-speaking Prairie dwellers.
Daniel Bouchard was 19 at Les Ecos du Pacifique and it all started in October 1973.
As a member of the Congrégation de Fatima, he signed with the fledgling community choir to continue French-Canadian traditions, as well as learn and share songs.
“Singing, especially choral singing, is my passion,” said the retired elementary immersion teacher with family roots in Manitoba.
The founding member took a hiatus from Echoes, but returned 25 years ago for a silver memorial gala where former singers were encouraged to hear the tune.
Bouchard said the old feelings are back.
A Coquitlam resident said, “There’s nothing quite like singing in four-part harmony.” News from the Three Cities.
“When you sing together, it is as if all the neurons in your brain are activated at the same time. We don’t just sing, we make music.”
On May 13, the tenor will be on stage with another 16 golden years tribute to Les Equus. It takes place at St. Lawrence Anglican Church (825 St. Lawrence Street), Bouchard said, under the direction of Marla Mason — a “witch” who’s been holding the wand for 10 years.
There, in a show called French in the choir (translation: French at heart), the group will perform a variety of songs in French, ranging from Old French songs to Acadian folk songs and jazz arrangements by choir member (and Mason’s husband) Ron Smile, as well as other Canadian composers.
Danica Jovanovic, who is now the CEO and treasurer, said she joined Aswat 18 years ago after moving from Yellowknife and then Vancouver Island. When she took a job babysitting French, the outgoing teacher asked Jovanović for a spot in the choir.
“It was the greatest gift,” said one New Westminster resident. I wanted to live a cultural experience and be close to my mother tongue. “It gave me a sense of belonging to the francophones.
Like Bouchard, Jovanovic said she is also looking forward to the spring concert for Les Échos’ 50th anniversary because “we want people to have access to music to help the French language grow.”
And she added: “This program that we offer for the concert is very interesting because it is the beautiful pieces that I love, as well as the pieces of composers that I have not heard of before.”
“We also have spoons and pedals. There is something for every taste.”
tickets French in the choir On May 13, $20/$15 tokens were received via Brown paper tickets; Entry is free for children 13 years old and under.
Former members of the choir are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a special invitation to the 7:30 p.m. performance.
Les Echos members
- Annie Anderson
- Danica Yovanovitch
- Crystal McEwan
- Julie Winter
- Enza Arquilla
- Marion Piggott
- Maryse Riley
- Diane Tegman
- Daniel Bouchard
- James Kim
- David Roger
- Ron Smile
- Alex Jones
- Stephen Maipa
- Sean Brewer