From Mozart to Lady Gaga via Brel, the comeback of the choir

From Mozart to Lady Gaga via Brel, the comeback of the choir

Night has fallen on the 15th arrondissement of Paris and while the Saint-Charles center, an annex of the University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne is gradually deserted by its students, small groups are patiently waiting for the elevator to arrive. Direction the 5th floor where, every Wednesday at 7 p.m., the rehearsal sessions of the choir of Paris 1 take place. After about fifteen minutes of vocal warm-up, the group, of about thirty people, settles in an arc circle around Quentin Lafarge, who exceptionally replaces Guilhem Terrail, the choir director with whom they are used to rehearsing.

In their hands, the score of the Mass in C minor by Mozart, a little classic gem that they will perform during two performances scheduled for June 9 and 11, in the Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church, in the heart of the district. Latin. “For the first time, we will be accompanied by an orchestra of 37 instruments, I think we will have the impression of taking off from the ground”, rejoices in advance Frédérique, president of the association of the Choir of Paris 1 and member of the choir.

“When we cover such a famous composer, we say to ourselves that we have no room for error. And it’s not every week that we have the opportunity to be accompanied by such an orchestra either, so obviously it’s a great challenge,” adds Clément, a first-year history student and new choir recruit as a tenor.

“It’s rewarding to sing in your university”

So they rehearse, methodically following the advice of the assistant choir director who takes the time to resolve each difficulty, with seriousness but not without a touch of humour. “Don’t sing that like you’re being punished!” he slips into a smile, before asking the sopranos to resume, alone, the passage of the score studied. Anna is one of them. She is in her second year of a law and history double degree and has been singing in the choir for two years. “When I come to rehearsals, I have the impression of finding a kind of family, it’s like a hug, it encompasses”, says the young woman who has been singing since she was little.

“It’s a much less formal setting than the one I knew at the conservatory, and above all it’s rewarding to sing at your university. » But isn’t it too difficult to progress individually when you sing in a large group, without being drowned in the mass of more or less experienced singers? “On the contrary, I have the impression of progressing more. We resume by desk, and then the time we spend listening to others allows us to ask ourselves questions about our own practice, ”analyzes Anna.

“Singing in public gives me self-confidence”

Maïssa, 17, and Keyliane, 16, are both part of the Jeune choir de l’Oise, directed by Valéry Thuet, at the conservatory of Creil. Their journey is similar: they joined the CHAM sector (class with flexible hours for music) in the sixth form at the Jules-Michelet college where they discovered choral singing. in choir C4. A practice that they continued once they entered high school, except that now rehearsals take place in the evening, on Thursdays and Fridays after class.

“It forces you to organize yourself, to better manage your time. We are more responsible and that’s a great advantage,” explains Keyliane. In terms of music, his thing is more American rap, not quite suited to the choir. However, Valéry Thuet does not only offer classical or French variety to his singers. On tour, the choir presents songs ranging from Jacques Brel to Lady Gaga, including world music “Creil is a city where 106 nationalities mix, so we study songs in Wolof, Chilean or even Muslim prayers or hymns of Judaism,” says Valéry Thuet. “For the little anecdote, learning songs in English for years has allowed me to increase my abilities and improve my accent”, slips Maïssa.

But this is not the only advantage of the choir. It offers young people who practice it a multitude of strings to their bow in their daily lives, far from desks. “Singing in public gives me confidence. When I give presentations or during the French baccalaureate last year, I am not anxious about the idea of ​​speaking in front of a jury or a class, ”says Maïssa, who would also like to make singing her job. . Keyliane was able to work on her sociability, “it really opened my mind, it allows me to reach out more to others and to enjoy the moments spent in community. »

Anna, the chorister of Paris 1 praises the soothing power of singing “the choir allows you to decompress, to de-stress, it plays a lot on morale. According to feedback from Valéry Thuet, who must select only a handful of students each year to join the Young Choir of Oise and Frédérique Boursicot, the president of the Chœur de Paris 1 association, requests to take part in choirs tributary. “There are a few more registrations each year and especially young people stay in the choir even after finishing their studies”, rejoices the president.

Militant while singing

The choir can also be a way to make your voice heard, both literally and figuratively. Send messages, bring to the ears of the greatest number of voices that are often silenced or to which society does not give sufficient space for expression. Feminist choirs, feminist afros or queer choirs have been spreading in France for a few years. Like Hot Bodies of the Future, a record label and production company founded in 2019 by Gérald Kurdian, musician and performer. A project which then extended to the choir, called Hot Bodies Choirfollowing the meeting of Chloé Rémy at the FGO-Barbara, a music center located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris which hosted workshops led by Gérald.

“Our idea was to question the way in which minoritized bodies use music and musical practices to push their evolution,” says the artist, “but also what it means to use one’s voice or to carry the voice of a group. Adele, 18, joined the now self-managed choir this year. It was during a visit to T2G, the Gennevilliers theater that she heard about a feminist choir workshop. “I had never heard of it before, I had no idea it existed,” explains the young woman student in humanities and performing arts at the University of Paris Nanterre.

“In this choir, there is a very egalitarian aspect, very open, where all the words are considered important. I feel comfortable there, listened to, in a safe environment. » Their repertoire? Texts of feminist, queer or decolonial activism, which are then discussed in workshops and from which are born, following these conversations, new texts, put into songs. “It’s a way to express yourself in a pacifist but militant way, to convey our values. And then it’s also a good way to take the opposite view of the singing community, which is still quite patriarchal. »

Source link

Leave a Reply