This past September 30th, under the theme “Words in Song”, the “Polymnie” Choir Ensemble presented a magnificent concert at Maison Jésus-Marie. Within the context of the Cultural days in Longueuil, this chorale, under the direction of Louis Lavigueur, exuberantly highlighted the 175 years of existence of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM).
For the members of this choir as for the audience, the event had a very special character. It was an opportunity to highlight in music and words, the beautiful collaboration between the choir and the SNJM Congregation who supported the founding of this group that has brought happiness to many audiences.
Let us recall that this “Polymnie” Choir Ensemble took its name from Greek mythology (from one of the nymphs who inspired hymns and songs in honor of their heroes). Founded at Collège Durocher in 1977 by Raymond Laforge, assisted by Sr. Maryse Moisan, this choir the choir has continued its mission of presenting choral works of the past and the present.
Directed since 2002 by Louis Lavigueur, choir conductor, orchestra conductor and outstanding pedagogue, the “Polymnie” Choir Ensemble has seen its reputation spread, notably in collaboration with such partners as the symphony orchestras of Longueuil, Trois-Rivières and Montreal.
This chorale has taken part in many major events including several commemorative events such as during the 350th celebrations of the 350th of the founding of the city of Longueuil and the all-important 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club.
Honored several times throughout his exceptional career, Louis Lavigueur received the medal of a “Knight of the National Order of Quebec”. As he continues directing several choirs, he infuses them with dynamism and his great passion for music.
It is also this love of music, greatly shared by the SNJM’s, that led Louis Lavigueur to give this special concert to highlight the contribution of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary to the teaching and the promotion of music to thousands of students in Quebec. It was also a special way to thank the Sisters for their unwavering support of the “Polymnie” Choir.
The choir, accompanied magnificently on the piano by Anne-Marie Denoncourt, shone brightly in this diverse and high-quality program. It was followed by another moment of recognition, in the form this time, of a testimony. Chorister Gisèle Archambault spoke about the beginnings of the choir, the pioneers and the great influence of Sr. Maryse Moisan.
Recalling the beginnings of “Polymnie”, with Raymond Laforge and Sr. Maryse Moisan, assistant music director, Mrs. Archambault noted her contribution. “…for us young novice choristers, Maryse was like our mother; she who literally corrected or protected(?) our mistakes - our false notes with a lot of rigor mingled with gentle warmth.”
Sprinkling her tribute with several anecdotes, Mrs. Archambault shared the following with emotion and nostalgia. “Personally, I had the pleasure and honor of knowing and working with Maryse who was an excellent violinist and orchestra conductor – yes, that small orchestra you created to accompany “Polymnie”. I sang at your side and I played under your direction during our first “Polymnie”Christmas concert at the packed Saint-Antoine-de-Padoue Cocathedrale in 1977. Thank you Maryse, I have some very fond memories.”
Following the final notes of this great A CAPELLA choir and the beautiful tribute to Sr. Maryse Moisan, everyone was invited to the Saint André cafeteria for refreshments. Indeed, wonderful moments!