Les Chantamis* began in 1967, when Sister Thérèse Potvin united a group of friends to sing at Canada’s Expo ’67 as a Centennial project. Les Chantamis’ original conductor, Léonard Rousseau, led the choir through its first 10 years. The Chantamis have since then had the opportunity to work with many gifted conductors
In the Beginning
One day… a song… some friends… the fall of 1966… Sister Thérèse Potvin invited thirty or so Franco-Albertans to unite in song. In 1967, this same group prepared a mini-concert which was presented in Quebec as part of a gala choral concert under the auspices of the Centennial Federation Commission. This assembly established strong bonds of friendship that led a small nucleus of choristers to form the choir now known as “Les Chantamis”. During the next 12 years, Les Chantamis sang under the capable direction of Mr. Leonard Rousseau.
Through the Years…
Throughout the years, the choir has presented concerts for non-profit organizations as well as at hospitals, senior citizen homes and provincial museums and other venues. In addition to promoting French-Canadian culture within the city of Edmonton, the choir has presented concerts and workshops throughout the province of Alberta. The choir has also performed across Canada, various venues in Europe and at Expo 1974 in Washington and most recently in Latvia.
The choir has been spotlighted in various television programs and specials throughout its 51 years of existence. In 1975, the choir recorded its first record album, entitled “Déjà dix ans”, and a Christmas CD “Noël avec Les Chantamis” was recorded in 1997 to celebrate the choir’s 30th anniversary.
Les Chantamis is proud of its accomplishments. The choir has experienced a musical evolution over the past 51 years. Under its first director, Leonard Rousseau, Les Chantamis were recognized for their expertise in the domain of French popular music. A folkloric aspect was introduced to the choir’s repertoire by Michel Landry who assumed leadership following Mr. Rousseau. Under the directorship of Laurier Bisson, the choir widened its horizons to include music from all periods. With the choir’s present director, Marie-Josée Ouimet, the choir is adding a touch of popular music and jazz. Often partnering with professional dancers, singers and instrumentalists to enrich the vocal and visual components of its concerts, Les Chantamis sing a varied programme of both classical and contemporary songs in French, English, and in other languages.
Les Chantamis brings a personal growth to its members, gives a “joie de vivre” to its audience, and gives to all its heart and soul !