Petits chanteurs de la Maîtrise de Québec
Petits chanteurs de la Maîtrise de Québec. Choir school founded in 1915 at the request of Cardinal Louis-Nazaire Bégin to provide a choir for capitular mass, high mass, and divine services at the Quebec basilica, and to teach boys the art of choral singing. Originally called the Petite Maîtrise Notre-Dame, in 1947 the school became the Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de bois de Québec, following affiliation with the Fédération internationale des Pueri Cantores (International Federation of Choir Schools). It 1954 it took the name of Maîtrise du chapitre de Québec, and in 1981, it adopted its present name following important modifications.
The choir school, as known until 1981, accepted boys aged 9 to 12. The Quebec Catholic School Board provided an academic training while the Quebec chapter was responsible for moral education and for compulsory music and singing classes, and lessons in a choice of piano, violin or recorder. It was directed by Placide Gagnon 1915-19, Joseph De Smet 1919-53, Fernand Biron 1953-4, Georges Marchand 1954-77, Jean-Eudes Beaulieu 1977-80 and Marie-Andrée Paré 1980-2. In 1981, the Quebec chapter withdrew from its work, not being able to fulfill the mandate set forth by the founders. The Quebec Catholic School Board then took full responsibility of the school which became a mixed school accepting boys and girls from the fourth to the sixth grade. In 1986, the school began to offer a Secondary I program and the following year, Secondary II. In addition to receiving an academic and religious education, the children devote one third of their schedule to music and singing instruction, and may study an instrument. In 1981 Diane Lapierre, the director of the school, became its artistic director, while the choir was conducted by Claude Gosselin 1981-5, who was succeeded by Réginald Côté in 1985.
The choir also participates in some eucharistic celebrations in the parishes of Quebec city and surrounding cities. The choir has given numerous concerts and has performed with the Quebec Symphony Orchestra and in stage productions. At the 1962 and 1963 Quebec Music Festivals (renamed Canadian Music Competitions) it came first in its class. Its repertoire includes polyphonic and Gregorian works, masses, religious and secular songs, Christmas carols, folksongs, and action songs. Radio-Marie has released an LP of religious songs (1965, ND-36521) and a single of songs composed by members of the choir (ND-57203). For several years the Maîtrise has enrolled its members in summer camps in various parts of the province of Quebec (see Summer camps and schools).