Three Unforgettable Evenings with Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint Marc in Lebanon

Nelida Nassar  12.18.2013

At the initiative of Mr. Richard Pharaon from the We Group and in collaboration with the Institut Francais du Liban one of the world best known and beloved choral group returns to Lebanon for three unforgettable evenings. Christopher Barratier’s film Les Choristes in 2003, propelled Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint Marc or the cristalline voices to success and onto the international scene. The choir won nominations and prizes in various international film festivals, including the Academy Award for Best Original Score, for Best Foreign Language Film and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. They perform regularly on different stages both in and out of France including Canada, China, Ivory Coast, Japan, Lebanon, Russia, USA and European countries. They also have participated in various music festivals, such as Festival de Musique de Vieux Lyon, Printemps musical de Pérouges, and Festival d’Ambronay to name just a few. Welcomed by audiences and press critics worldwide, they are now regarded to be almost as important as the Vienna Boys Choir.

Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc’s members are selected from the same school and between the age of 9 to 15. The choir has enjoyed a reputation for 20 years in Lyon, France. It has also participated in various music festivals, such as Festival de Musique de Vieux Lyon, Printemps musical de Pérouges, and Festival d’Ambronay, les Éclectiques de Rocamadour to name just a few.

The choir was established by Nicolas Porte in 1986, a music genius who at a very young age started his music career in the Parish Choir of Lyon, later becoming a famous singer and interested in directing children’s choir. Porte started teaching in the music department of Saint-Marc school and established the choir in 1986. It is his ardent, passionate yet disciplinary teaching that paved the way for the choir to today’s glory. Porte loves music as he cherishes his own life, and has in the past 20 years passed on his love for music to the choir through his talented and diligent teaching. The choir practices daily for one and a half hour, classes in musicology and voice are part of the teaching. It is a pure delight to watch the precision, the economy of movements and gestures of his conducting. 

The choir often sings at charitable and humanitarian fundraisers such as the (League against Cancer Telethon, Sidaction, Homeless, Children and sharing ), for hospitals (Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, Debrousse Hospital in Lyon) or retirement homes.
Returning recently from a tour of six weeks in Asia that included China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint Mark recorded 12 new songs, in addition to their unforgettable repertoire of French ones. The record concludes by a duet with Henri Salvador interpreting Douce France.

At the University Saint Joseph opening night the twenty-four angelic youth appeared dressed smartly in their matching navy blue short pants and blazer with a light blue shirt underneath and white knee high socks. Accompanied by pianist Landry Chosson, they sang superbly a repertoire encompassing beloved popular songs by Frank Llyod Weber, Rodgers and Hammerstein, John Lennon, Paul McCarthy and Michael Jackson; classical masterpieces (O Sanctissima, La Nuit); holiday favorites and Christmas traditional chants (Mon beau sapin, Aujourd’hui le roi des cieux and Adeste Fideles). Their renditions of the two Ave Maria on the program one by Caccini, the other by Schubert were enthralling, unequivocally the highlights of the evening. The entire choir was superb but noteworthy are the four soloists Steve, Matthew, Jade and Lenoic. They are gifted musicians with voices of unforgettable beauty,  purity of tone, stage presence and distinctive angelic charm. The music sang was timeless with a universal appeal, and performance-wise was not just a concert for classical aficionados, it was a musical event that was uplifting, one felt transported body and soul. The audience from music lovers of all walks of life burst enthusiastically into applause calling for several encores, the choir generously complied three times. It felt more like a rock concert than choir music in a church. A concert that is not to be missed…

White Christmas by D. White
Vois sur ton chemin (from the movie “Les Choristes”) by C. Barratier / B. Coulais
For the beauty of the earth by J. Rutter
O Sanctissima by R. Prizeman
Let it be by J. Lennon / P. McCarthy
Ave Maria by Caccini
Moon River by J. Mercer & NH Mancini
Pie Jesu by A. Llyod Webber
Ave Maria by F. Shubert
L’Enfant au tambour H. Simeone
Caresse sur L’Ocean excerpt from the film “Les Choristes” by C. Barratier / B. Coulais
Don’t Cry for me Argentina by A. Llyod Weber
Mon beau sapin JE Berthier
I’m dreaming of home by Ph. Rombi
Aujourd’hui le Roi des Cieux by D. Willocks
Do-Re-Mi (excerpt from the film “Happiness Melody”) R. Rodgers / O. Hammerstein
La Nuit by J.P. Rameau
Heureux by J. Brel /  D. Faricier
Cerf-volant (excerpts from the film “Les Choristes”)
Douce Nuit, Stille nacht by F. Gruber
Petit Papa Noel by R. Viney / H. Martinet
We are the world by M. Jackson / D. Faricier
Le Chateau dans le ciel Japanese song
Adeste Fideles by D. Xillocks

Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Marc will sing Christmas carols and a repertoire of international popular songs:
December 19, 2013: Jesuit St Joseph Church, Achrafieh, USJ Street, 8.30 p.m.
December 20, 2013: Saint-Élie Church, Antélias, 8.30 p.m.
December 21, 2013: Notre-Dame de Jamhour Church, 4.00 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. 

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