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Create Hope – Reaping our rights: a concert in Moncton in aid of Share Lent 2024

By Nicolas Kalgora, Animator for New Brunswick, and Hadrien Gayap, Youth Ambassador in New Brunswick

Les chorales du concert

In Moncton, Easter celebrations could not have concluded any better than with an evening of choral singing. On Easter Monday, dozens of people gathered at Our Lady of Peace Church in the New Brunswick metropolis were entertained by four choirs from the diocese. They took turns singing on the altar steps of the small church to raise funds for Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada (DPCC).

From idea to action

Le directeur de chorale s'adresse au public

It all started with a simple idea exchanged between us in our respective capacities as region’s animator and youth ambassador. We approached the leaders of several choirs to sound out the field and ascertain the feasibility of the project. They readily agreed, and DPCC’s Moncton diocesan council validated, supported and even encouraged the idea to give it shape and life. A committee was formed with members of the diocesan council executive board and the two of us as DPCC staff representatives. At its first meeting, the committee realized that it would be important to envisage such an activity as a contribution to the collection for Solidarity Sunday, i.e., the 5th Sunday of Share Lent. Moreover, the idea of a benefit concert seemed natural in the context of Easter, not only to raise money for our organization, but also to bring the community together in continuity with the feast of Christ’s resurrection, and to sing praises to God.

Marie-Éva Gaudet, who was delighted to be part of the committee that organized this evening concert with four choirs from Moncton and Dieppe, said,

“The concert was a great success, and it gave me a real taste of the heart of the voices singing of the risen Jesus, who is well and truly alive. Thank you for this wonderful achievement.”

We would also like to highlight the voluntary work of young adults from the Université de Moncton, who welcomed the enthusiastic audience from the moment they arrived until they left that evening. One of them, Maurel, who was happy to have been able to welcome people of all ages and backgrounds, said,

“I liked the organization and was very moved by the guests’ participation in the fundraising. It was very beautiful overall. I particularly appreciated the performance by the Université de Moncton’s international choir.”

Involvement of the clergy, the faithful and the general public

Le public

In the front rows of the pews were the current Archbishop of Moncton, the Most Rev. Guy Desrochers, and his predecessor, the Most Rev. Valéry Vienneau. Also present were the chaplain of the Université de Moncton, two other priests and the deacon who works with them to serve Moncton’s St. John Paul II Pastoral Unit. They all spoke of the importance of this event for the Christian community of the Diocese of Moncton.

The audience came from Moncton, Dieppe and other surrounding areas. Announcements in parish bulletins and on social networks had informed thousands of people weeks beforehand. Attendees were clearly not disappointed to have come, as François Giroux from Dieppe testified,

“Everyone―choirs and audience, parents and children, young and old, people with disabilities, Acadians and newcomers― gathered in Moncton to celebrate solidarity and peace. I even began to dream that these songs of love and fraternity were gently spreading beyond the hall, across the world.”

Moncton resident Morgane Savary added,

“I had a great time at the concert, and the four choirs were impressive, not least because of the emotion in their voices. It was a very beautiful and powerful musical moment. Bravo for all your hard work!”

An intergenerational concert

The four choirs that performed on the altar steps were:

  • the children’s and adults’ choirs of St. Jean Paul II parish, which usually lead Masses at their church;
  • the Notre Dame d’Acadie international choir comprising young adults from the Université de Moncton, which adds zest to celebrations, especially Masses, at the university parish;
  • the Chorale of the St. Anselme parish in Dieppe, near Moncton.

All singers were equally proud to have been able to play at such an event for the first time. Amandine Zangré, from the Université de Moncton International Choir, exclaimed,

“For me as a chorister, taking part in this concert was an opportunity to support and contribute to an important cause, and a joy to enliven the audience with our songs. It was a meaningful experience that I’d love to repeat.”

Songs in the spirit of Easter

The little singers of the St. John Paul II children’s choir set the tone with their renditions of Pâques printemps de Dieu, followed by Tous les peuples battez des mains, Avec toi Seigneur and Viens Esprit Saint, before closing with Ça fait rire les oiseaux. With the table thus laid, the other three choirs followed with at least five songs each, all on the theme of Easter, delighting the audience who occasionally let go of all inhibitions to break into song or clap their hands.

A concert with results!

The evening raised over $2,800 to support DPCC’s work and to create hope for a more just and caring world. What’s more, the event helped recruit three new young adults, helping ensure the continuation of our commitment for years to come.

Among other things, videos, photos and posters of our campaigns were presented before and during the concert, enabling those who knew little or nothing about us to discover the fine work of our pan-Canadian international solidarity organization. It was a great way to explain what the money raised will be used to achieve.

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