Le Vent du Nord, September 29, 2012, Minneapolis MN

UPDATE Sep 12, 2012: Here’s an interesting hour segment of the radio program Bonjour Minnesota for Sep 11, 2012, including several Le Vent du Nord numbers.

Date/Time: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, September 29, 2012
Venue: DeLaSalle High School, Nicollet Island, 1 DeLaSalle Drive, Minneapolis MN 55401
Parking: see Franco-Fete site (below).
Cost: $25 per person as part of Franco-Fete Minneapolis or separately through Brown Paper Tickets
Preliminary evening events (all included in ticket price):
5:30 p.m. – Lecture/Demonstration on Quebec music and culture by Le Vent du Nord
6:15 p.m. – St. Boniface Francophone Choir of Minneapolis
6:45 p.m. – Music and Stories hosted by Dan Chouinard and Guests
7:30 p.m. – Le Vent du Nord
About the band, from their website: Since its inception in August 2002, Le Vent du Nord have been enjoying rocketing success. They have received several prestigious awards, including a Juno. The band is now one of the most-loved Quebec folk outfits throughout the world. The group’s current line-up consists of singers / multi-instrumentalists Nicolas Boulerice, Simon Beaudry, Olivier Demers, and Réjean Brunet. Some of their songs come from traditional folk repertoire, while others are original compositions. On stage, these four friends achieve peaks of happiness they eagerly share with any and all audiences. Le Vent du Nord know how to deliver music that will move any crowd – to their feet and in their hearts! This is undoubtedly music of the here and now.
October 10, 2011, a group of us had a feast of an evening, listening to this band from Quebec, Le Vent du Nord.

Two in the audience that evening had this to say about this marvelous group: (I was there, I concur. It was a toe-tapping, playing spoons on the knee, kind of evening, par excellence!)
Ayant éprouvé la magie de ce groupe l’année dernière à Fargo, il y a certains mots qui me viennent à l’esprit tout de suite pour les décrire : excellent, génial… tiguidou ! L’occasion de pouvoir les voir icitte aux Villes Jumelles ne devrait pas être manquée.
Jon Tremblay
St. Paul MN
(Translation: Having experienced the magic of this group last year in Fargo, there are certain words that come to mind immediately to describe them: excellent, awesome… awesome ! The opportunity to be able to see them here in the Twin Cities should not be missed.)
[Le Vent du Nord] is one of my favorite bands from Quebec! This concert was so much fun it’s hard to put into words. Whether dancing with them on stage, or tapping feet in the audience we were all filled with joy; these French-Canadians can party. Music so good I can’t believe it’s legal!
Jane Peck
Dance Revels
Minneapolis MN
Le Vent du Nord is a specific stand-alone option for attendees at the Franco-Fete conference September 28-30, though the organizers of Franco-Fete would certainly invite your attendance at the remaining programs as well. All details about the entire conference can be found here (Registration/Payment form for the concert and other events Sep 28-30 will be found near the top of the page. Scroll a bit further down to the entry for Saturday evening, Le Vent du Nord et al for information about specific time, etc.)
(click on photos to enlarge)

Le Vent du Nord October 10, 2011

Audience joined the band October 10, 2011

Enjoying Le Vent du Nord October 10, 2011

See you at Franco-Fete, Minneapolis MN, September 28-30, 2012!
On se voit à Franco-Fête en Septembre les 28-30, 2012

Franco-Fete in Villes Jumelles (the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul) September 28-30, 2012

UPDATE Sep 12, 2012: Here’s an interesting hour with samples of Le Vent du Nord music and discussion of Franco-Fete on Bonjour Minnesota radio program Sep 11, 2012.
CONTACT INFORMATION: Check in occasionally. Scroll to end of this post.
Francophone, Francophile, French-Canadian ancestry…or know someone who is, or is interested? Consider passing this post along, about a very special event in Minneapolis September 28-30, 2012. That’s only two weeks away. Home website is here.

(click on all photos to enlarge them)

Statue of Pioneers corner of Marshall and Main Street NE, Minneapolis, less than a mile from the conference venue.

reverse side of Pioneer Statue

In 1980, the United States Census asked, for the last time, a question about the ethnic background of Americans.
That year, 7.9% of Minnesotans- 321,087 persons, one of every 12 citizens – declared themselves to be a least partially of French (France and/or French-Canadian) ancestry. Neighboring Wisconsin counted 7.3% Wiconsinites of such ancestry and many other states had very significant numbers of persons in this category. Fr-Can in U.S. 1980001
It is this base, and any of those with an interest in the French language and cultural influence, who will want to set aside the end of September, 2012, for the first-ever Franco-Fete in Minneapolis.
All details, including registration information, are on the web here.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: The agenda continues to evolve. Even if you’ve checked before, check back again to get a more complete picture of the entire conference. The music and meal programs especially should be reserved now as we anticipate very significant interest both Friday and Saturday evening.
Franco-Fete will include all the elements of a fine program: family, food, fun…along with academics, history, music…
This will be the first such Fete in Minneapolis-St. Paul, but is not a first ever venture.
Leader Dr. Virgil Benoit, French-Canadian (Franco-American), professor of French at the University of North Dakota and a lifelong part of the Red Lake Falls MN community, has been putting together similar festivals for over 35 years in various places in Minnesota and North Dakota. Dr. Benoit is a professor of diverse talents and great skill, as well as having great passion for the culture and language of his birth.
This years conference will be the largest and most ambitious thus far. Most likely it will be continued in subsequent years.

Virgil Benoit ca 2008 compliments of Anne Dunn

There are two major venues for this years Conference:
Our Lady of Lourdes Church, since 1877 the spiritual home of Minneapolis French-Canadians, will be the venue for Friday night Sep 28. The below photo, taken ca 1968, shows Lourdes as it was before the development of Riverplace around it in the early 1980s.)
DeLaSalle High School, a few short blocks from Lourdes on Nicollet Island in the Mississippi River, and within a short walk of downtown Minneapolis, will be the venue for all of Saturday Sep 29 programs.
On Sunday, September 30, at noon, the French-speaking congregation at St. Boniface Catholic Church in nearby northeast Minneapolis, will host those who wish to experience the Catholic Mass in French. This community, largely immigrants from African countries with French colonial overlays, is a vibrant French-speaking community in the midst of the Twin Cities. While not a formal part of the conference, we urge participants to take part in this ending celebration.

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Minneapolis, 1968

Our Lady of Lourdes, August 7, 2012

DeLaSalle High School, Nicollet Island, Minneapolis MN

Fr. Jules Omalanga, pastor St. Boniface Catholic Church, Minneapolis, after Mass March 25, 2012

After a sit-down supper at Our Lady of Lourdes on Friday Sep 28, and tour of the church, noted musician Dan Chouinard and friends will give a concert in the sanctuary of the Church.
On Saturday evening Sep 29 the noted Quebec band Le Vent du Nord will do music workshops and a music program at DeLaSalle. They are internationally noted, and one of Canada’s most popular ensembles. (The web page can also be accessed in French.) UPDATE: More on the Le Vent du Nord event here.. Tickets can also be purchased on-line here. The evening program begins at 5:30 p.m.
The St. Boniface Francophone Choir of Minneapolis, Dan Chouinard and others will also be part of this evening extravaganza.

And Sunday Sep 30 at noon, the community at St. Boniface will host all for Catholic Mass in French.
Again, Franco-Fete is only two weeks away!
Now is the time to enroll.

NOTE: You can find many related commentaries using search word Quebec or French-Canadian. Or enter any of the following numbers in the search box and click enter: (Each has a basis in French-Canadian or Quebec) #15 Grandpa; 28 Weller; 43 Fathers Day; 280; 306; 313; 388; 449; 450; 459; 481; 486; 510; 550; 573; 582; UPDATE Sep 5: 585; 610; Aug. 17, 2012; Sep. 1, 2012;
You are invited to submit your own commentaries, either as a distinct blog post, or as a comment to be added here.

General, local contact:
Dick Bernard
cell 651-334-5744 (leave message, with return phone #).
Specific, including interview requests:
Dr. Virgil Benoit
University of ND at Grand Forks
toll-free: 855-864-2634

Clotilde Blondeau and Octave Collette about July 12, 1869

Clotilde Blondeau and Octave Collette married at St. Anthony of Padua in then-St. Anthony, now-Minneapolis MN July 12, 1869. In 1871 the City Directory showed them, and the rest of Collette family, living at what is now the corner of SE 2nd Street and SE 6th Avenue at what is now a block or two from Father Hennepin Park and Minneapolis’ Stone Arch Bridge, and perhaps three blocks from I-35E bridge. More here.
Additional information for those with a continuing interest in matters French-Canadian are invited to visit here. This space will be updated and may well become a continuing presence for those with an interest.

#452 – Dick Bernard: Heritage is alive and well! (Part 2 of 4)

Related posts: here and here and here.
Earlier this summer I more or less formally resigned my volunteer position as family historian. Thirty years and several books was enough, I reasoned.
But one just doesn’t “resign” from such a “career”, I’ve learned, and the past week, which began with publication of this October 5 post on Heritage is evidence.
October 6 I was at the ND farm near Berlin where my mother grew up, helping “rescue” (a favorite term of my Dad) scrap iron for my uncle. In the junk behind a shed we recovered two pieces of farm history: the remnants of two single bottom hand plows (ploughs), the oldest of which (at right in photo below) probably turned the first furrows when Grandma and Grandpa began to plow the virgin sod prairie in 1905. This plow would have been pulled by a team of horses, and the accompanying wooden accessories have long since rotted away, but the business end remains, and is now safely stored in my uncle’s shed. A few days later, I saw a similar though larger plow in Ada MN, a monument to the pioneers who broke ground in that area. That is the second photo, below. (Click on photos to enlarge)
Both ploughs were surprisingly light and in surprisingly good condition, most likely having laid outside for as much as 100 years or more. When I picked them up I was symbolically reconnecting with my grandparents and their heritage.

Remnants of two one-bottom plows, October 6, 2011. Oldest at right.

Monument to pioneers, Ada MN October 10, 2011

A few days later, in Park Rapids MN, I had the privilege of helping lead a group of 59 people in a conversation about Heritage. The base of discussion was the list found here. There was a vibrant and rich conversation among the participants about what their heritage was, and what it might mean. Our 90 minutes flew by. Here’s a photo of the participants in the session:

Park Rapids MN Headwaters Center for Lifelong Learning October 11, 2011, meeting in Community Room of Northwoods Bank, Park Rapids MN

The very act of gathering and conversing about shared and diverse elements of heritage became a community building exercise in itself, one said.
Between October 6 and 11 came other examples of how the melting pot heritage of America is very rich.
October 7 and 8, I participated in the Midwest French Festival and Convention in Moorhead and Fargo. The below photos represent the tiniest view of a vibrant Festival. More photos on Facebook, here.
In order of appearance:
1) Timothy and Doree Kent discussed the Voyageur, Native and Metis life of the 17th Century before several hundred students and adults.

Tim and Doree Kent October 7, 2011

2) Several persons explained, in English, French and Norwegian, the statue of the Norwegian Rollo across from the Sons of Norway Lodge in Fargo. (Rollo had much to do with the history of the French province of Normandy.) (The inscription on the statue in Fargo: “Rollon. Born 860 A.D. at More, Norway. Founded the Dukedom of Normandy 911. His line through William the Conqueror became the Royal House of England 1066 and of Norway 1905.”)

Statue of Rollo, edge of downtown Fargo, ND, October 8, 2011

Reading the history of the Rollo statue in English, French and Norwegian, October 7, 2011

3) Parishioners at the rural Wild Rice ND parish of St. Benoit (Benedict) gave a most interesting tour of their Church, center of a community with a rich and long French-Canadian heritage.

A tour of St. Benoit Parish, Wild Rice ND, October 8, 2011

4) Dan Truckey, Director, Beaumier Heritage Center, Northern Michgian University, Marquette and Dave Bezotte, Archivist, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, gave a workshop, and performed French-Canadian music for the group. Both are involved in keeping French-Canadian heritage alive in the Upper Peninsula.

Dave Bezotte and Dan Truckey perform at the conference, October 7, 2011

5) In the evening, the great Quebec group Le Vent Du Nord gave a fabulous concert. Later this month they are among a select group of world musicians performing at a major gathering in Copenhagen, Denmark. Many samples of their music can be found on YouTube, and at their website is the Sep 17, 2011, performance of Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, on which they were guest artists.

Le Vent du Nord, Fargo ND, October 8, 2011

Group Dance to the Musique of Le Vent du Nord October 8, 2011

There is, literally, no end to the potential for conversations about our heritage, and the conversations are interesting and indeed essential. We are, indeed, who we came from; and we live on in those who descend from us.
October 10, at Itasca Park, at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, we came across a family celebration. We don’t know the persons names: the elders had their first date at the headwaters in 1948. She was 17 from Osakis MN, he 21, from Floodwood MN. They married, lived and are now retired in California, and they were joined by some of their family. Their family, joined with others from many cultures, many countries and many places in the U.S., make up our collective country and world heritage.
Let us celebrate Heritage in the broadest and most positive sense.

At Lake Itasca MN, Headwaters of the Mississippi R, October 10 2011