April 22, 2016
While I was working as a newspaper reporter in Gravelbourg, I realized that the people there had a special connection to Quebec. This was because many of the residents were French Canadian surrounded by mostly English speaking Canadians.
Quebec, to these people, was like the motherland or fatherland.
To be especially invited to La Bell Province was an honour.
Here is an article I wrote about one student who achieved this but also maintained a loyalty to the Prairie provinces:
November 23, 1982
College Student travels to music fesitival in Quebec
by Tanya Lester
Saskatchewan will be hearing more from Colette Brisebois, a College Mathieu student in Gravelbourg.
Ms. Brisebois recently represented the province in a singing competition at The Granby French Festival in Quebec for the second year in a row. She will soon be doing a recording session with the French language CBC Radio in Regina which will be aired in the future.
For Ms. Brisebois, the radio airtime in Regina, is more in line with her ambitions that competing in Quebec. “I’d rather stay in Saskatchewan and sing here and in Manitoba,” she said.
Although Ms. Brisebois recognizes the advantages of participating in the Quebec competition, she does not intend to go again. “It’s a very good experience as far as playing in front of a different audience goes,” she said. However, she added that two of the three people she was competing against were “just out to kill.”
“I think when you go to a competition, you don’t go there to win,” Ms. Brisebois said. “You do your best but you have to go with a good attitude.”
But Ms. Brisebois, who is 17 years old, came close to winning the category in which she entered — orgininal composition. The man who won the category was 28 years old and had many more years singing experience. He was Roland Bourgeois from Halifax, Nova Scotia.
There were entrants representing Manitoeba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia at the Festival as well as from Saskatchewan.
Ms. Brisebois flew into Quebec, on an all expenses paid flight, on Friday, November 12. The contestants met with professional technicians on Saturday, November 13. The technicians helped Ms. Brisebois and the others arrange lighting and sound for each performance. The stage was constructed especially for the Festival.
The competition was held on Saturday evening. Ms. Brisebois sang and played the piano while being accompanied by a flute player, Joanne Rocque who also attends College Mathieu. Including her introduction, Ms. Brisebois performed her own music and songs for 25 minutes.
There was a 20 minute break between the competitors in Ms. Brisebois’ category and another category — those who interpreted songs written by others. After that, the three judges, who were professional singers, announced the winners.
Ms. Brisebois had a bit of time to look around the city of Granby, which is located 30 miles from Montreal, and then flew back home on Sunday, November 14.
Ms. Brisebois said she first heard about the Granby French Festival from one of her directors at the College. The director was trying out and asked her if she would like to compete, also.
When asked what she would tell someone who wanted to go to the competition, Ms. Brisebois replied, “If you like music, I say go for it. And if you feel confident about yourself, then, I say do it.”
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