The annual Journées de la Culture (September 28-30) are three days of free activities that promote arts and culture across Quebec. As part of this year’s celebrations, McGill will host a Grande Dictée at Moyse Hall and the Schulich School of Music will present a series of concerts and recitals.
The Grand Dictée event begins at 1:00 on Saturday, September 29, in Moyse Hall. The theme is the culture of Île de la Réunion, part of what is called “Overseas France,” the areas and territories that are politically and culturally part of France, but are geographically located outside of Europe.
During the event, Mafane, a storyteller from Île de la Réunion, will read a story that participants will have to transcribe. The participants will then be marked on their proficiency in written French. Everyone who plays will receive a corrected copy of their work and a participation prize — and then be invited to sample Île de la Réunion cuisine. After the refreshments, Mafane will give a storytelling performance from 3:00-4:00.
The event is a presentation of FrancoKaraïbes, a non-profit organization devoted to raising the profile in Quebec of the 13 islands that make up Overseas France.
“McGill University is pleased and proud to welcome La Grande Dictée, and to collaborate with FrancoKaraïbes, in a celebration of the cultural diversity and vitality of the French language,” says Louis Arsenault, Vice Principal (Communications and External Relations). “McGill is proud of its deep Montreal roots, which stretch back almost 200 years. French is spoken on a daily basis on our campuses, and we welcome francophone students and staff from Quebec and around the world.”
“The Grande Dictée at McGill is a chance for Quebeckers to get to know Overseas French communities, celebrate our common heritage, and strengthen our francophone culture,” says Ania Ursulet, the founder and president of FrancoKaraïbes. Ursulet is originally from Martinique, part of Overseas France. “We are hoping to make links between Quebeckers who are francophiles, francophones and non-francophones.”
The event is a special version of La Grande Dictée, a Canada-wide competition held in schools and other institutions every spring, with an estimated 200,000 participants. It was initiated by l’Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) around the world, and by Paul Gérin-Lajoie in Quebec.
The Grande Dictée isn’t the only Journées de la Culture showcase at McGill. The Schulich School of Music is hosting a series of events for classical music lovers: a performance by the McGill Wind Orchestra featuring tubist Austin Howle (September 28), talks and presentations on September 27 and 28, leading up to the final concert and prize gala of the first ever Graham Sommer Competition for Young Composers (September 29), and recitals from student soloists of the McGill Conservatory of Music (September 30).