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Saturday, December 06 2003

Symphony for a Thousand Voices

  • Genevieve Bergeron
  • Helene Colgan
  • Nathalie Croteau
  • Barbara Daigneault
  • Anne-Marie Edward
  • Maud Haviernick
  • Barbara Maria Klucznick Widajewicz
  • Maryse Laganiere
  • Maryse Leclair
  • Anne-Marie Lemay
  • Sonia Pelletier
  • Michele Richard
  • Annie St-Arneault
  • Annie Turcotte

I did not know Genevieve Bergeron well.

We went to secondary school together but were separated by three grades. When I was in grade seven we were both part of the Senior Treble Choir and seated next to one another by the choir master.

She was very nice to me but any conversation we might have enjoyed was hampered by the brain-freeze that grips all pubescent boys speaking to a woman so unfortunate to be more than two years his senior and still younger than his mother.

That spring the choir was one of many from across the country invited to perform Mahler's Eighth, the Symphony for A Thousand Voices , with the Montréal Symphony Orchestra at the Forum.

The part that Genevieve and I sang contained a thiry-two bar rest which is something like a thousand teenage years. We never talked about it but she counted every one of them. I know for a fact that I didn't. And she was always good enough to let me rely on her to know when to start singing again.

That night may have been the last time I saw her. I don't remember. The next fall was her last year of high school and by then my new found teenage angst, not to mention my vocal range, precluded me from being part of the choir. We may have passed one another in the hallway but such are the cruelties of adolescence.

Fourteen years ago, today, Marc Lepine shot his way into an engineering class at the Université de Montréal. He ordered all of the men out of the room. Then he opened fire on the remaining women, killing Genevieve and thirteen others before shooting himself.

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Friday, December 05 2003 ←  → Sunday, December 07 2003