Parisian children's choir performs at cathedral

BOSTON -- The improved acoustics of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross were on display as the cathedral hosted its first concert since renovations were completed this spring with a performance by The Children's Choir of Greater Paris (le Choeur d'Enfants d'Ile-de-France) July 25.

The choir, whose members range in age from 10 to 14 years old, performed under the direction of professors Francis Bardot and Raphaelle Boutillier. The cathedral was their final stop in a three-week-long New England tour.

About 200 people attended the concert, including Cardinal Seán O'Malley and Amandine Lebas, deputy consul for the Consulate General of France in Boston.

Richard Clark, director of music for the cathedral, has collaborated with Bardot in past tours of New England and in Paris. Bardot is the founder of le Choeur d'Enfants d'Ile-de-France and three other choirs for amateur and professional singers.

"As this was the first concert held in the newly renovated cathedral it was a truly joyful event. The audience enjoyed in the vastly improved acoustics, which are exceptionally suitable for sacred music. These glorious young voices rang out with great energy and joy in this sacred space," Clark said.

The concert opened with the American and French national anthems, which Clark said were a sign of Bardot's "warm relationship with America." Also featured were compositions by Bach, Delibes, Faure, Franck, Mendelssohn, Offenbach, Pergolesi, Poulenc, Rameau, and Saint-Saens. Pianist Laurent Jochum provided accompaniment.

While admission was free, donations were accepted to benefit another of Bardot's choirs, the Jeune Choeur d'Ile-de-France, and the Cathedral Organ Restoration Fund.

The next concert at Holy Cross Cathedral will take place on Sept. 15 and will feature music director emeritus Leo Abbott for the rededication of the cathedral's 1875 E. and G.G. Hook and Hastings Opus 801 organ. More than 2,000 of the organ's pipes were removed and cleaned off-site during the two-year-long renovation of the cathedral. This will be the first organ concert since the instrument's restoration.