Young Rapture Choir in France
By Laura Veirs
About a year and a half ago during a tour through France, a man named Patrice introduced himself after a show. He told me he was teaching some of my songs to his middle school music class. "Wow, I'd love to hear a recording," I told him. A few months later, back in Seattle, I received a package with their renditions of "Rapture" and "The Cloud Room". Forty-five pure, young, French-accented voices piped through my speakers, and I sat there dumbstruck. Accompanied by cello on the first song and a rock band on the second, this mysterious children's choir gave me the surprising gift of hearing my songs in a whole new light. I wrote them a letter thanking them for the honor, and they replied with a plan to do a full concert of my songs the following Spring.
Fast forward to the evening of April 8, 2006, in a school theater in Cognac, France ... Producer/drummer Tucker Martine and I sat at the back of a packed room. Two hundred and fifty parents and students sat on the floor and in the bleachers in front of a small, informal stage. Thirty girls and five boys (ages 11-16) arranged themselves on the stage. To their left, a back-up band of boy teen rockers strapped on their guitars. With his '80s blond hair flowing, Patrice faced the choir in white pants with his electric guitar slung low.
The choir began to sing, and Tucker and I looked at each other, shocked. The mixture of the kids' powerful, pure voices and the band's grungy guitars and drums was incredible. Patrice had a casual approach: he was funny, quirky, and very much in love with life and with his students. Everyone had obviously worked hard to pull the whole show together. They sounded terrific.
Most of the older girls stood tall and sang with confidence. The younger kids were more distracted and fidgety, and a few boys barely moved their mouths, their arms hanging limp at their sides. I almost burst into tears during a duet of "Magnetized" * by two adorable 11-year old girls who also played double recorder solos. I sang "Rapture" with the choir and enjoyed looking over at the kids as we sang together. A couple of other highlights were when the group morphed the end of "Shadow Blues" into "John Henry Lives", and when Patrice explained, "We're trying to make 'Rialto' sound like the Pixies." A million thanks to Patrice and his students for their hard work and wonderful interpretations of my songs. Rare experiences like this make my life as an artist unexpectedly rewarding.
Laura's most recent album is "Year of Meteors"
* Thanks to Tucker Martine for the song recordings
- Journal Topics:
- Artist Essays