Spring concert a resurgence for Theriault band

·3 min read

May 4 will feature the first major concert in two years for Touz en Flammes. Called La Résurgence, the pop performance represents recovery and renewal for the after-school music program at École secondaire catholique Theriault.

A 15-year tradition, Touz en Flammes features students from Grade 9 to 12 who perform at events, concerts and festivals both within the school and through the region. But for the past two years, the impact of COVID shuttered much of that activity.

"I would continuously be like 'is there any chance we can do something?'" said Marlie Moreau, a Grade 12 student, singer and jack-of-all-trades musician with the group.

Moreau joined the program in Grade 9, and the two-year pause was a blow for her and other senior students. May 4 represents a return to form and a farewell, with graduation on the horizon. The concert gives a chance both rewarding and bittersweet to celebrate the musical talent and culture they joined Touz en Flammes for.

"I'm going to cry about it. I'm sure I will, it's my last moment and I'm very excited, but I'm also bummed that it's my last time," said Moreau.

The program hasn't just provided a musical outlet and showcase, it has been a venue for emotional support and growth.

"I'm not anxious anymore, it helped me out of my comfort zone, I used to be so shy. I wouldn't even be talking to you right now in ninth grade," said Kaidence Dusseault, a Grade 12 student and singer in the group.

The journey toward the concert has not been without its own challenges.

Students have been practising for it since the beginning of the school year, working through the pressure of expectation while compensating for other students having left the group in the interim. Singers have transformed into base players and drummers through a year of training. They even faced the temporary loss of one of Touz en Flammes' founding teachers and supervisors to job changes and surgery.

"There is usually a four-year cycle of gradually rebuilding as students come and go, like a wave," said Joelle-Renee Ethier, one of the founders and supervisors of Touz en Flammes.

"This year it was like a tsunami," she said, describing the pressures the students faced.

Ethier says that she couldn't be more proud of how her students rose to meet those challenges.

"These are really amazing kids," she said. She credits their desire to finally live their passion for music with motivating them to come together as a family to make the concert a reality.

"They want to be out there, they want to show people 'this is what I've been doing, this is who I am,'" said Ethier.

Students and teachers are hopeful that the concert will leave their audience entertained, inspired, and lay the groundwork for the program's continuation next year.

"Since I was a kid I always wanted to inspire people and I moved to Timmins to be part of this group. And when I made it in Grade 9 I was overwhelmed and so excited," said Moreau.

For Ethier, it's important to give the students a place to feel welcomed and appreciated.

"Some of them maybe don't fit in with sports and maybe they don't shine in all these big group activities elsewhere, but they are incredible musicians, so it's very important for me to bring life to that for them. To give them an area where they can shine. It's hard because they're Francophone, we're doing French music, there's not a lot of outlet for them elsewhere. So I think it's really important that they feel like they belong here," said Ethier.

Touz en Flammes, La Résurgence is May 4 at 7 p.m. at the Theriault Auditorium. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at the school's main office

Mark Kay, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com

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