La Bonne Chanson

Among the many French-Canadian-American materials in the Archives and Special Collections are ten volumes of songbooks published by Charles-Émile Gadbois as a series entitled La Bonne Chanson. Charles-Émile Gadbois BonneChanson1was born in St-Barnabé-Sud, near St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada in 1906. According to the entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia/The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (online at he studied piano with Télesphore Urbain, the organist at St-Hyacinthe Cathedral, violin with Maurice Onderet, and harp with Juliette Drouin. “After his ordination as a priest in 1930 Father Gadbois began teaching, and for five years was director of the band at the St-Hyacinthe Seminary. In 1937, influenced by the Congrès de la langue francaise held in Quebec City, Gadbois established La Bonne Chanson to assemble and publish the best French and French-Canadian songs. A tireless promoter of ‘la bonne chanson,’ he organized festivals, contests, and congresses, including those at the Montreal Forum (1942) and the Quebec Coliseum (1943) and in Lewiston, Me (1944). He composed some 60 songs and wrote about 20 folksong arrangements.”BonneChanson3BonneChanson2BonneChanson4

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