French Heritage to be celebrated with Réveil

Date: 6/7/2011

HOLYOKE — The French Heritage Center Committee kick-off event titled "Réveil" will take place on June 12 at 2 p.m. at the Holyoke Country Club, 2 Country Club Road.

Réveil provides an opportunity for people to connect to their French roots, to enrich their lives with French fiddle music, or to learn about French culture.

The event will include a cultural display, a French themed basket raffle, baked goods, and other surprises.

An exquisite French costume will be exhibited, as well as items from Quebec, Acadian heritage, historical books and other archival documents.

French Canadian fiddler Donna Hebert will be featured. Recognized by Gov. Deval Patrick for "outstanding artistic achievement" at the 2009 Commonwealth Awards, she was a 2008 Massassachusetts Artists' Fellow in the Folk Arts.

In the 90's, Hebert formed Franco-American heritage group Chanterelle with well-known Franco singer Josée Vachon. "Donna's fiddle speaks fluent français" Boston Globe columnist Scott Alarik said. She has performed and taught at major U.S., Canadian and European festivals.

The French Heritage Center Committee has been meeting since last September with the mission to honor, display, preserve and promote the legacy of Franco-Americans. It is said that "the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" and this event is the first step in fulfilling that mission and bringing the committee closer to the dream of creating a French Heritage Center that would benefit Western Massachusetts and New England, as well as anyone wishing to learn about French heritage.

A $5 donation is requested at the door. Proceeds will go toward future programs, and/or the French Heritage Center Building Fund.

Those who can be of assistance in helping the committee reach their goal by providing a temporary space for the center, (in the Springfield Street historic corridor) by getting involved, or by making a donation to off-set the cost of the event, may contact Jeanne Hebert at 594-9332 or Marie Proulx Meder at