In a room bustling with music, family, friends and community members, Loïs Blanchette, 97, of Chartwell Seigneuries du Carrefour in Sherbrooke, Quebec, experienced her Wish of a Lifetime with flair. A former musician, singer, choir director and multilingual poet, Loïs has devoted her life to music and other creative pursuits. Since moving into her retirement home seven years ago, she takes great pleasure in sharing her passion for music and the arts with others. In fact, nothing pleases her more than being able to entertain fellow residents with popular folk songs on her violin, or singing a few bilingual tunes from The Singing Girls choir, which she directed for a number of years. Loïs’ wish was to celebrate the life that she dedicated to the arts through a celebratory musical performance and exhibit.
Growing up, Loïs studied violin performance, singing and languages at conservatories and universities across Canada, and sang as a coloratura soprano soloist with professional choirs and operas. Her athletic voice could reach above a High C, and she considered music the love of her life. It was therefore devastating when she lost her singing voice in an unfortunate accident in the 1970s—but, the event would also go on to present her with an opportunity to discover other talents to share with her peers.
When her singing career ended, Loïs began directing and arranging music for choirs. “When my voice was taken away,” she begins, “God gave me the choir.” Loïs has directed a total of eight choirs in her lifetime, including a bilingual choir whose mission was to promote solidarity among all Canadians, no matter which language they spoke. Originally from Ottawa, she went on to marry a lawyer from Quebec. Loïs continues to celebrate her Canadian roots, as well as her love for bilingualism.
Thanks to our partnership with Wish of a Lifetime Canada, Loïs’ dream of celebrating her musical life with a big concert became a reality. On June 24, during Quebec’s Saint-Jean Baptiste celebrations, Loïs gave a memorable concert at the Uplands Cultural and Heritage Centre in Lennoxville. She was thrilled to celebrate her passion and commitment at an Open House exhibition tracing her musical journey—culminating in a performance commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Singing Girls concert, which was originally performed during Expo 67. The celebrations coincided with another important date in Canadian history – Montreal’s 325th anniversary.