Throughout Canada’s Maritime provinces this summer, Acadians will celebrate its 400th anniversary of the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in the New World.

The first French site was settled on a small windswept island between what is now New Brunswick and Maine.

In the years since the settlement on the island of Ste. Croix, the Acadian people have endured mass expulsions (“le grand derangement“) and ongoing assimilation into the larger Anglophone population.

Nevertheless, they have survived and live principally in New Brunswick, where their language and culture are protected.

Evangeline’s story

Recording artist and popular Franco-American cabaret singer/poet Jean-Paul Poulain and other performing artists will present an evening of song and dance with an Acadian flavor.

A passionate and energetic chanteur, Poulain’s love for the French language and culture has been evident throughout his musical career and everyday life.

From the collection of “La Bonne Chanson,” Poulain will sing a melody from Aurele Bourque, which will accompany the narration of the ‘beautiful, yet tragic’ love story of Evangeline and Gabriel. Poulain also will present a French-Acadian folkloric dance with the assistance of performers in traditional costume.

Marie Cormier, a “true-blue” Acadian from New Brunswick who has performed with many theater companies in New England, Quebec and New Brunswick, will present a humorous sketch, spoken in the Acadian accent.

Appreciating folkways

An accomplished actress, in 1995 Cormier traveled as “Emilia” with the New World Globe Theatre Company to St. Petersburg, Russia, to present Shakespeare’s “Othello” at the Baltic States International Theatre Competition.

She is also a member of Nous Autres, a Franco-American repertoire company which performs in French throughout New England.

Aliette Couturier, an “avid” dancer with the D&D Line Dancing group, et Compagnie will also be one of the performing artists for evening as a participant with other French-Canadian folk dancers. As president of the Survivance Francaise, Couturier values her Franco-American heritage and promotes the use of the French language.

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m. Advance tickets for $6 are available at Victor News on Park Street in Lewiston. At the door, tickets will be $7.

The Franco-American Heritage Center at St. Mary’s is located in the former St. Mary’s Church on Cedar Street, Lewiston.

For more information, people may call the center at 783-1585.

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