LEWISTON — The Franco-American Collection at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College recently hosted a French-language sing-along with Quebecois folk singer Benoit Borque. The event was organized by Cindy Larock and was hosted by the university.

The audience participated in an hour-and-a-half long session in which Borque, often simultaneously playing the accordion and step-dancing while being accompanied by Paul Ferrel of Auburn on guitar, led the group in many old favorites.

Borque is a member of the Montreal-based group, La Botinne, and is an accomplished dancer, accordionist and singer. He spent three days in Lewiston and Auburn between July 29 and 31, and also led a dance workshop at the Lewiston Public Library and a concert at the Franco-American Heritage Center.

The Franco-American Collection was opened to the public before and after the event, and many members of the audience took the opportunity to browse the collection of rare and out-of-print books and examine the many artifacts of Franco-American culture.

Many also shared their memories of songs from their childhood, some of which may be unwritten and are therefore in danger of being lost to history. The collection invites anyone who possesses French sheet music to consider donating it and, to ensure that those traditional songs which are unwritten are not lost, the collection is planning to organize recording sessions later in the year.

Those with memories of childhood songs who would be interested to help preserve them for the future, may contact the Franco-American Collection at 753-6545 or e-mail [email protected]

The Franco-American Collection has a new coordinator, James Myall, and is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The University of Southern Maine’s Franco-American collection is one of the largest repositories of Franco-American archival material in Maine. It is located USM’s Lewiston-Auburn campus, 51 Westminster St. More information is available online at www.usm.maine.edu/lac/franco/ or by calling 753-6545.

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