Gaston Coulombe knows the piano so dear to his brother, the dolmissois tenor Georges Coulombe. The musical instrument sat in the singer’s Montreal residence for 40 years, until his death in 2020.
I always had the pleasure of playing on the piano, he explains. It was something. Georges listened to me and recorded me too adds the one who keeps good memories of this time.
For this jewel made in the 1930s to vibrate in the municipality that saw them grow, Gaston Coulombe took steps with the City of Dolbeau-Mistassini to welcome the musical instrument.
The estate accepted to their delight. In October, the French Pleyel piano therefore landed in the foyer of the Salle de spectacles Desjardins/Maria-Chapdelaine. Since then, everyone has been playing it, including young music students.
The cultural and community coordinator for the City of Dolbeau-Mistassini, Céline Fortin, recalls the wish that animated the artist, namely to democratize classical music.
By having this piano, here, it makes accessible to everyone the pleasure, the happiness of playing the piano and of developing a taste for it, if only to listen to it and to listen to others playing. she believes.
” That his instrument is here, in good hands, he would certainly be proud. »
A duty of memory
The Maria-Chapdelaine History and Genealogy Society traced the singer’s life. Since 2021, she has been digitizing various documents to constitute the Georges Coulombe Fund.
We have some archival collections here of artists who come from the milieu, but we rarely have original sound material, explains archivist Frédérique Fradet. We are talking here not only of documents that have been broadcast and published, but also of documents with unpublished content such as the soundtracks he recorded during his concerts. she adds.
A career of concerts and operas
Georges Coulombe was born in La Doré in 1935, but grew up in Dolbeau. He is the eldest of a family of 13 children. His father, a pianist, and his mother, a singer, quickly transmitted to him the love of music.
At the age of 20, he discovered lyrical art through contact with conductor Wilfrid Pelletier. After his studies at the Conservatory, he joined the Quebec and Montreal symphony orchestras and sang in French and Italian.
During his career, he recorded a 33 rpm of religious songs, a vinyl record entitled The Renaissance, a Christmas compact disc and a compilation of carols produced between 1974 and 1986 with If my verses had wings. He retired at 53 and died at 84.
In a duty of memory, the Maria-Chapdelaine History and Genealogy Society wishes to distribute these pieces to the public.