The “celestial songs” of the sound heritage of the Centre-Sud

The “celestial songs” from the sound heritage of the Centre-Sud” /></p>
<p> André Pappathomas, composer and choirmaster of the Sacré-Cœur-de-Jésus church </p>
<p>Rather than getting rid of the church bells, the composer and choirmaster of the Sacré-Cœur -of-Jesus values ​​them as musical instruments. </p>
<p>In office for 23 years, André Pappathomas could not bring himself to accept the loss of the parish bells when in the winter of 2020, the archbishop of the diocese of Montreal gave his agreement for the demolition of the steeple of the church of the Sacred Heart. -de-Jésus, in the Centre-Sud district, following a water infiltration. </p>
<p>He then gave himself a mission: to preserve the bells and develop a repertoire specific to these musical instruments. The solution? Install the bells in the nave of the church – a world first, according to campanologist Michel Rowan – to organize concerts and creative residencies there. </p>
<p>André Pappathomas had to go out of his way to convince the archdiocese to install the five bells inside the building itself. of the church. </p>
<p>“It was quite surprising for [the archdiocese] to be offered that the bells enter the church, tells the composer to <em>Métro</em>. The floor has to support them and it's not easy to bring in.” </p>
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The largest bell, the drone, weighs 5700 pounds. The latter, too heavy for the hydraulic crane used initially, spent the 2020 holiday season on the forecourt, until the proper equipment was available in January 2021. Photo: Jason Paré, Metro

A celestial chant

Five bells for a single steeple is “pretty common,” argues André Pappathomas, who points out that many churches have three or some other usually odd number, which helps create an atonal sound.   

“It is like a proposal of a celestial song which, in the ear of the listener of the peal of bells, does not refer to anything known. There is something unknown; there is a mystery rising in the sky.” 

Thus, André Pappathomas' desire is not only to preserve the religious heritage of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but also the sound heritage emanating from these bells.

We very poorly protect our past and our historical heritage in any form.

André Pappathomas, composer and choirmaster of the Sacred Church -Heart-of-Jesus

Beyond the preservation of these bells, André Pappathomas wishes to make them concert instruments, since they can make a range of sounds that we do not hear during their usual use. 

< p>A series of three concerts in November is therefore the second part of this project. Concerts that are not limited to the bells themselves, since instruments are added to them, not to mention the use of the church organ.

Pass hand

Once these concerts ended, André Pappathomas wishes to hand over, although he will not be far away. From winter 2023, residencies at the church will be offered to composers for the conception of works for five large bells.  

“I must leave room for young or less young composers so that they can work on the bells and compose from them”, he says.  

It is still possible to submit a project by writing to 

The concerts will be presented on November 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. November 20 at 3 p.m. at the Sacré-Coeur-de-Jésus church, located at the intersection of Ontario East and Plessis streets.

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