Fernand Lindsay (1928-2009)
The Camp Musical was founded by Fernand Lindsay.
Father Lindsay wanted to offer young musicians who were not old enough to attend the Orford Arts Centre Academy (for students aged 16 and older) a place close to home where they could study music intensively in the summer months.
He had been involved in promoting the performance of classical music with Jeunesses Musicales, and had created the Festival-Concours, which encourages young people to make music. Father Lindsay was determined to continue what he had started, and he had a plan: it was time to start teaching!
He joined the Clerics of St. Viateur and devoted his life to teaching young people. He carried out his mission both in the classroom and outside of the college. For Father Lindsay, teaching music was much more than a job: it was a calling. He lived and breathed music; it was his life.
Foundation of the Camp Musical (1967)
In 1967, Father Lindsay shared his idea with two of his long-time friends, Fernand Houle and Julien Raymond. They were thrilled with the project, and approached Sister Lucille, who ran a camp for girls at Lac-des-Baies in Saint-Côme. Sister Lucille agreed to let Father Lindsay set up a camp on the other side of the lake, on the shore opposite the girls’ camp.
In no time at all, the camp was ready to welcome 19 young musicians for a 15-day experience at what was to become the Camp musical de Lanaudière.
That was the summer of 1967.
The Camp musical moves to Lac Priscault
After its second summer at Lac-des-Baies, this time with 35 participants, the Camp moved to Lac Priscault in Sainte-Beatrix, which was more spacious and offered better facilities. The site had been vacated by the Clerics of St. Viateur, who were no longer authorized by the university to give teacher training and certificates at off-campus locations. The congregation kindly agreed to let the Camp musical settle at the site.
The Camp has been expanding ever since. Over the years, new facilities have been built and older buildings have been moved to accommodate the growth. The site left behind by the Clerics of St. Viateur lacked sufficient housing for all the campers and teachers. For years, the Camp built and transported, at a rate of three or four per summer, about fifty buildings which includes small rehearsal studios scattered in the woodland, chalets to accommodate the teachers, and dormitories for the young campers. There have been many years of music, accompanied by many years of manual labour and support from volunteers.
In 1970, the Camp welcomed two groups of 60 students. The teaching staff was composed of Claudette Richard, Laure Fink and Françoise Bertrand, piano; Rolland Brunelle, violin; Hermel Bruneau, harpsichord; and Roland Langlois, guitar.
In the summer of 1974, the Camp added a third session, attracting 225 young campers in all. Teachers included renowned musicians Franz-Paul Decker, Luis Grinhauz (1st violin, OSM) and Suzan Spier (2nd violin, OSM).
Starting in 1977, the Camp added a fourth session for small ensembles and chamber music. Registration reached 350 campers that summer, and in an address to the Kiwanis Club, Father Lindsay stated: “The Lanaudière region produces more musicians than any other region in the country.” The years that followed certainly proved him right.
Nine years later, in 1986, Father Lindsay spoke passionately about the Camp Musical, which, according to him, was enchanted by the muses: “We have 400 participants, 20 teachers from the best music schools at each session and 12 camp counsellors who organize leisure activities and strive to create the ideal environment for the campers.”
In 1993, a large cafeteria was built and, in 2001, two new buildings were constructed: a new residence for the teachers (Villa Cypihot) and a chalet for Father Lindsay (Chalet Imasco), which replaced his old trailer.
In the fall of 2002, major renovation projects included the refurbishment of one of the campers’ cabins (the Villa d’eau), the recladding of the chapel and the rebuilding of the kiosk located on the lakefront. A 4 km walking trail was also built to allow us to explore the Camp Musical site.
Every summer for many years, the Camp Musical Père Lindsay has been offering four, two-week-long sessions to more than 500 musicians. These enthusiastic musicians are given the opportunity to further their musical education through a unique approach in a dream setting with skilled teachers, and to experience playing in an ensemble, which, for many, would not otherwise be possible.
Former campers now professional musicians
Although most students who attend the Camp don’t necessarily plan on becoming professional musicians, many of our former campers have done just that:
- Angèle Dubeau,
- Gregory Charles
- France Beaudry
- Élaine and Chantal Marcil
- Marie-Andrée Benny
- Jean-Jules Poirier
- Luc Beauséjour
- Pascale, Nathalie and Claudine Giguère
- Mélanie Forget
- Mathieu Harel
- Louis-Philippe Marsolais
- Frédéric Lambert
- Marie-Annick Béliveau
- Annie Parent
- Charles Richard Hamelin…
…Many others are members of major orchestras including Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, Orchestre symphonique de Québec, regional orchestras, and are part of the faculty of major teaching institutions.