Whitehorse can soon expect the arrival of a roving band of French-speaking minstrels, prophesized Solstice Festival officials in an official release.
Coming from the southeast, the travellers have already erected a massive terrestrial Francodome where Whitehorse townspeople can be regaled with charming snippets of francophone culture.
Just as quickly as they came, the band will vanish before the coming of the next quarter moon.
The regaling comes as part of a yearlong quadricentennial celebration of the travellers’ home, Quebec City.
“Une programmation riche présentant les diverses facettes des communautés francophones et acadienne,” says the troupe’s website.
Dubbed La Francoforce, the nationwide travelling event is “the biggest cultural production and Canadian francophone showcase in history.”
On the road since late May, La Francoforce is on a summer-long tour visiting 13 cities in every province and territory across Canada.
Not relegated solely to the realm of Quebecois culture, La Francoforce pulls its performers from all corners of the Canadian francosphere.
Only Saskatchewan and the territories won’t be represented by the 11 skilled artists gracing the stage at the Francodome.
“The point is to celebrate francophone culture from all across Canada,” said Annie Savoie, promotions official for the Solstice Festival.
It won’t be all spoons and fiddles.
In fact, there are no spoons at all, said Karine Gagne, one of the La Francoforce dancers.
The show will be a unique mixture of centuries of francophone Canadian culture ranging from the rollicking folk ballads of the first days of New France to the rock and jazz of contemporary Montreal.
“Un beau mélange,” said Francois Emond, the tour director.
Performances will also be included from some of Whitehorse’s local francophone artists.
Three full days of activities are planned for the length of the Solstice weekend.
La Grande Rencontre, the epic Sunday night La Francoforce finale, will be a two-hour “tour de force” consisting of music, dance, poetry and multimedia from every La Francoforce performer.
The unconventional mobile geodesic Francodome is the ideal locale for such a colourful spectacle.
The bizarre acoustics of the structure’s semi-hemispheric shape create a surreal sonar landscape using “sophisticated technological means.”
Abstract images and videos are projected on the soaring white inside of the dome, complementing the music onstage.
Amazingly, the dome can house up to 440 spectators.
If La Francoforce fails to give Yukoners their fill of celebrating the 400th anniversary of Quebec City, on July 3 at 11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, cities across Canada are being asked to ring bells to commemorate explorer Samuel de Champlain’s 1608 founding of the city.
Programs at the dome will run from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Events at the dome are free, except for the Saturday and Friday evening shows, which will cost $10 per show, or $18 for both.