“The group’s goal is not to teach French so much as to use, practice, hear and communicate in French,” Dr. Robin White, group coordinator and visiting assistant professor of English and French, said. “We wish to create community in French. With that said, beginners are welcome, but they may simply play the role of listeners, since participation involves speaking in French.”
White said the group is the brainchild of Mohamed Belaiche, a Thibodaux elementary school teacher and member of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana.
“He saw the importance of having a community-based French group to help preserve French in the Bayou Region,” White said.
A special early meeting at 206 Peltier Hall on the NSU campus in Thibodaux is scheduled at 5 p.m. Tuesday. It will offer details on a planned 2013 pilgrimage to Loudon, France, an ancestral village of the Acadians. The remaining meetings in February and March will feature presentations on various Francophone countries and regions.
Meetings are normally held each Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Wetlands Acadian Culture Center at 314 St. Mary St. in Thibodaux — with the exception of the second Tuesday of each month when the group meets at NSU.
The group’s coordinators include Belaiche; White; Kelly Blanchard, a retired teacher from Labadieville; and Ray Malbrough, a Houma resident and member of Table Francaise.
For additional information, call White at 985-448-4854
The Nicholls State University Department of Music will present several concerts and recitals throughout February. Each performance is free and open to the public:
Thursday, Feb. 16
A student string ensemble, the Camerata will appear with cellist Martin Merker, a member of Camerata Bern in Switzerland.
He will perform the Filtz Cello Concerto, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for String Orchestra and the Vivaldi Concerto for Two Violins, with students Gilson J. Cornelio Filho, freshman from Recife, Brazil, and Benita Dzhurkova, freshman from Burgas, Bulgaria.
The Nicholls Camerata, a small chamber orchestra featuring students on violin, viola, cello, bass and harpsichord, was formed in 2010 under the direction of violinist James Alexander, faculty head of the string program, who performs with the group.
It will be held at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral located at 500 Goode St. in Houma at 7 p.m.
Also Thursday, Steinway pianist Jack Gibbons will perform. He has established a reputation as one of the world’s best interpreters of the music of George Gershwin. Hailed by the BBC as “the Gershwin pianist of our time,” Gibbons regularly receives standing ovations during his concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Gibbons will perform at Talbot Theater at Nicholls starting at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 17
The Nicholls Camerata with Martin Merker will have a repeat performance at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral located at 721 Canal Blvd. in Thibodaux at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 23
An assistant professor of woodwinds at Nicholls, Dr. Michael Bartnik will perform. He has performed extensively in concert halls throughout much of the United States and Europe. Some of his notable performance venues include Cadogan Hall in London, the Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
His performance will be at Talbot Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 24
The Second Annual Negro Spiritual Concert to celebrate Black History Month will be held.
Featured will be distinguished guest artists, faculty and students from Nicholls, Louisiana State University, the University of New Orleans, Xavier University, Dillard University and Loyola University.
This event is co-sponsored by the Student Programming Association.
The concert will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church located at 718 Jackson St. in Thibodaux at 7:30 p.m.
To learn more about the Nicholls Department of Music, including a full performance calendar, go to www.nicholls.edu/perform.