The colourful Gala de la francophonie is coming up soon. For the 16th year in a row, the Francophone community will get together to celebrate some of the people working to develop Francophone culture in the Yukon.

Awards will be handed out for people excelling in nine different fields of Francophone development: education, volunteer involvement, culture and communication, youth involvement, services in French, women, health in French and business.

But the event is mostly an excuse for the yearly creation of a variety show, a tradition that started in 1995 and has been in constant evolution since.

The artistic director, Robert Gagnon, is creating an event that reflects the community. The variety show depicts what happened in the Francophone in the Territory in 2009-2010.

The Gala features local talent in music, theatre, visual art and dance. Every year, the cultural branch of the Association franco-yukonnaise (AFY), the producer of the event, increases the professional aspect of the Gala by highlighting a different kind of creative process.

So what’s new this year? The Gala has a new musical director, Hélène Beaulieu. She’s an experienced classical banjo, guitar and bass player. For her first musical directing experience, Hélène is organizing an original musical concept: the atmosphere must represent as accurately as possible the Yukon Francophone.

Is this possible? When you consider that the local Francophone identity is represented by people coming from everywhere and carrying various cultural backgrounds and tastes, it would be hard to satisfy everybody.

However, Beaulieu has chosen 17 pieces of music for all ages and all tastes, from banjo to pop songs from Quebec and experimental instrumental compositions.

Beaulieu is wonderfully supported by her musician team, forming the house band: Marie-Pierre Brasset on piano and vocals, Christian Lesage on percussion and Nicolas Lemieux on vocals plus electric and acoustic guitars.

The whole new musical atmosphere proposed by the band increases considerably the quality of the presentation. Different bands and singers will also perform at the event: Les–Ceuses-qui-ont-du-fun-quant-y-chantent, Sylvie Painchaud, Soir de Semaine and more.

One more reason to tip our hats: the team of CBC Radio-Canada Vancouver is coming to town for a Yukon special edition of Six pied au dessus de la mer. As a bonus, hosts Pier-Phillipe Bibeau and Sylvie Baril will co-host the Gala for Whitehorse.

A note on Zachary Richard:

Because of health issues, Zachary Richard has cancelled the November 8th event – in fact, the busy artist-activist had to cancel more than 50 shows in North America. But the good news is that he is back on his feet. Thanks for your understanding.

Virginie Hamel is a regular contributor to What’s Up Yukon who keeps tab on events in Yukon’s francophone community.