Le Vent Du Nord in DeKalb, IL

By Emily Anderson, Photos by Eric Young Smith

Le Vent Du Nord is back on tour with Arts Midwest World Fest! The first stop was DeKalb, Illinois, where the band led local language and music students in workshops on Québecois folk music. Throughout their time with Arts Midwest World Fest, the band has conducted some incredible workshops, and this residency was no exception.

During their residency with the DeKalb High School string band, they had such a nice time together that Le Vent Du Nord invited the string band to join them for a number at the public concert.


Between workshops at DeKalb High School, Le Vent Du Nord visited with a senior French Language class to discuss Québec and its historical, political, and linguistic relationships with English-speaking Canada and France. Photo by Eric Young Smith.


Olivier Demers enjoys taking time to teach the nuances of percussive foot-tapping known as Podorythmie. Photo by Eric Young Smith.


A workshop for DeKalb High School music students provided opportunity for Réjean Brunet and Nicolas Boulerice to harmonize.


Réjean Brunet explains the different varieties of accordions and how they function musically, offering a cheerful demonstration on his own diatonic, or button, accordion. Photo by Eric Young Smith.


Simon Beaudry shares some Québecois history during his explanation of how the Irish bouzouki came to be part of the Québecois music tradition. Photo by Eric Young Smith.


Rejean Brunet and Nicolas Boulerice tell stories of Québecois folk music and how it was played in the kitchens of homes in celebration of the gathering of families and friends. Photo by Eric Young Smith.


In Québecois folk tradition, fiddling and podorythmie were often practiced atop the kitchen table. Photo by Eric Young Smith.


DeKalb High School’s String Band performs for Le Vent Du Nord, offering their rendition of a modern American folk favorite “Wagon Wheel”. Photo by Eric Young Smith.


Olivier Demers coaches fiddle students in subtle techniques of “bowing,” as the fiddling technique is known in the Québecois folk tradition. Photo by Eric Young Smith.


Le Vent Du Nord and DeKalb High School teacher Chris Wild and students discuss the possibility of including the DeKalb High School string band in their public concert at the end of the week. Photo by Eric Young Smith.


Photo by Richard Holly.

They rehearsed again on Tuesday and Saturday before the public concert, and then performed together for the whole community. What a unique collaboration between promising high school musicians and a leading professional ensemble—and what a special moment for Arts Midwest World Fest!

Workshop at DeKalb High School. Photo by Eric Young Smith.

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