La Petite Maîtrise de Montréal
La Petite Maîtrise de Montréal. Children's choir school founded in 1938 by Alfred Bernier, who was its sole director. He undertook to assemble a choir of boys of from 8 to 15, first approaching the Garnier school in the parish of the Immaculée-Conception. After a general audition he selected the first 43 members. Later members were drawn from a dozen Montreal schools. Father Bernier intended in this way to found a maîtrise, or choir school, organized along the lines of the Vienna Boys' Choir, to provide boys from working-class districts with a subsidized general education. In the spring of 1939 the group began to appear in concert. Critics commented on the blend and purity of the voices, the subtleties of the shading, and the clear diction. Over a period of five years the Petite Maîtrise gave concerts and took part in operas and radio broadcasts. However, despite the generosity of the Jesuits, Jean C.Lallemand, and a few other benefactors, the plan for a school was realized only partially. Without government subsidy, the ensemble was forced to cease its activities in 1944.