Quebec Issime takes holiday show back to Place des Arts

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By Jessie Aulis
Country Connection

Quebec Issime is an incredible success story made in Quebec. The company produced four musical reviews which have been touring Quebec for the last few years and their name is synonymous of amazing entertainment.

The fabulous show “Cow-Boys,” featured at Place Nikitotek for the last two summers with rave reviews is one of their productions. Quebec Issime has an ongoing 10-year contract with the City of Sherbrooke to present their shows.

The story started back in Saguenay in 1995 with a group of students aged between 14 and 20 who wanted to create their own summer job. Little did they didn’t know their endeavour would grow to be such a success in such a short period of time.

Two families are the driving force behind this story: the Doré and the Riverin families, whose garage was soon transformed into a rehearsal hall. Their first show ran in a Chicoutimi hotel twice a week and was acclaimed by critics and people.

Quebec Issime was born. What should have been a dream summer job turned out to become a production company which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2014. The artists grew into professionals while Quebec Issime was expanding. They are now a renowned production company.

There are “De Céline Dion à la Bolduc,” “Party!,” “Cow-Boys,” and “Decembre,” which is their Christmas show and each one of them captures the essence of their respective theme. Every presentation is about a perfect delivery of the song, the costumes and the props, so it will touch you and make it memorable.

They have toured Quebec with their shows, they have gone to Switzerland, to Belgium, and they recently spent most of the summer in Sherbrooke for the second year in a row and they loved it.

A chat with Myriam Bouchard, production director of Quebec Issime, and Pierre Doré, the artistic director and co-creator, brought answers to questions about “Cow-Boys” as well as the magical “Decembre,” which will start running at Place des Arts in Montreal between December 10 and December 30, 2015.

“We are extremely satisfied of this last season in Sherbrooke. We have received positive feedback from spectators and the number of tickets sold confirmed close to 15,000 people attending the ‘Cow-Boys’ shows over the summer,” explained Bouchard.

“A study conducted by Extract Marketing, a marketing firm, demonstrated that the presence of such a show in downtown Sherbrooke has had an economic impact of $1.5 million for the city, which represents an increase of 63 per cent since last summer.”

Tickets are already on sale for the showings from July 7 through August 27, 2016. The results are overly positive, which explains their decision to bring the show back next year.

“Since the shows are in constant evolution, it’s most certain that the spectators will see a modified and improved version next year,” ads Bouchard.

After a beautiful summer in Sherbrooke, Karine (Patsy Cline), Marie-Eve (Tammy Wynette), and Caroline Riverin (Dolly Parton), the three sisters who stared in “Cow-Boys” are now gearing to perform in the Christmas show. While two of them will be on stage, Marie-Eve will stand back stage this time around.

Pierre Doré, who has been working closely with Riverin for many years now, explained: “Marie-Eve Riverin is a co-creator for all the Quebec Issime shows. Because of the extent of the ‘Decembre’ show and the fact that it’s always presented at the same time as the ‘Party’ show, she chose to skip being on the scene for that period, so she could manage both teams with me and Julie Villeneuve. It’s also a way for her to experience the other side of the job. Plus, she loves managing the team as much as she likes being on stage.”

Quebec Issime is currently preparing for their Christmas show “Decembre” at Place des Arts in Montreal. It will be their 13th season of presenting this all-time winter favourite for adults and kids.

Such a grandiose production definitely requires a huge team of professionals. “Decembre” is truly special and nothing is spared to create magic and warmth for those who love the Merry Season with all its fuzziness and emotions.

“Including the production, the technical and artistic crews, ‘Decembre’ requires more than 55 people, out of which 25 are artists (musicians, singers and dancers) present on the stage,” confirmed Bouchard.

The initial concept for “Decembre” sparked from artistic director and creator Pierre Doré, who has been truly prolific through the years. He is a man with a creative vision and a unique perspective when it comes to determine what he wants on stage.

“The characters populating the miniature village under the Christmas tree come to life for an evening and bring us from the start of the winter season up to the New Year, going through the preparations leading up to Christmas and the Christmas holiday,” said Doré about what will happen on stage.

“The Christmas show is composed of 12 scenes marking the days before Christmas until the New Year. The spectators will live, in a single magic night, the preparation leading up to Christmas, Christmas night, as well as a visit in Santa’s elves’ workshop and midnight Mass before sliding in an enchanted world inspired from J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe before coming back to the Wild Hunt (chasse-galerie) just in time for the New Year’s Eve party,” Doré stressed about the presentation.

For some people, “Decembre” has become a tradition and they go back to see it every year as part of their celebration for the holidays. If sometimes adjustments are required to a show, sometimes you have to be careful.

As Pierre Doré explained: “Some changes have been made throughout the years but not too many. When you create a show that becomes some sort of tradition for the public, you cannot change much. People expect to see and share the same moments they’ve lived before.”

The repertoire is composed of more than 60 timeless songs where Quebec’s traditional repertoire is played alongside American and European holiday and winter classics. “Some classic are reinterpreted in ways sober and moving, and others bursting with surprises,” he said of the music.
“And the decor and costumes suggest a Quebec adaptation of classic images attributed to English tales with a modern twist.”

Some people are truly fascinated with Christmas and the traditions and find all of this period to be magical. The Quebec Issime team has created a show that will transport you in another world, an imaginary one, close enough to the memories you carry in your own heart.

Pierre Doré has a perfect explanation for people’s infatuation with Christmas shows, music and fantasy.

“People have celebrated the winter solstice for as long as we can remember. We all have that need to get together to beat the cold and the lack of sunshine at this time of the year.

These get-togethers have given birth to stories, legends, and songs that have had an impact on our imagination since our childhood. Now, as adults, we share this imagination with the younger crowd and when we get back in touch with our inner child, be it for only two hours, we can feel the real magic of Christmas,” he said.

This is surely the nicest gift you can offer yourself or someone you love!

You can reserve your tickets right now at www.placedesarts.com and you can also enter our contest to win a pair of tickets worth $200 to see the show (not transferable or exchangeable for money).

You can enter the contest “Decembre” Quebec Issime — The Christmas Show by sending us your name, address, and phone number to:
Christmas show Quebec Issime
The Record
P.O. Box 21034, Sherbrooke, Quebec J1H 6J7
Tell us why you like Christmas
Drawing on November 27, 2015.

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