In Autun, voices sing for peace
For 110 years, the Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois (PCCB) have been living a unique schooling experience, combining music and faith. These boys aged 9 to 18 from all over France carry a message of peace around the world, which they travel from concert to concert, giving 90 performances a year. Since their creation, they have sung in over 120 countries. In fact, they are the only manécanterie, or choral singing school for young boys, to travel in this way. This year, they’ll be touring La Réunion, Belgium, South Korea in December (their audiences are fans!) and French Guiana.
The PCCBs are an original example of what can be achieved by a pedagogy centered on music and the needs of the child, excellence, and spiritual commitment (for some young people). Their results in the brevet and bac exams are highly satisfactory.
The reasons for choosing the school are varied: 1/3 of students cite a spiritual calling, 1/3 have chosen boarding school to escape a complicated family situation, 1/3 are experiencing difficulties in the conventional school system (learning difficulties, bullying, etc.). Social origins are diverse, with some children coming from abroad. Religious practices also vary from child to child: some are not Catholic, while others have little or no religion. A scholarship system is in place to support families unable to pay school fees.
This choir has become an international symbol of French heritage, and conveys strong values of fraternity. Pope John XXIII himself entrusted the Petits chanteurs with a mission: to be ambassadors of peace. A highly symbolic mission for these young people when the tumult of war is so often at the forefront of the news.
Photographer : Eléonore Henry de Frahan
Editor : Adelaïde Robault