For the 375th anniversary of Montreal, La SAMS is the instigator in 2016 of a large musical project that aims to bring to the forefront the memories of seniors institutionalized in Montreal's CHSLD. From this master idea was born Cueilleurs de mémoiresA project that will see the creation of a new musical work to be performed in the care setting.
For the realization of the project, La SAMS was able to count on first-rate artistic collaborators: the Acadian soprano Suzie LeBlancSteve NormandinHe is an accordionist and a "living encyclopaedia" of French-language songs, Kiya Tabassianthe master of musical composition and the instigator of numerous historical explorations of mixed and Hélène Dorion who so skilfully put these memories into song form.

Read the article by Jean Siag - La Presse - May 3, 2016


Thanks to the Foundation of Greater Montreal and Community Foundations of Canada for their contribution to this project



Funded by the Foundation of Greater Montreal, Cueilleurs de mémoires first allowed the artistic collaborators to contact 100 residents of five Montreal CHSLDs to collect their memories. These varied memories tell the story of a Montreal in the early days of the Quiet Revolution, as well as a city that opened up to the world at Expo 67. Religion is sometimes omnipresent, families are large (17 children!), life is regulated to the quarter turn, but also embellished by vigils on the stoop and, depending on the means, by trips to the United States.

MAY 2017- MARCH 2019

Following the creation of the commissioned work in April 2017 on the occasion of the annual fundraising event of La SAMS, our artists are undertaking a tour of 30 concert-meetings in health care settings. These 60-minute activities are intended to be both an opportunity to take ownership of the creative process and to discover the new work. After a reminder of the Cueilleurs de mémoires meetings, the artists present the work, explain its codes and active listening keys. The elders recognize their own influence in the commissioned work and following its interpretation, an adapted musical creation activity is proposed.

As a response to the tragic events of the spring of 2020, when the pandemic is wreaking havoc in our health care system, Kiya Tabassian is reviving the work and giving it a second wind. The same person who describes this project as "one of the most beautiful musical and human adventures I've had the chance to experience" has reworked the music to reflect the diversity of our society. Hélène Dorion, co-creator of this second version, composes a magnificent suite of poems, some of whose movements are inspired by the stories and testimonies collected. Long live the Time of the forests which will be premiered in October 2020 at the Salle Bougie.