That evening, Suzanne Boivin Sommerville (a cousin of Madame de Cadillac and descendant of King Louis IX’s brother Robert), Gail Moreau-DesHarnais and Rosemary Kirt arranged for a French Mass at the church of Ste. Anne in what is now known as "Mexicantown." Tradition says that the parish of Ste. Anne was founded on July 26, 1701, the Feast of Ste. Anne, two days after the sieur de Cadillac landed on the shores of Detroit. At the French Mass, David and Stephanie carried the bread and wine for Communion escorted by a crucifer and two Chevaliers de Colombe, with drawn swords. Afterwards, the congregation assembled outside for a performance by Moses Madwagon, who played French folk music under the pavilion as well as for a performance of Baroque dance by the Dance thru History Theatre (event produced by Dr. David Mohan and directed by Michael Burden). Stephanie and others from the FCHSM were interviewed by CBC News and the event was aired on television across French Canada on August 2nd, 2010, (See following link, August 2nd Section 2/5 at 3min:27 sec http://www.radio-canada.ca/regions/ontario/emissions/emission.asp?pk=928&date=07/08/2010 ). All in all, it was a historic day, and we would like to thank our friends in the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan for involving us in these special events. We look forward to a close working relationship with them for years to come! (photos courtesy Stephanie Salvadero, Vice-President, Alliance Francaise Detroit)
On November 6th, Dr. David Benoit-Mohan, and the Alliance
Francaise de Detroit produced a program starring the Dance Thru History
Theatre Company (Harriet Berg, director) for the Austrian Society of
Detroit's "Abend in Wien." The program featured dances of the court of Louis
XVIII including, waltz, mazurka, minuet, gallopade and Congo minuet. It was
set as the court of France visiting the Court of Austria with AF
Detroit/Austrian Society members Ed and Jeanette Loeschel as the Hapsburg
Imperial family. Photos Courtesy of the Hon. Frank Sinz,
Knight of the Cross of Merit of
(photos courtesy Stephanie Salvadero, Vice-President, Alliance Francaise
Photos Courtesy of Mary Lou Rynski
Photos Courtesy of Stephanie Salvadero
On Sunday, December 19, 2010, we re-created holiday traditions from the south of France to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah in Provence.
Our evening began at 7 pm at the Tremonti restaurant, when guests coming in from the cold were welcomed by a blazing fireplace and traditionally decorated rooms à la Provencale.
A delicious dinner with chicken or fish options was served followed by our piece de resistance, “les 13 desserts de Noël”, complete with un bûche de Noël and authentic Calissons d’Aix-en-Provence. During our feast we were serenaded by internationally-renowned troubadour Owain Phyfe as he brought to life ancient holiday music in Italian, Spanish, French, and Occitane. Festivities continued with Christmas and Hanukkah readings in French. A great time was had by all!!!
On February 5th, A.F. Detroit President, Dr. David Benoit-Mohan accompanied by Eliska Mayer Vitanovska (baroness von Vitanov) attended the Austrian Society of Detroit's Strauss Ball. Dr. Benoit-Mohan and the Alliance Francaise recieved special mention in the Program and a red Austrian rose to mark the occasion. Our friends in the Austrian Society did an outstanding job as usual organizing this ball and preserving in this younger generation the beauty of Austrian culture. Thomas Schnöll, the Consul-General of Austria was present, and thanked Dr. Benoit-Mohan for organising the entertainment portion of the November 6th Abend in Wien performance which strengthened the ties between our two cultural organisations of France and Austria. Photos Courtesy of the Hon. Frank Sinz, Knight of the Cross of Merit of Austria
The soft glow of candlelight and a harpsichord’s dulcet tones welcomed guests to the Alliance Française de Detroit's bal masqué de Saint Valentin on February 12 at the Community House in Birmingham.
After hors d'oeuvres and wine, a poetry recitation by Dr. Mohan, and a Baroque solo by Eliska Vitanowska von Vitanow, formerly of the National Opera Theatre of Prague, we danced to the music of Edith Piaf, Mireille Mathieu, Natasha St. Pier, Charles Trenet, Françoise Hardy,Carla Bruni, and Charles Aznavour. (photos courtesy Stephanie Salvadero, Vice-President, Alliance Francaise Detroit)
On March 5th, 2011, the Alliance Francaise of Detroit joined forces with the Poles to commemorate the birthday of the half-French, half-Polish pianist Frédéric Chopin, and to celebrate those common cultural bonds we share. Our host for the evening was the American-Polish Cultural Center, located at 2975 East Maple Road, Troy, MI, and at 6:30 p.m., doors opened for registration and cash bar. A gourmet American-Polish dinner was served followed by a concert of Chopin’s works played by internationally-renowned pianist Leszek Bartkiewicz of Kraków. However, unlike almost any other Chopin concert in modern local history, these pieces were danced by the "Isadorables" of the Dance Thru History Theatre, in the style of the first great modern dancer, Isadora Duncan. Duncan pieces (Mazurka, Etude and Nocturne) were choreographed by Harriet J. Berg, (Chev. Arts et Lettres) and performed by the blythe spirit, Laura Redman, the eternal and graceful Elaine Sledge, and the transcendant muse, Denisa Manolescu. Our guest soloist, Ms. Elizabeth Webb, did an exquisite, heartfelt performance of Caleb Mitchell's choreography to Prelude Op 28, No. 4. In closing, we were joined by the Le Lien Ballet Theatre of Troy, for a spectacular grand finale tribute from France to Poland, danced in the style of Duncan and demonstrating the nobility of the Polish people through the centuries. It was truly the Chopin-and-Isadora concert of the decade, and we played to a full house!
Photos courtesy of Marie Thouvenot, Julien Brasseur, Jacqueline Kolowski, and Dijana Bucalo
An hour intermission was held as guests were led to beautifully set lunch tables harboring a home-made Arabic meal handsomely prepared by Ed Chalom. A three-course meal was served and enjoyed by all, Arabic specialties including tabouli, eggplant, hummus, bazergan cracked wheat, and lentil-carrot soup as appetizers; bulgar wheat with raisins sweetly paired with plain yogurt as the main course; and an assortment of Arabic pastries for dessert.
Musical selections included: En prière, Fairest Isle, Harp solo ~ Variations on a Theme in Ancient Style, Bring Flowers of the Fairest, Bring Flowers of the Rarest, Caresse Sur l'Océan, “Dove sei amato bene,” Flower duet (from Lakmé), Piano Solo ~ Allegro (from Palladio), In Trutina (from Carmina Burana), and O Nuit (Hippolyte et Aricie).
Rachel Lamphere, mezzo-Soprano
Laura Palmieri, harpist
Shari Fiore, pianist
David Benoit-Mohan, guest pianist, Exec. Producer
(Photos courtesy of Stephanie Salvadero, Vice-President, Alliance Francaise de Detroit)
On May 6th, 2011, Dr. David Benoit-Mohan, Président, A. F. Détroit, was invited to the French-American Chamber of Commerce Gala, in which the guests of honor were His Excellency François DeLattre, French Ambassador to the U.S., and The Hon. Graham Paul, Consul-General of France in Chicago. The theme of the gala was “In the Legacy of Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac, Exploring New Frontiers,” and Cadillac and the ESI group were awarded “Company of the Year Status.” The event was held in the Westin Book Cadillac’s Venetian Ballroom. Featured in the photos above are His Excellency François DeLattre, French Ambassador to the U.S., The Hon. Graham Paul, Consul-General of France in Chicago, Dr. David Benoit-Mohan, Président, A. F. Détroit, The Hon. Robert Weyhing, honorary Consul of France in Detroit, Marlene Hudson, FACC, The Hon. Nicholas Stasevich, honorary Consul of Great Britain in Detroit, and Mr. Pierric Bonnard Head of Chicago Trade Office - French Embassy.
Dr. David Benoit-Mohan was presented to the French Ambassador by The Hon. Graham Paul, Consul-General of France in Chicago, and The Hon. Robert Weyhing, honorary Consul of France in Detroit-who told him about the good work the Alliance is doing in this city. Dr. Benoit-Mohan also spoke with the Ambassador and Consul-General about the Alliance Francaise of Detroit’s plans to do fundraisers to benefit Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
(photos courtesy of Stéphanie Salvadero, FACC Volunteer and Vice-Président, A. F. Détroit)
On June 25th, 2011, Alliance Francaise de Detroit launched its year-long campaign to support the work of Doctors Without Borders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We gathered at the Detroit Institute of Arts for lunch and a slide show by Dr. David Benoit-Mohan on the present state of the crisis in the Congo, and then went on a tour of the African Arts Gallery, led by curator Dr. Nii Quarcopoome. We were also fortunate to have Mr. Georges Tshibambe, a leading international businessman from DRC present, to give us his personal insight into the current crisis and the geopolitical situation in that region. It was one of our most incredible events yet, as A.F. Detroit reaches out in friendship to the francophone world. For a further description of our Congo Project, including ways you can be involved in this very worthy cause, please click here. (Photo credits: Carol Marti, Vice-President, AF Detroit, Co-Chair, Congo Project)
On Friday, September 9th, 2011 at 6:30 p.m., the Alliance Française de Détroit produced its Fall fashion show, "Défile de Mode d'automne," at the Tre Monti Restaurant located at 1695 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy, MI. It was a charity fashion show that benefited Médcins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders in their work in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. The stars of the show are the latest Parisian fashions for Fall/Winter 2011 as sold by the Voilà Boutique of Grosse Pointe Farms, founded by two French sisters from Bretagne (Carole Philippe Davis, and Pascale Forster), who feature the clothes worn by Parisian women of style on a day-to-day basis in France. Deconstrutionist, whimsical, edgy and always chic, the many lines of timeless couture appeal to women of every age group, are versatile enough to be worn by either college students or high-power executives, and use environment-friendly textiles. For an added attraction, French-style Cirque acrobats of the Detroit Flyhouse opened the show in a spectacular performance with fire to some of the world’s most iconic music. It was a spectacular success and we helped fund a very worthy cause. Thanks to all who attended. (Photo credits: Margaux Forter and Rafal Nowikowski)
2011 The Year of Maria Sklodowska-Curie and the Year of Franz Liszt
Members of the Alliance Française de Détroit and the American Polish Cultural Center joined to celebrate the life of the remarkable Dr. Marie Curie in an artistic evening of music and dance, held at the American Polish Cultural Center, 2975 East Maple Road Troy, MI on October 23rd, 2011, as we marked the 100th anniversary of her 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Our pianist for the evening was Jacqueline Csurgai-Schmitt, an award-winning symphonic pianist, who has performed extensively throughout Europe and received the Commemorative Award of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The music of Chopin, Mendelssohn and Liszt, with powerful dance performances by the transcendently beautiful Denisa Manolescu and the incandescent Megan Montgomery visualized over-arching themes in the personal life of the great scientist, Maria Skłodowska-Curie. Dances were choreographed by Dame Harriet J. Berg in the styles of Martha Graham and Isadora Duncan. We were further joined by the Filarets Choir of Troy Michigan, who sang some of the world’s most glorious music as the evening closed with a special tribute to this great heroine of Poland and France. The Exec. Producer was Dr. David Benoit-Mohan, president, Alliance Francaise de Detroit. DVDs of the program are available by calling (248) 915-0822. (Photos courtesy of Rafal Nowikowski, Detroit Polish TV).