A ’fête accompli‘ at the French Embassy

| October 4, 2016 | 0 Comments
Green Party leader Elizabeth May, left, attended the Fête Champêtre, hosted by French Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis. (Photo: Olga Koppel)

Green Party leader Elizabeth May, left, attended the Fête Champêtre, hosted by French Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis. (Photo: Olga Koppel)

This year’s Fête Champêtre, an annual spring fundraiser for the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, took place at the striking Art Deco building that houses the embassy of France, overlooking the Ottawa River and next to the prime minister’s official residence at 24 Sussex Drive.
The ambassador agreed to host the fête for several reasons, not least of which was the fact that the embassy hadn’t done so for a while.
“It had been several years since this charity event took place at the embassy of France,” said Ambassador Nicolas Chapuis. “Considering the quality of the orchestra and its contributions to the cultural life of the capital and the country, we hosted the 2016 Fête Champêtre at the orchestra’s request.”
Chapuis said the event, which often takes place in the diplomatic residence’s garden and always attracts well-hatted symphony supporters, went well.
“The reception was a great success and the guests were delighted,” he said.
Event organizer Snookie Lomow said this was the organization’s 28th annual Fête.
“Not too many events in Ottawa have survived that length of time and are still a strong attraction,” she said. “We had more than 300 guests who helped us raise more than $25,000 and for this, we are truly grateful.”
The money raised will help support the orchestra’s concert series at the National Arts Centre and some of it will go towards educational outreach programs. For example, the orchestra has a program for Grade 5 and 6 students to introduce them to symphonic music twice a year. It showcases classical music to 700 students at a time. It also includes a mentorship program through the University of Ottawa. Lomow said the latter is unique in North America.
“All graduates from the University of Ottawa music program get to audition to perform for the OSO as their first step in performing with a professional orchestra,” she said.
Lomow added that the symphony has had a long-standing relationship with the French embassy, which has now hosted three such occasions in the 13 years she’s been involved with the event.
“We were delighted that they agreed to hold this year’s fête and they were very gracious hosts, given the current level of security required.”
She said guests who attended enjoyed traditional French canapés, including foie gras, as well as Champagne. They also enjoyed the opportunity to see the embassy’s lavish rooms, she said. “They are some of the most beautiful in Ottawa.”

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