“We didn’t put all our heart into a recording”, the disappointment of children deprived of singing in stadiums during the anthems

The organizing committee of the Rugby World Cup offers federations a version without canon of the anthems sung by the choirs and to broadcast recorded anthems. A decision which provokes the anger of the children and parents involved in the ‘La Mêlée des Chœurs’ project.

South Africa, Scotland, England, Argentina, France… Gabriel Montagard, 10 years old, knows fifteen hymns like the back of his hand, rehearsed for more than a year in his school in Carnoux-en-Provence in Bouches-du-Rhône ( 13). As part of the ‘La Mêlée des Chœurs’ project which involves more than 7,000 young people, he should have sung this anthem in front of 68,000 people at the Stade Vélodrome for the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup but the organizers decided to canceled these live performances after the poor reception they received.

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“It was in the back of my mind to sing for a World Cup, it’s magical. We didn’t put all our heart into a recording, we put all our heart into singing live,” he said. moves the little boy. The federations will now have the choice between a recorded version of these hymns sung by the children but without the canons and a classic instrumental version. This decision was taken to avoid the cacophony caused by the mixture between these interpretations of the anthems, the voices of the players and that of the public.

“It’s a fiasco from start to finish”

“You can’t even imagine what we’ve been going through from the start,” laments Catherine Dura, Gabriel’s teacher who accompanied her 54 students in this project with its many twists and turns. At the beginning, her choir had to perform for two matches then only for the quarter-finals and “still we were part of the veneer of the operation”, estimates the teacher, because only the choirs which had to perform at the Vélodrome stadium and at the Stade de France were finally authorized to sing live by World Rugby, which already feared the degradation of the pitches by the presence of young people on the field.

“My daughter cried when we told them that they would no longer sing live,” explains the father of Noëlla, a CM2 student who was to perform for the Chile-Argentina match at the Beaujoire stadium in Nantes. “We involved our children in a project which in the end is unlikely to achieve anything (…) It’s a fiasco from start to finish.”

At the discretion of the federations

The organizers of the World Cup still ensure that the children of ‘La Mêlée des Chœurs’ will be able to attend a match as planned but not all will perhaps have the chance to hear their song resound in the stadium if a federation does not choose their version.

“My daughter told me: ‘It’s good we got t-shirts but what we initially expected was to sing on the pitch and now we are worried that the federations won’t even choose our anthems ‘”, says Cécilia Ancèle, the mother of Shanéa, 13, who hopes that the anthems she recorded will resound in the Chaudron in Saint-Etienne during the Australia-Fiji match on September 17.

Shanéa can rest assured, the federations seem for the moment to prefer the revisited versions of the hymns sung by the children to the instrumental versions. In any case, this is the choice that the Uruguayan and French selections made for the Blues match on Thursday in Lille (9 p.m.).

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