In Paris, a 'Highly Symbolic' Concert in Hard Hats

Choir sings at Notre Dame Cathedral amid massive renovation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 25, 2020 10:30 AM CST
Notre Dame's Choir Sings, but They Need Hard Hats
In this photo provided by Maitrise Notre-Dame de Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral choir, wearing hard hats and protective suits, record a Christmas concert inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.   (MSNDP/Musique Sacree ? Notre-Dame de Paris via AP)

Wearing hard hats and protective suits, members of the choir of Notre Dame Cathedral sang inside the medieval Paris landmark for the first time since last year’s devastating fire for a special Christmas Eve concert, per the AP. Accompanied by an acclaimed cellist and a rented organ, the singers performed beneath the cathedral’s stained-glass windows amid the darkened church, which is transitioning from being a precarious hazardous clean-up operation to becoming a massive reconstruction site. The choir initially planned to bring in 20 singers but for safety reasons they were limited to eight. The choir members stood socially distanced to be able to take off their masks—which is required indoors in France to stem the spread of the virus—and sing.

The concert—including “Silent Night” in English and French, “The Hymn of the Angels," and even “Jingle Bells”—was recorded earlier this month and broadcast just before midnight Thursday. The public was not allowed and isn’t expected to see the insides of Notre Dame until at least 2024. The diocese called it a “highly symbolic concert ... marked with emotion and hope,” and a celebration of a “musical heritage that dates to the Middle Ages.” The April 2019 fire consumed the cathedral's lead roof and destroyed its spire, and only earlier this month did workers finally stabilize the site enough to begin rebuilding.

(More Notre Dame Cathedral stories.)

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