Edith Piaf song censored at Que. school over God reference
One of the world's most beloved songstresses will have one of her pieces censored at a Quebec primary school because of its reference to God.
A primary school music teacher plans to cut the last line out of "Hymne a l'amour," by the late French singer Edith Piaf, at an end-of-year student performance.
That classic 1949 song ends with the line: "God reunites those who love."
A Montreal-based radio network, Cogeco, reports that an elementary school teacher took it upon himself to remove the line while preparing for the concert.
The teacher at a school in Sorel-Tracy, Que., near Montreal, reportedly defended his decision by saying he didn't want to have to answer students' questions about God.
Parents told the radio network that they weren't pleased with his decision.
But one board official had an explanation.
"They heard the song, they talked about the song they talked about that sentence and said this is not the right place to talk about who God is, what God does. You have classes for that. You have your parents to talk about it. Now let's concentrate on music," said Alain Laberge of the Sorel-Tracy School Board.
One provincial government bigwig appeared irritated by the decision.
"It's incredible. I totally disagree with this situation, with this decision. It's a beautiful song. The words in the song are beautiful and it's an art work," said Cultural Affairs Minister Christine St-Pierre.
Another academic concurred.
"Are we going to take every mention of anything that is transcendental out of songs, out of art, out of literature?" asked Spencer Boudreau, McGill University Faculty of Education.
Officials at Saint-Gabriel-Lalemant School say they met with the teacher to get his side of the story, but no measures will be taken against him.
A school board spokesman says the teacher's decision was a personal one and it was not ordered by the school.
"Hymne a l'amour," first performed in 1949 and recorded the following year, has been translated into numerous languages, including English.
The title in French means, "Ode to Love."