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Les Concerts de Poche - helping young people find cultural fulfilment

Les Concerts de Poche began in 2005, on an initiative by pianist Gisèle Magnan. Her desire was to make the sound of classical music, jazz and opera heard throughout France, especially in remote areas that have little access to cultural and musical events, such as schools in rural areas, priority neighborhoods, hospitals, prisons and so on. By specifically targeting vulnerable or isolated young people, the Association contributes to their social integration.

At the request of a given region, professional pianists, choirmasters, violinists and sopranos among others from the compagnons des Concerts de Poche, come and get the community involved in an end-to-end musical project including participative workshops and concerts organized in their communal facilities (gymnasiums, village halls, neighborhood community centers, etc.).

In either a one-hour session or weekly meetings over 5 months the workshops are open to everyone, and no knowledge of music is required to take part. Participants can try their hand at creating music (writing a small opera, composition, percussions, choir partitions, poetry slam, etc.) and chat to the artists. 

The workshops are designed to be inclusive and are often cross-generational. They provide an opportunity for participants to discover a whole new creative world, and also grow their natural human qualities, such as listening, self-confidence, pride, willingness to make an effort, high-standards, generosity, courage and inquisitiveness. Breathing new life into regions, creating new social ties and enhancing the personal development of young people (the population targeted by 60% of the workshops) are the core missions of Les Concerts de Poche.

An Association whose development is growing crescendo

Every year, Les Concerts de Poche travel around France to meet 45,000 people living in 360 French towns and villages. 450 artists (Natalie Dessay, Jean-François Zygel, etc.) have already joined the Association. In its 17 years of existence, the association has organized 18,000 workshops and 1,300 concerts for 480,000 participants in 59 departments across France. Officially recognized as being of “public utility” by the French government, Les Concerts de Poche are also laureates of the foundation La France s’engage, which supports the deployment of innovative and solidarity initiatives led by players in civil society.

Deprived of its anniversary celebration in 2020 owing to the health crisis, the Association organized an exceptional tour through the heart of the French regions in early 2022. Six concerts were on the program, given by choirs whose members are both amateurs from the community and artists committed to the association. 
Each of the choirs was twinned with another so that they could exchange and meet to sing together in their respective towns and villages.

The project is the result of five months’ work and gave the 150 choristers the opportunity to sing on stage in front of 2,500 people and to travel with the musicians. On February 9, 2022, all the participants met at the Fratellini Academy in Seine-Saint-Denis for a grand final concert attended by 700 spectators, among which Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French Minister of Education, and Françoise Nyssen, the former French Minister of Culture.

A concerted effort

Les Concerts de Poche are perfectly in line with TotalEnergies Foundation's desire to help socially vulnerable young people to thrive and express their potential, to facilitate their integration into society. These initiatives are also important at the heart of many regions where the Company is present and contribute to their vitality and dynamism. 
TotalEnergies Foundation has been supporting Les Concerts de Poche in this way since 2017 and has just renewed its financial backing for a further three years. The aim is to develop long-term actions for young people and new and enhanced content to help them achieve what they aspire to. By 2024, more than 27,500 young people aged between 12-25, will have been involved through more than 5,000 hours of musical workshops.