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MONTREAL, APRIL 3, 2013 – The nine unique heritage programs at the English Montreal School Board will be celebrated on April 4  (10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School (6855 Cartier) in Rosemount at the first annual Heritage Languages/P.E.L.O. (Programme de l’enseignement des langues d’origine) Fair. International composer, lyricist, musician and arranger Vincenzo Thoma, who came to Canada from Italy will be a special guest.

The P.E.L.O. program aims to improve the students’ knowledge of their heritage language and gives greater depth to the students’ understanding of human experience by fostering an appreciation of the customs and achievements of people within their communities.

A total of 1,596 students at 25 EMSB schools learn nine languages: Italian, Arabic, Bengali, Greek, Hebrew, Portuguese, Spanish, Urdu and Tamil, in addition to English and French, in extra-curricular classes.  The Fair, coordinated by EMSB Assistant Director of Pedagogical Services Christine Denommée, will serve as a celebration of the nine languages and cultures through stories, music, theatrical performances and other student presentation.

“It has been proven that the knowledge of a third language serves as both an academic and cognitive benefit,” states EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini. “ Students have the potential to gain a competitive advantage in the workforce as this knowledge could open up additional opportunities both at home and abroad. Additionally, promoting the students’ language and culture within a formal course recognizes alternative ways of expression and the value of the child’s culture.”

Vincenzo Thoma

Thoma will visit with the students and possibly sing a song between noon and 12:30 p.m. He iss busy preparing for  the annual benefit concert for The Peter Brojde Lung Cancer Centre of the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal on  Thursday, April 11   (8 p.m. at Théâtre Maisonneuve of  the Place des Arts.   While living in his native Rome,  Thoma was chosen by Walt Disney Productions   as the singing voice of Aladin in the Italian version of the film of the same name. As a solo vocalist in musical Beati Voi, he toured throughout Italy and enjoyed a run of over four months in the famed Teatro Sistina. Acclaimed by the public at large, his performance at the Sanremo Music Festival was also unanimously hailed by critics.

In 1994, charmed by the multiethnic character of Montreal, he decided to move to the city to pursue his career, both as a singer and songwriter. Subsequently, many well-established performers called upon his talents, including Lara Fabian, Marie-Élaine Thibert, Mia Martini, Filippa Giordano, with the song Un giorno in più, which took second place at the Sanremo Music Festival, Gigi Finizio, Roch Voisine, Dan Bigras, Patrick Fiori, Chimène Badi, Ima, Bruno Pelletier and Tocadéo. In 2008, the first single from the Marie-Pier Perrault album J’oublierai, written by Vincenzo Thoma, zoomed to #1 on the Top 25 Francophone Adult Pop chart, and to #5 in the general pop chart.

The McCord Museum is also proud to be associated with the PELO Fair. They will provide a number of prizes and operate an information kiosk. Children will also be entertained at 12:30 p.m. by a Bollywood dance group.


Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213