La Rencontre: Monthly Franco Luncheon
The Jalbert Orchestra, 1920s. The children of Arthur and Célina Simard Jalbert, from l to r:  Fern, Germaine, Conrad, Judy, Gertrude, and Gabriel. The catalyst for the family was the mother, Célina Jalbert,  who was determined that the children have as many opportunities as possible to further their education. Louis Jalbert, known as Maine’s “Mr. Democrat,” though not in this picture,played drums in the group with his brothers and sisters. (photo courtesy of the Franco-American Collection, University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn College).

The Jalbert Orchestra, 1920s. The children of Arthur and Célina Simard Jalbert, L-to-R: Fern, Germaine, Conrad, Judy, Gertrude, and Gabriel. Louis Jalbert, who would later become known as Maine’s “Mr. Democrat” and represent Lewiston for 38 years in the Maine Legislature, played drums in the group with his brothers and sisters but is not pictured here. (photo courtesy of the Franco-American Collection, University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn College).

Each month we present La Rencontre (French for “the gathering”) as a way for our extended Franco-American family in the area to reconnect with each other and with our neighbors. Meals and stories are shared, friends are reunited, and memories are made.

We offer a fully catered luncheon, followed by a performance. Both the menu and the entertainment vary each month. The charge to attend is $8 and the public is invited. However, reservations are required at least four days in advance by calling the Franco Center Office at 783-1585 during regular box office hours from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (no weekend messages, please), so that we can order and prepare an appropriate amount of food.

The deadline for all calls will be 4 p.m.on the Tuesday immediately prior to the luncheon on Thursday.

Traditionally in Franco culture, big celebratory meals of this sort would include live music provided by members of the family and their neighbors. Many families like Lewiston’s Jalbert family (above photo) made sure their kids each learned to play an instrument in order to entertain at such gatherings — and so, accordingly, we invite local musicians to provide live music for our guests.

To learn more about upcoming performances and menus, check the Event Calendar.



Upcoming Performances

  • May

    Piano Concert with Jean-Francois Latour

    Performance Hall

    May 27 - May 27

    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

    jean_francois_latour LRThe sensational young concert artist and teacher Jean-François Latour brings his Franco heritage to our series when he returns to Performance Hall for a solo program.  This native of Trois Rivières, Québec completed both undergraduate and graduate programs at the University of Montreal, and later received his Artist Diploma with Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

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  • Jun

    Bob Marley

    Performance Hall

    Jun 3 - Jun 3

    8:00 pm - 10:00 pm

    BobMarley_PromoShotBob Marley is one of the hottest and most sought-after comedians in the country. He has been featured in his own special on Comedy Central and is one of the few comics to do the complete late-night TV circuit: “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Late Late Show” with Craig Ferguson and Craig Kilborn. Pre-show reception at 6:30 p.m.

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  • Jun

    Just Us

    Performance Hall

    Jun 12 - Jun 13

    2:00 pm - 12:00 pm
    Just Us Entertainers

    Just Us Entertainers

    The “Just Us” Entertainers will be presenting their 16th annual summer benefit concert at the Center. The group first performed at the Center in the summer of 2000 to raise funds for the then Festival de Joie.

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  • Jun

    La Rencontre

    Heritage Hall

    Jun 16 - Jun 16

    11:30 am - 1:30 pm

    RogerThe cost of the meal and the programs is $10 per person.  The doors open at 10 a.m.   Guests may contact the Center office for reservations at 783.1585.  E-mail reservations may be sent to  La Rencontre is in no way restricted to French-speakers or even those of Franco descent.  All are welcome to attend this fun monthly meal and event, as long as spots remain open.

    Following the meal, Roger Renaud, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, will provide the entertainment.

    The magnificent Gendron Franco Center is handicap accessible and is located on the corner of Cedar and Oxford Streets in the “Little Canada” section of Lewiston, just across the bridge from New Auburn.

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