Notre Chanson

by Kathleen Lubeck

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    That’s how you say “our song” in Montreal, where these sisters are in perfect harmony.

    They’re known in their stake as the “Singing LeGault Sisters.” Just mention their name to Church members in Montreal, Canada, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by smiling faces. There’s a lot of sweet harmony reflected in those smiles, happy memories of the LeGault sisters sharing their musical talents.

    The sisters sing together, and they sing individually, at home, at church, at school, in competitions. Chantal, 16, and Nathalie, 18, love the closeness they feel when they are singing together—and they feel like it’s a way of sharing their love for the gospel, too.

    People in the stake are still talking about a show the LeGault sisters put on for their stake three years ago. It came about when Chantal was asked at age 12 to join a new band made up of LDS youth. “We did a show for the ward, and Nathalie thought it sounded great, so she joined the group, too. We practiced all summer, five hours a day, and did a three-hour show for the stake. People really enjoyed it,” says Chantal.

    Nathalie has liked music for a long time, too. When she was ten years old she wanted to learn to lead the singing, so she asked the music director in her ward to teach her how. When Nathalie turned 11, she was called to lead the music in Primary. She’s now the choir president for her ward, as well as Young Women camp director and secretary of the Sunday School. Chantal directs the music for the Young Women, sings in the ward choir, and is president of her Young Women class.

    They both sing for fun, but Chantal would like to sing professionally. “I like music, but Chantal really loves it,” says Nathalie.

    Last year Chantal auditioned for a prestigious gala presentation that the media attend to report on the best new talent in Montreal. Chantal passed the audition and was scheduled to perform, but when she found out the concert was to be held on a Sunday, she withdrew.

    “I fasted about it. Even though I really wanted to sing at the gala, if the Spirit says don’t go, you don’t go. So I didn’t. The important thing is always to follow what Heavenly Father wants us to do. But I know that because I listened to the Spirit, other opportunities have come my way,” says Chantal.

    She recently found herself singing for a seminary film produced by the Church. Last year both sisters were asked to help with French translations for the film. Chantal told the producer she liked to sing and was asked to record several songs for the project. She went to the studio, put on the earphones, and surprised everybody when she did an outstanding job in record time. A technician told her she had professional talent, which was encouraging.

    “If I sing professionally, my commitment to God will always take first priority,” she says. “I look at my singing as missionary work.”

    She also likes to write music—she’s written more than 30 songs. “Music is a good way for me to express myself,” she says. “When I feel sad or happy, I put it into music and words. If I have a good relationship with somebody, or a good friendship, or when I see someone alone, I write a song about it.”

    Besides music, the LeGault sisters have other interests, too.

    “We both love music, but our personalities are very different. I love bright colors, modern things, almost flashy things,” says Chantal.

    “I guess I’m more traditional,” says Nathalie. “I love subdued colors, antiques, nature, the woods.”

    Chantal loves arts; Nathalie likes sciences. Chantal likes individual competition; Nathalie likes team sports. Chantal prefers the city; Nathalie prefers the country. Chantal dresses in up-to-date fashions; Nathalie goes for the more classic look.

    But outward differences aside, the girls are like two peas in a pod on things that are dear to them—their French Canadian heritage and their love of the gospel.

    “Most of us in Quebec have ancestors from the farm,” says Nathalie. “That makes us warm, hospitable people, whether we live in the city or the country. We’ve inherited it. Family is important to us as a people, and we value happiness, not things.”

    “It’s easy for us in Quebec to care about people. It comes naturally,” adds Chantal. “We’re also very frank and direct and very independent. Probably one reason we’re independent is that we live in the only French-speaking province in Canada, and sometimes that’s tough. We’re somewhat isolated because of that.”

    Some of the younger people don’t have much interest in the cultural traditions of Quebec, the sisters say. But the LeGault sisters are in harmony with their heritage. “We think it’s good to learn about our ancestors and the way they lived,” says Nathalie.

    Going to school in Montreal offers special challenges to the two young women because they’re Latter-day Saints.

    “We’re the only Mormons in a high school of 1,500 students, and it’s hard sometimes,” says Chantal. “The tough part is that the people can’t understand our principles. Sometimes when our friends find out our religion, their parents tell them not to see us anymore. That makes it hard to do missionary work here, but we’ve found that our example is the best missionary work we can do.”

    Nathalie agrees. “Example is very important here. Everybody watches us because of our religion. When we take the subway to church, people notice us walking in dresses and know that we’re not like other young people. There’s something different about us.

    “Last year I asked my math teacher to write something in my yearbook. My teacher said, ‘A year ago I saw you in the corridor and didn’t know you, but wanted you in my class this year because I saw how nice you were with people.’ To me, that’s missionary work.”

    Chantal has had similar experiences. “A boy in my school I didn’t even know came up to me and asked my name and asked if I was active in a certain church he named. I said, ‘No, I’m a Mormon.’ He told me that he could see from my eyes that I was different, that I had principles.”

    Both the sisters are proud of the gospel principles they’ve learned. Converts to the Church, their family was tracted out when they lived in the little country town of Gatineau, north of Montreal.

    “The missionaries came to the door one day and said they were from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” says Chantal. “When my mother heard the words ‘Jesus Christ,’ she knew she wanted to hear from them, because she had been searching for truth.”

    Their father worked in Montreal and came home on the weekends. When he heard that the missionaries had come, he told his family he wasn’t interested, but the missionaries could come when he wasn’t there.

    “I loved my sins and didn’t want to give them up,” he says half-jokingly.

    The missionaries started teaching the family, and one Friday afternoon Papa LeGault came home early from work, when the missionaries were there. He asked them to stay, and the missionaries invited him and his wife to a Valentine’s Day dance at the meetinghouse. The people at the dance were friendly and nice, and Brother LeGault knew there was something special about them, something good.

    “My father wanted proof about these people, though,” says Chantal. “A week later Elder Neal Maxwell was speaking at stake conference in Montreal, and my father put on a tie and said, ‘I’ll go.’ Once there, he saw that the people in Montreal were good too. He listened, and he received a testimony of the Church and saw that it was true.

    “The next weekend, he told the missionaries he wanted to be baptized. They protested that he hadn’t had the lessons, and my father said he didn’t care. He wanted to be baptized. My mother wanted baptism, too. So our family joined the Church, and a year and a half later, my father was branch president.”

    Nathalie was eight years old when the missionaries came, and she searched to find out for herself if the Church was true. “I was nine years old when I knew it was true. My relatives said, ‘The girls are joining because their parents joined.’ But I said ‘No, I know that it’s true.’ It was my decision to join. I always tell young people that you have to have your own testimony, not the testimony of your friends or family.”

    The gospel has meant a lot to the LeGault girls. They contrast their life today with their life when they didn’t have the gospel. “Sometimes when people are born in the Church, they don’t realize what they have because they don’t know what life is like without it,” says Nathalie. “I remember what it was like, and I know that the Spirit of the Lord is in our home now. The gospel has really changed our lives. If it weren’t for the gospel, I wouldn’t be what I am today. The Church is my life. Everything I do I pray about. I feel the Spirit of the Lord guiding me. That’s the key, and it’s wonderful.”

    One highlight for the LeGault sisters has been taking trips to the Washington D.C. Temple.

    “We try to go to the temple to do baptisms as often as we can,” says Nathalie. “We need it, like food. We’re hungry for it. We go each summer for three days. I think about my family when I go and remember when we were sealed together in the temple eight years ago. I remember the sealing room and my mother looking so beautiful. It was something marvelous, fantastic.

    “When I’m baptized for the dead in the temple, I’ve felt very close to the people I’ve been baptized for, and I feel that they’ve accepted the gospel. I know that I’m not just being baptized for a name, but for someone who really exists. Those people want the gospel just like we do.”

    Chantal agrees. “The last time I went to do baptisms in the temple, I felt the Spirit so strongly I cried and cried. I felt like I wanted to be in the temple all my life, so I could feel that Spirit all the time.”

    The LeGault family makes it a practice to try to live close to the Spirit. Brother LeGault helps set the pace. Shortly after he prayed for help in finding someone to share the gospel with, he was prompted to turn off the main highway to stop at a gas station, even though he didn’t need gas. A young man riding a motorcycle had stopped there because he was tired of traveling, and Brother LeGault offered to put the motorcycle in his van and give the young man a lift to Montreal.

    The young man was impressed by the kindness he received and wanted to know more about the LeGault family and what made them so loving. He took the missionary lessons. The LeGault family prayed that the young man would gain a testimony. A few weeks later, he was baptized into the Church.

    “When something like that happens, we make it a family activity,” says Chantal. “We all prayed for the young man to listen to the truth. We work together to share the gospel.”

    “We try to say to our Heavenly Father, ‘I’ll do what you want. Make me what you want,’” says Nathalie. “When we let him do that, he does wonderful things.”

    Photography by Sharon Beard