Fire-scarred Notre-Dame to broadcast Christmas concert

Smoke billows as flames burn through the roof of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral on April 15, 2019, in the French capital Paris. - A huge fire swept through the roof of the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year. A spokesman for the cathedral told AFP that the wooden structure supporting the roof was being gutted by the blaze. (Photo by Fabien Barrau / AFP)

PARIS, FRANCE – Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris will echo with song on Christmas Eve as it holds its first choir concert since the massive fire that nearly destroyed the gothic masterpiece last year.

An organ will be rented for the occasion, since Notre-Dame’s majestic pipe organ is being carefully dismantled for cleaning and restoration after the devastating blaze that struck on April 15, 2019.

Since then only two events have been held in the 13th-century landmark — a small mass celebrated in June 2019, and a prayer ceremony last April to mark Holy Friday.

The church remains closed to the public during the renovations.

Michel Aupetit, the archbishop of Paris, said Monday that two soloists would lead the choir and that the concert would be broadcast on radio.

Stabilisation

Last week, the restoration reached a milestone with the removal of the last portions of metal scaffolding on the roof that melted into a tangled mess in the fire and threatened to crash to the floor.

That will allow crucial stabilisation and protective work to proceed ahead of rebuilding the destroyed roof and spire.

Officials are racing to meet President Emmanuel Macron’s goal of having the cathedral restored within five years.

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© Agence France-Presse

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