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The history of À Cœur Joie International is obviously closely linked to the “À Cœur Joie” movement and to its founder, the humanist and musician César Geoffray . As a result, ACJ International shares all of its values and ambitions: "human development through access to the message of beauty carried by music, openness to choral practice, research by all means to train the generations of tomorrow in choral polyphony, a source of surpassing oneself, understanding and peace ” (Thierry Thiébaut, president of ACJ International).


César Geoffray was born in Lyon in 1901, but he spent all his childhood in North Africa, in particular in Casablanca in Morocco where his father ran a business. From his early childhood, his mother taught him the piano and then the violin. At 13, he entered the Lyon Conservatory where he obtained a first prize for harmony and a first prize for counterpoint. With his wife Marie on the piano and he on the violin or the viola, they seek to earn a living by performing in concert halls. At the same time, he gives music lessons, has rehearsals or sometimes leads the orchestra of the Casino de Lyon, composes music, etc. Later, the Geoffrays meet the painter Albert Gleizes who invites them to the artists' residence Moly-Sabata in Sablons, a sort of phalanstery located in Isère, on the banks of the Rhône; they lived there from 1931 to 1942.
In 1936 , César took charge of the “Chanteurs de Lyon”, then from 1938, he was professor of harmony at the Lyon Conservatory.

In 1940 , he was asked to lead an improvised choir close to scouting; He became more and more involved in this movement until he became the National Singing Master of the Scouts of France until 1955.
It was from his relationship with the scout movement that he founded, in 1947 , the popular choral movement “À Cœur Joie”, which formed an association in 1950.
  In less than twenty years, this international movement will count  450 choirs distributed in almost all French-speaking countries (France, Belgium, Canada, North Africa).
  The Choralies of Vaison-la-Romaine are born and are triennial from the start.
1958 , on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition in Brussels, Jean Dumont initiated the International Festival of Young Choirs in Charleroi; this festival brings together 30 choirs and Jean Dumont invited César Geoffray among the choir directors. During this festival, three projects take shape: À Coeur Joie International, the European Federation of Young Choirs (FEJC) and the International Federation for Choral Music (FIMC).
1960 , with the German Gottfried Wolters and parallel to the birth of the European Union, César participates in the creation of the European Federation of Young Choirs “Europa Cantat” of which François Bourel will take the presidency.
In recognition of his work, the French government appoints him as a specialist instructor from the Ministry of National Education.

1964 , César Geoffray directs a singing course in Bristol (Great Britain) with James Wild; As these two conductors have the same vision of choral singing, the idea of creating a popular choral movement (like À Cœur Joie) becomes quite natural. The Sing for Pleasure project is taking shape.
1969 , on January 27, the International Council À Cœur Joie was created in Lille.
  This council associates the federations of Belgium, Canada-Quebec, French-speaking Switzerland and Morocco with the federation of France. César Geoffray takes the presidency, the secretariat being entrusted to Françoise Villemagne. It is the birth of À Cœur Joie International !

But, César Geoffray died in 1972 in Soucieu-en-Jarrest.

After César GEOFFRAY

1973, Marcel Corneloup was elected President of the À Cœur Joie International Council.

1977 , Sing for Pleasure (United Kingdom) becomes an effective member of the International Council.

1980 , André Dumont (Belgium) is appointed Vice-president of the International Council At Cœur Joie, the Council decides from now on to admit associate members.
Programming of training courses for À Cœur Joie instructors under the direction of Pierre CAO

1982 , À Cœur Joie International is a founding member of the International Music Federation  Choir (FIMC).
Guy Saint-Jean is appointed Vice-President of the International Council.
The Dakar Choir, directed by Julien Jouga, is an associate member.

1983 , the head office of À Cœur  Joy moves to  Footbridges, avenue Joannès Masset in Lyon, in its  own premises. The national secretariat and Éditions À Cœur  Joy coexist

1984 , is a milestone in its history  since À Cœur Joie International becomes a  legal entity in its own right with the creation of an association under French law governed by the law of  1901. The link with À Cœur Joie France remains strong since the post of executive secretary has been devolved  to one of its members.
Composition of the board
President: Marcel Corneloup (F)
Vice-presidents: André Beaumier (C), André Dumont (B), Nicolas Ruffieux (CH), James Wild (GB)
Secretary: Jean-Jacques Margueritat (F)
Treasurer: Noël Minet (B)
Executive Secretary: Françoise Villemagne (F)

1987 , September 6, in Namur (Germany), the International Council of the À Coeur Joie Movement
reaffirms its values in the “ Namur Declaration . "

1990 , Alliance des Chorales du Québec and À Cœur Joie New Brunswick become associate members of the A Cœur Joie International Council.

1993 , Creation in Vaison-la-Romaine of the International Festival of Winning Choirs of the Festivals of Tours, Arezzo, Tolosa, Debrecem and Varna.
Vaison-la-Romaine is promoted European Choral City by the Cultural Commission of the European Communities, the label having been presented by the International Council À Cœur Joie.
The Federation of Franco-German Choirs (FCFA) is an effective member of the À Cœur Joie International Council.

1994 , Creation of the Letter of the International Council
Publications of the Federations:
France: Chant Choral Magazine, Chante et Ris (children)
Alliance des Chorales du Québec: Sing
Belgium: Chœur Magazine
Switzerland: Bulletin À Cœur Joie Suisse
Sing for Pleasure: Bulletin

1996 , The Romanian Federation is a full member of À Cœur Joie International.

2002 , On the advice of Mr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie, Marcel Corneloup and André Dumont nominate the À Cœur Joie International Choral Movement as the International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) of the Francophonie.
The International Council À Cœur Joie publishes the quarterly French-language choral review “Polyphonies. "

2003 , Noël Minet (ACJB) succeeds Marcel Corneloup
Composition of the new board:
Honorary Presidents: Marcel Corneloup (F), André Dumont (B)
Chairman: Noël Minet (B)
Vice-presidents: Ginette Forest (C), Jean-Marc Poulin (S)
Secretary General: Thierry Thiébaut (F)
Treasurer: Bernard Lallement (F)

2005 , The Congolese Choral Music Federation (DRC) becomes a member of ACJI.
The À Cœur Joie International Choral Movement is listed in the repertoire of the International Organization of La Francophonie for a probationary period of two years.

2007 , Establishment of a training cycle for ACJ instructors under the direction of Bernard Tétu.

2008 , The Togolese Choral Music Federation becomes a member of ACJI.
The International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) grants consultative member status to the À Cœur Joie International Choral Movement.

2009 , Thierry Thiébaut succeeds Noël Minet and becomes president of À Cœur Joie International.
The A Coeur Joie Federation of Côte d'Ivoire becomes a member of À Cœur Joie International.

2010 , Lupwishi MBUYAMBA, former president of the International Choral Music Federation, is named honorary member of the À Cœur Joie International Movement.

2011 , Formation of a common platform to structure and coordinate African Federations
The À Cœur Joie International Council wishes to maintain the recognition of the movement for  those who bring their loyalty, their skills and their talents in the spirit of the Order Musical A Coeur  Joy created in 1968. The Council  International decides to appoint the Major Witnesses , these being proposed by the Federations  national. Jean-Michel Pelotte, Jean-Marc Poulin and Thierry Thiébaut, are recognized as Witnesses  Major of the Heart Joy Movement.

The international CHORALP week in Briançon is now part of the activities of À Cœur Joie International in collaboration with ECA-EC.
The Rencontres Internationales d'Art Choral EUROCHORUS are labeled activities of ACJ International.
Official launch of the Canadian Choralies which will take place in Edmonton (Alberta) from July 8 to 15, 2012.
A training master class extends the annual Festival des Chœurs Lauréats in Vaison-la-Romaine.

2012 , Jean-Sébastien Masiala becomes vice president of À Cœur Joie International for Africa.
To Cœur Joie Gabon then To Cœur Joie
  Senegal become members of À Cœur Joie International.

2013 , Creation in Cotonou (Benin) of the African Confederation of Choral Music (CAMC) with Yveline Damas at the presidency and at the initiative of five African A Heart Joie federations (Gabon, Senegal, Togo, Ivory Coast, RD Congo).

2014 , René Falquet from ACJ Suisse and Céline Piquet from ACJ Maroc are appointed honorary members

2015, Adoption of new statutes during  the Lyon GA on February 28  with the duration of  elective mandate  range from 2 to 3 years .

The Association of Friends of the Choir  Madrigal from Cameroon  is welcomed as an associate member and  Harmonie Cantat du Bénin as an observer member

2016,  Election of the new Board of Directors at the Berlin General Assembly of  April 9 & 10:  Thierry Thiébaut, Yveline Damas,  Jacques Barbier,  Pierre Jaccard,  Yves  Wuyts
The Board appoints Jean Claude Wilkens as Executive Secretary.

Are co-opted: Dominique Lecheval (Treasurer) and Lucien Mendy (Communication).  

Office :  T. Thiébaut,  President -  Yveline Damas  and Jacques Barbier, vice-presidents - Dominique Lecheval,  treasurer - Pierre Jaccard, secretary.

Jean Marc Poulin of ACJ Switzerland is named honorary member.

The Ivorian Choral Movement (MICC) is welcomed as a new member and replaces  the former Federation ACJ Côte d'Ivoire.

2017 , April 30, À Cœur Joie International confirms its values, its meaning and the reasons for its  action through the Declaration of Brašov (Romania). "


2019 , Election of the new board during the General Assembly of Grand Bassam (Ivory Coast) on  May 4 & 5. 

Bureau: Thierry THIÉBAUT, President -  Jacques BARBIER  and Yveline DAMAS, Vice-presidents - Dominique LECHEVAL, treasurer -  Lucien MENDY in charge of communication

Co-opted:  Thérèse ELOY,  Secretary -  Yves WUYTS, in charge of training

2020, The Cameroon Music Federation  Chorale FECAMUCH is welcomed as a member of À Cœur Joie International at the online GA on September 19.

"When voices unite, hearts are very close to understanding one another."


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