It was in the Fall of 1997, that the musical organizations, assembled under the banner of “musiques d’aujourd’hui” with the Conseil québécois de la musique (CQM), agreed to unify their forces to create a unique musical project to mark the year 2000. It was there that Walter Boudreau presented his project, conceived more than twenty years earlier, revolving around the use of the bell towers of Montreal and musical groups spread out through the city. This idea incited much enthusiasm notably because it called upon all genres of music, without discrimination, highlighting the vitality of musical creation in Quebec. Presented to the public in December of 1997, the project Esprits de clochers was already taking the form of a grand musical celebration bringing together the countless bells of the city and the resonances of the biggest musical groups in Quebec. Thus began the first steps of fundraising for Esprits de clochers.
In December of 1998, an important grant was awarded to the project by the Canada Arts Council within the framework of the Millenium Funds. This was the beginning of a great adventure. Its definitive title was then adopted: Symphony of the Millenium. The direction of the project was entrusted to the SMCQ who accepted to take up the challenge, assuming whole responsibility. Each participating organization contributed to the project by assuming the musical preparations which were theirs to undertake. In June of 1999 Walter Boudreau and Denys Bouliane began working out the architectural conception of the musical score, to which 19 composers later contributed. A production team made up of the most experienced musical, acoustic, and visual creators in Quebec busily worked on the elaboration of this unprecedented event.