Category Archives: 2014

The Steps of Legends

On our final day here we made plans to journey out of the compound and to the glorious river. A large group of us walked down the road, and then down the infamous 536 steps that were about a foot and a half vertically. For the first time ever my legs hurt from walking down stairs. As we trekked down the trees almost melted away and revealed spectacular views. Once our large group made it down to the river we were greeted by our friends from spain who had left before us. Words cannot, will not, and will never describe how amazing the water felt. As we waded in most of us melted out of pure happiness and joy. After relaxing for a while we moved up to where the current was stronger and the water traveled over some rocks. Nancy, Jen, and Becca all sat on the rocks enjoying the water powered back massage and after they left Liz and Jordan took their spots. I personally sat by the edge and let myself float downstream. I may have arrived with a select few scraps on my back but it was so beyond worth it. Once I had stood up I looked towards the way I had traveled and saw Liz taking a video of herself sitting back and loving life. After a while we got out, dried off, and started the long, aching, and tiresome walk up the 536 steps that we had so recently walked down. The way back up wasn’t as easy but we were all still energized from the water. It was by far one of my favorite adventures that I’ve experienced during my stay here and I hope that if I come next year I’ll be able to do it again with new faces.

7/27/14

I hardly realized until I sat down to write this and dated the title that our week is nearly over! It’s a bittersweet feeling, leaving this camp that we’ve all grown to love, with it’s beautiful scenery and a shared passion for music that is very unique and difficult to find, but also knowing we are only a day away from seeing our loved ones (and air conditioning). But though this may be our last day, there is still plenty in store for us!

Since there were no rehearsals today, we woke up this morning knowing we could do a lot more exploring than we’d been able to so far. Our day started with the camp’s Sunday church service, and even though it was delivered in French, a language I understand only a small amount of, it was still very beautiful to watch and experience. Religion is such a big part of many Haitians lives here. It’s one of the only ways anyone can cope with the struggle and suffering many of the people here face every day, I suppose. I do not think I had truly heard how a hymn was meant to be sung until I heard them sung in that Haitian church.

After the service, and one of the best breakfasts of my life (scrambled eggs and Haitian peanut butter on bread), we decided it was time to finally do some swimming! A few minutes walk down the road from the camp, there is a river which was made as a result of a clean water projects a group of engineers set out to bring to Cange and completed in 2012 can be found, and as a byproduct of such a project, the water is safe to swim in! It really is a dream, an oasis of cool in the brutal heat of Haiti. The only deterrent: 536 steps stand between the road we walk down and the river. But we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be cool here! We walked the 536 steps down, and the 536 steps back up, and in between all that walking we had the most refreshing swim of my life. I’m sure there will be pictures up soon, and I highly recommend you check those out, because no description of mine could do justice to the way the cool blue water looks against the tropical green leaves, and also how happy we look to be wet with something other than sweat.

In just a few hours, it will be time for the final recital! I am very excited to show everyone how all of our hard work has paid off, and also to see the ensembles whom I haven’t be rehearsing with perform. I’m sure all will be amazing. After that, there will be a dance, mainly for the campers, but that we will also attend and enjoy. It will be a great way to say goodbye to all the kids we’ve gotten to know and love through the week. A few hours of packing, cleaning, and sleeping later, and we will be on our way home, how bizarre. Anyways, I think it’s about time I get going and get ready for the concert! As always, I send love home to my family and friends, who I will see surprisingly soon!

Jennifer

Rain!

Today our rehearsals were interrupted by torrential rain, lightning and the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard. Haiti is truly a beautiful place. Stairs were turned into waterfalls and patios into lakes. Now it is cool and everything is clean.

Group Two has made a useful and rewarding place for themselves in the music camp. Each day, they encourage and mentor students. They take meals with other professionals and they are learning daily about various aspects of music and Haitian life.

During a dinner chat, several of the students expounded on music, and what it means to the Haitian people. “Haitians don’t use music as a hobby,” one student said “for them it is hope, joy, passion, comfort, community. I am going to take my music more seriously when I get home.”

The students continue to surprise me with their deep reflections about people, cultures and values. They’ve learned that joy exists in the heart. Surroundings and material possessions don’t give meaningful joy.

They’ve learned that pride comes with accomplishment which is hard won – not with an accumulation of goods.

They’ve learned all this from the young Haitian kids they work with.

Each of them has expressed a desire, an urgency, to work harder on their music – to give it value and the attention it demands. Their passion to share what they know and help others learn has become a force.

I am overwhelmed by how compassionate, thoughtful and mature the MMO students have shown themselves to be.

Thank you, Parents, for sharing them with everyone here!

We can all be proud of the impressions that the MMO kids has left behind.

!!

Hello Hello!!!

Music. It’s everywhere. Does it get any better??

Right now, 1:45pm, everyone is just finishing lunch! Speaking of times, everybody’s schedule is different, but here is my daily routine:

-6:00: wake up, shower, and get ready for the day

-7:00: Matinee (morning prayer where all the campers and volunteers gather outside the camper’s dorms to say the Lord’s prayer, read some scripture, and sing hymns, all in Creole of course)

-7:30: breakfast

– 9:00-10:00: Sight Singing Rehearsal (I accompany Rob Wessler as he teaches a group of about 25 Haitians how to read music. It’s so awesome to watch these kids learn and grow:)

-10:00-10:30: break

-10:30-12:30: Petit Chanteurs Choral Rehearsal  (I accompany Sidney Guillaume throughout his choir practice consisting of kids between 8 and 25 years old…I will never get tired of listening to these kids outstanding voices as well as watching Sydney work with them)

-1:00: Lunch

1:30-4:00: Break (A lot of people schedule lessons during this time, I have given piano lessons as well as tried to speak/make friends with many Haitians who patiently help me with my Creole)

4:00-5:30: more Petit Chanteurs practice!!!

5:30: Vespers (evening prayer. Each day, they have a different person play a short piece of a song on their instrument. The musician first plays without any musical nuances: very boring. The second time they proceed to add expression, dynamics, emotion…etc. It is then explained in Creole to the kids, I was thankful to have Sidney nearby to help explain this to me,  that it is so important to use expression and to play with a purpose, with intentions of bringing the piece to life instead of just playing it to get the notes right. Yes, that is how music is originally learned, but eventually, especially with the help and lessons they receive at the camp as well as their own personal experiences, they will learn to add what they believe makes the piece beautifully their own).

6:00: dinner

6:00- on: go with the flow!! Sometimes there is rehearsal, other times (such as last night for example) there was a recital where anyone who wanted to could perform in front of the whole camp as a soloist or as a group! It was SOO AMMAZING to hear all the musicians perform!! Myself as well as Lauren (a sweetheart who is a very talented pianist here), Greg (a very skilled percussionist) and Liz Matta (THE BOMB and her saxophone playing just makes your mouth drop open) will perform “Don’t Know Why” By Norah Jones during Saturday night’s concert!!! Super excited that I have the chance to work with these incredible musicians/people. After last night’s concert, we went to “The View:” a restaurant in the compound where I had some banana juice and others had Haitian ice cream and mango juice…yumm! The stars were out, not a cloud in the sky,,,(:

I can’t believe it is already Thursday!! It’s going by so fast!!!:( I will miss theses people so much, especially the little kids in the choir I am working with. Yesterday, the tenor and basses went outside (the older kids) for a sectional while the younger kids (altos and sops) stayed inside the church. Sidney had them all gather around the piano so they could hear their parts better…oh my goodness. It made my heart melt to be surrounded by all these beautiful children singing at the top of their lungs! They are all such sweethearts!! One even sat next to me on the piano bench and put his head on my shoulder…cutest thing ever. I love these guys(:

Until next time…<3

Love you all!!!

Reflection on Haiti July 2014

First off, I would like to thank Hugh, Liz, and Jaja for inviting me to be a part of the MMO experience 2014!

I know all readers have enjoyed reading the student’s blogs, and I can attest that their descriptions and narrations of Haiti are exemplary. Under unique challenges, these students have demonstrated endurance and understanding for all humanity. As an educator/musician, I often feel that I am a student of the Haitian students as well as the MMO kids, merely because of the soulfulness, passion, intellect, creativity, humor, and compassion that they exhibit!

Our stories/endeavors will be with us throughout our lives and as a result we will be better human beings.

-Jimmy “DJ Doctor Jazz” Johnson

P.S. I thank Jen Kochaver for typing this blog as I dictated (and for signing my name) :-)

7/24/14

Hello everyone! We’ve been here for four full days, but it feels like it’s been no time at all. It almost doesn’t make sense, but all the activity during the day, lessons and rehearsals and exploring, creates this illusion that hardly any time has passed at all. Time seems to pass differently here in Cange than it does in the States, and it’s really kind of nice. But back to how we’re all doing! I think we’ve finally gotten adjusted to life at camp, the crazy schedules and constant music and communicating with all sorts of people who don’t speak your language.

There are three little girls who play the saxophone, Dory, Lara, and Jeanville, whom I give lessons to usually for an hour each day, and luckily for me, they all speak French, and are very willing to talk to me “en français,” even though my French is pretty rough a lot of the time! And I’m getting to play a little tenor sax in the POC (Petite Orchestre de Chambre), which I am really enjoying. The longer the week goes on, the more comfortable and capable we’ve all gotten with making friends here with the Haitians, and that’s really exciting. I don’t want to go on for too long, lots to do today (and lunch is very soon!), so know that we are all safe and having a really great time! I miss and love all my friends and family, and will be very happy to see you all again soon, but it will definitely be hard to leave this camp.

Jennifer

Haiti Day 5

Bonswa!!
Today is my 4th full day in Haiti! It is going by faster than expected and I’m trying to take everything in. I am becoming more accustomed to the schedule, food and heat. All the musicians here, from campers to volunteers are incredible and so very talented! In the morning, I begin with sectionals with the older band, then work with the younger band. Everyone is so willing and excited to learn, including me.
Last night, Wednesday night, we attended a concert where a few of the campers and volunteers performed, including our very own Ms. Matta. What a show!! I also tried Guava juice and Haitian chocolate ice cream for the first time. Very refreshing!
As I said in the beginning, there is so much to take in and process. This is all I have for now. So far this has been an incredible experience and I am so thankful that I have had this opportunity!

Running, running, step-step-step

As you must already know, there are MANY stairs where we are staying in Cange. These stairs make everything a bit more difficult. Two years ago, I even broke my foot on one of the many, many stairs.

This morning the EIVST (High school level band) was in need of copies of music for 10 flutes 15, trumpets, 10 alto saxes, 15 percussionists…with one photocopier for the entire camp located for geographical sake at the TOP of the stairs. These copies needed to be made and then brought to the band rehearsals and sectionals located at the BOTTOM of the many stairs.

The Haitian staff are working extremely hard to make this camp function. There is small group of people in charge of feeding the students (200) and volunteers (25), cleaning the spaces we use and keeping all the buildings we used stocked with bottles of water.

The Haitian teachers who work with these students during the year, continue to work with those students here at camp AND have dorm duty at night – caring for the students when they may need a little extra TLC – whether homesick or physically sick. And, I so admire how LOVING they are toward the children. Many of these teachers advocate extremely hard to get these students to camp knowing how important the experience will be for them.

None of these folks mentioned above have had a day off since before the camp started! These folks have been working 24/7 for more than two weeks including camp preparations and still have more than another full week to go.

Yet…

no one complains…

they all…

have smiles on their faces…

they will…

take extra time to answer questions for volunteers…

they will…

take music and photocopy it for the volunteers…

because…

it’s all for the children…

all of it…

So, this morning as I was hiking up and down the stairs and up and down again, to get the copies of music made, I tried really hard to keep that smile on my face. I may have eye-roll-ed myself a couple times for feeling a bit winded.

I try to live by that mentality anyway…but even after three trips to this camp I am still impressed, inspired and awed by the deep passion of this staff – teachers-copiers-disciplinarians-cooks-cleaners-water carriers…

I was asked the other night by an amazing American woman who is working at camp and doing research toward her Doctorate in Ethnomusicology what my motivation to come to Haiti and keeping coming back each summer was.

Though there are many reasons, I can say this morning’s reason is so I can give what I can to these students and teachers who do not have district and all-state level festivals and conferences that we are fortunate to have on a yearly basis in the states; because I can learn much more from the high quality of person that works here and because I get to see and experience first hand how love and music bring so many people together…

!

Bonswa!

Wow.

Haiti is Amazing.

Actually it’s more than amazing, there’s just no word that can justly summarize how absolutely incredible it is here.

Everyone, from the beautiful Haitians to the wonderful volunteers, is so unique and each person has brought their own diverse, special musical gifts to the camp. Together, the people and their love for music make up this one-of-a-kind puzzel that has the power to dissolve the language barrier by connecting us beyond words. I am acting as one of the accompanists here, particularly for one extremely talented composer: Sydney Guillaume. What an honor. He was originally from Haiti: he left when he was 11 and just last year returned to help inspire the lives of young Haitians, as he has inspired so many others around the world. The piece we are working on with “Le Petits Chanteurs,” one of the two choirs here, is called “Blogodop.” It has so many cool, Haitian rhythms! Sidney really motivates the kids, pulls them in and makes them eager to learn! Today, it was 12:35 (past the 12:30 call for lunch) and he asked the kids if he could squeeze in one more run-through of the song. They all shouted and cheered “YES!!!” So even after two hours of rehearsal, their intense love for music and the way it makes them feel, as a couple who speak a little english have explained, overrided their need for a break, and even food. They would keep going all day if they could!

There was a dance on Sunday night, SO FUN!!! We all joined in and danced with the Haitian children. I could use a few dance tips from them! They know how to groove!!!(: Surrounded by so many smiling faces and people “jumping for joy,” I couldn’t help but feel so completely joyous myself!

I’ve made so many genuine friends and it is such a privilege to be apart of this camp. Right now I am typing this while listening to a male choir practice…yup…it’s awesome.

There is SO MUCH MORE I could write, but Haiti is calling me! I’ll write back tomorrow with more!!

Love you all!!!

P.S. I petted a tarantula!

 

okay, I really just got a really close look at it, but close enough;p

Day 1

First day has been very good. Still getting into the flow of things but the people here are very nice and are always willing to help. I’m excited about what the week brings.

Group One Homecoming

I am sitting at the Oloffson Hotel which is a very luxurious place, especially compared to our accommodations in Cange. The kids and Hugh just departed for the airport and I am waiting for an uncertain ride back to the Plateau. Everything will work out eventually, and I will enjoy a few hours here while I try to figure out how to get back.

Elise is still a little weak. She, and a few of the others will check their bags to lighten their loads. The other kids are taking good care of her, helping her with steps. Richard volunteered to be responsible for her trombone so that she doesn’t have to carry anything.

All the students are sad to leave. Last night at dinner each one of them expressed a desire to stay an extra week. This experience has impacted each student profoundly: the music, the teaching, interacting with Haitian kids and adults, making new friends who speak a different language, living with professional musicians from around the world, and playing in a professional philharmonic orchestra. They have pushed themselves beyond what they previously thought they were capable of and have grown from the experience. I think they each feel good about how much they were able to give on a daily basis. And, more importantly, they now understand how much they have to give.

The icing on the cake has been their experience at the Oloffson working with RAM in their sound studio. The hotel, in general, is an experience, and I have advised them to read “The Comedians”  by Graham Greene.

Group One parents will be seeing your kids soon, and we will miss them!

7/21/14

Hello everyone! Our first full day in Haiti is coming to a close, and I think just about all of us have blogged already, so this post may be a bit familiar. Our flights went fairly smoothly, with the exception of a small delay from Boston to Miami, and it took our group only an hour to get through customs in Port-au-Prince. When we left the airport, the two trucks picking us up were there and waiting, and we were able to get going right away, arriving at the camp right before lunch and in time to watch the concert! It was a spectacular performance, and really amazing to see what had been accomplished in the previous week, it makes me very excited to see what we can get done. All the MMO musicians preformed wonderfully! The concert was also three hours long, so I was basically checked out for the night after all the travel and sitting.

More about today, though! From when we awoke until now, it has been a day of constant working and thinking, from rehearsing to practicing Creole to trying to get our room settled and meeting the other instructors and students. I taught my first lesson early this morning, and it was very overwhelming! The some of the older students are very talented, and all are very patient with my basic knowledge of French and extremely limited knowledge of Creole. Richard was right, the days are long, mostly because we squeeze in an amazing amount of activity. Also, maybe because of the heat.

There is so much more I could talk about, but I am really exhausted, and we have just as much work waiting for us tomorrow, so I am going to call this good! To all my friends and family at home, I miss and love you all very much and I hope all is well. We are all safe and sound at the camp, and finally moved in, it’s starting to feel a little like a home. More updated to come soon, but goodnight for now!

Jennifer

Monday, July 21

Even though we were able to leave at 9:30 instead of the planned 5:00 this morning, the drive was still felt long.  Departing the camp left us all in a somber mood, since we had to say goodbye to many of the great friends we had made this week.  We wound our way down the mountains, dodging motorbikes, mack trucks, people, dogs, rocks – you name it!  I was paying more attention than the bus trip to Cange, and though it was more frightening, the scenery was so gorgeous that I wouldn’t have missed the view even if I had been able to find a comfortable position to sleep.

After getting stuck in traffic multiple times in Port-au-Prince, we finally arrived at the lovely Oloffson hotel.  After the somewhat primitive conditions of the camp, a bed, air conditioning, and a restaurant with delicious food and drink seems like paradise!  Not that the food in Cange wasn’t good – in fact is was great – but the menu seemed to repeat itself more often than not, and it’s nice to have some variety today.

The highlight of today was working with Ram this afternoon.  It was a short session, but we had a blast!  Richard, the leader of the group and the owner of the hotel, first told us about the kind of music they play: traditional Haitian and African rhythms with a modern touch.  Then we got to hear an example of how they go about developing a tune.  First the bare drum beat was played, then they taught me a simple high-hat and bass drum rhythm to add.  Then the voice part, the piano, guitars, and finally horns all joined in.  These horns were really neat; they were made of tin and had all been tuned to a specific pitch, it took two or three guys with two horns each to get a tune going.  The best part was when they played a melody for the rest of the group to play.  By the end we had a full piece going, and it wasn’t bad!

It’s hard to believe that was will be coming home tomorrow.  It feels like we just left Lincoln Academy on the bus.  I am of course looking forward to seeing everyone and sleeping in my own bed, but in a way it will be hard to leave Haiti.  I feel we have become relatively accustomed to the culture, weather, food, music, etc. and it may be difficult to transition back into Maine life.  What’s more is we will all miss the fantastic students, volunteers, and especially our one-of-a-kind group, all of which have made this trip a positive, memorable, and simply incredible learning experience.  I can never thank enough all the people who have made it all possible.

Bye Bye Haiti

Bonswa,

Sitting in a Haitian hotel in Port-au-Prince, I am writing a blog on our last full day in Haiti. Some much has happened since I last wrote, and I am already missing the camp.

On Thursday evening we had a jam jazz session inside the church. After Orchestra we stayed behind and we jammed out with other volunteers and campers. Liz jammed out on the saxophone, Richard was able to play the piano, and we all were able to have jazz solos. AJ’s, the bass player, fingers started to bleed so I impromptu was able to play the stand up bass. Only playing electric bass before, the stand up bass was a lot of fun. I got a giant blister on my finger, and I am proud to say that it is still here days later.  It was really amazing to be jamming along other accomplished musicians, just having fun.

We went out a couple times for dinner, visiting the local restaurants nearby. Not only did we get to have delicious food, but we were also able to see lots of tarantulas in the rock walls during the dark.

We also left the compound to go to the river on Saturday. To get to the river, we had to walk over 1/2 mile through a village, then down 536 steps. It was nice getting out of the compound and getting to see the village and people. It was nice being able to experience some of the culture after being in the compound for a while. The steps down to the river were very uneven, which we had to run down because we had to make it back up to a concert in an hour. Practically running, we made it down to the river where we had a very unique and wonderful experience with some local Haitians. They were very happy that we went to swim with them, and it was a very touching experience. We did not get to spend a lot of time at the river, though it was very nice being able to cool off, because of the YOA concert. We had to run up the 536 steps again. Jaja took a video on the way up to capture some of the beautiful scenery, and all you can hear is us gasping for air. We then practically ran through the village and made it back with little time to spare. To say that we went to the river and back in an hour is practically impossible considering we had to run up a mountain in the boiling midday sun. Getting back, we were able to listen to the YOA concert, which was very very impressive.

I really enjoyed the lessons I taught the last couple days. There was one day, when in the younger sectional, a boy came with Geti (a boy in the little band) because he had no instrument of his own. I was able to teach Geti while teaching the kid without an instrument. At the end of the lesson Geti was able to play through an entire song perfectly while the kid without an instrument clapped in rhythm and sang the solfege. This was an amazing improvement from the first few lessons, and I have seen it in Fatjel as well.

In my own playing, I was able to have lessons with the french hornist from YOA and Manny. Throughout this week I have felt my self improving. By being put in a teacher position it has definitely made myself more aware of my own playing. Having new techniques from Manny helped, as well as playing and transposing the orchestra music.

On Sunday, we had our concert. It was wonderful to see how everyone had progressed throughout the week. I was able to play in the little band, big band, and the orchestra. I really enjoyed playing in the bands for different reasons. In both the little and big band I was able to take leadership roles and play fun music. In the orchestra, I was able to play challenging music while transposing. In the concert it started thundering during our final piece, perfectly in time to our crescendos.

Last night, the other 5 MMO students arrived. It was really nice seeing everyone. We also got to go to a dance. It was really fun dancing with everyone and it was a good way for a final night.

It was really hard to say goodbye today. These last 10 days have gone by so fast. Every day has gone by super long, but the week has gone by super fast. I have had an amazing time and I wish I could stay for the rest two weeks. I could spend the entire summer at this camp. I love being able to connect across culture through music. Though I know I made a positive impact on the Haitians, I feel they have even made more of a positive impact on me. I have learned so much, and I have loved every minute spent in this country. Though Haiti may not have everything the United States has, they are incredibly rich is joy and culture. The people in Haiti have been amazing. The kids are overjoyed to be playing music, and it was such a wonderful experience being able to be apart of their learning. The volunteers at the camp are absolutely great, and it has been amazing playing and hanging with them. I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to come back.

Thanks Haiti for being awesome,

Kate

 

And we were all together again…for a night…

Group One is now in Port-au-Prince awaiting their experience with RAM! It was very hard to say good-bye as they acclimated so well over the last week. I found myself looking for them during sectionals and lessons today.
We spent yesterday morning in a very lively church service; great music, wonderful people and a very lively sermon. Sometimes you can get the gist of what someone is saying through mannerisms and tone of voice without understanding the language.
As we were waiting for lunch, we received a wonderful surprise when Group 2 including Hugh and Jim entered the building! We didn’t expect them as early in the day as they arrived! It was a short reunion though because the end of the week’s concert was at 2:00. The concert was the perfect testament to the hard work done throughout last week by students and teachers – Haitian, Spanish and American.
Group 2 has

1st Full Day

The journey through the city after we got off the plane in Haiti was breathtaking. The scenery was amazing. The vast landscape and mountains will be something that I will always remember. Driving in the city is a feat that I and many of the people I know could never accomplish. The constant passing and disorderly paths that drivers take is intense. At multiple instances I thought we would collide with another truck or get in a jam but we all made it to the place safe and sound. When we arrived at the camp I was immediately reminded of my time in South America with my family. I adore the stone steps, buildings, and the ever present geckos bring back fond memories. Today was our first day on the schedule that we’ll have for most of the week. We started off with morning prayer and breakfast then said goodbye to group 1. After that we went to sectionals and played some of the Pink Panther and Peter Gun theme. Then played with the younger kids and had some small group lessons. During a duet I discovered an small adorable green and white crab-shaped spider chilling on my hand. After a second of eye contact with it I blew it off my hand and went back to the tune. The day is not over yet and I look forward to the rest of it. I hope everyone at home is enjoying the Maine weather and that group one has a safe and speedy return home.

First Full Day in Haiti

Early Saturday morning, group 2 began their long awaited journey to Haiti. Jen, Becca and Jim met Jordan, Cole, Hugh and me at Logan. Our flight to Miami was smooth until the end where bad weather diverted our flight to West Palm Beach until better weather. As a result of landing in the afternoon, we were able to eat out for dinner, swim and get a good nights sleep.
Our flight to Haiti was very smooth. Our customs experience was easier and shorter than expected. Driving through Port Au Prince was indescribable. It was my first time experiencing the vibrance of the Haitian culture. The most surprising sight was the UN’s military presence in Haiti. Once we got to the camp, we were greeted by group 1. It was very helpful to talk with them about Haiti and their experiences, as well as some important advise.
First day of playing was exciting and very rewarding. Seeing the dedication and hard work that the campers have to music and learning was inspiring. I am adjusting well to the camp and the heat and having a great time!

Good Bye Group One

Group One left camp this morning and are headed for a night at the Oloffson hotel in PP. The kids are sad to leave camp which now feels so familiar to them. They will each bring a little of Haiti home inside of them, and they have each left a little bit of themselves behind in the hearts of the Haitian kids they have worked with and played music with.

The contacts they have made with the other professional musicians volunteering at the camp are invaluable. This is such a unique opportunity for them, especially at this impressionable time of their lives.

I’m sure when they return home they will have a “far away” look in their eyes from time to time, as they reflect on their time at music camp. There are so many parallels and discrepancies between our two cultures that it might take them awhile to process their feelings.

But there is still more in store for them in Haiti! This afternoon, they will take part in a workshop with the famous Haitian band called RAM. Later this evening they will get to hear the band perform. This band performs a mix of traditional voodoo music enhanced by keyboard and guitar. They incorporate traditional African and Haitian drum rhythms into a rock style music. “Each song has a meaning; it could be the song of a certain god, or could have spiritual significance. We love playing for a Haitian audience because they understand the music,” said the band leader, Richard. RAM has recently performed in Camden!