Sunday, October 7, 2012

First Week of School

As I mentioned last week, school started here in Haiti this past Monday.  Although classes for the School of Music don’t actually begin till October 8th, I still had a week full of excitement.  

On Wednesday, I was told I would be assisting with an instrument demonstration for the third graders of Holy Trinity School.  The purpose of the demonstration was to introduce each of the instruments to help aid the students in their instrument choice.  I was in charge of showing off the woodwinds (flute, clarinet, and oboe).  Let’s just say my rendition of Hot Cross Buns was really quite moving on the clarinet and oboe.  Therefore I’m pretty sure flute is going to be the hit this year since I could actually demonstrate that one!  

After my portion of the demo, I had a wonderful time visiting with the students.  What I loved the most is that the children don’t quite understand the concept that I’m still learning to speak Creole.  They think that if you speak louder, faster and all at once in a large group that somehow I will magically understand.  I had a really good laugh and thankfully photo is the same word in both languages, so the kids had a good time taking pictures with me.

On Thursday morning, Kelsey and I picked up some of the instruments lying around the office of Holy Trinity and improvised a plethora of tunes.  This picture highlights one of the things I really love about Haiti.  As you wait for rehearsals, transportation, etc., there are many moments for spontaneous creativity and fellowship.  We truly entertained with our music and brought many a smile to the visitors of the school that morning. 

The rest of Thursday was spent getting ready for a performance that the beginning instrumental students were giving on Friday morning.  The students had been asked to give a small demonstration to Albert Ramdin, the Assistant  Secretary General of the Organization of American States, who was making a visit to Haiti.  

After the performance he gave a short speech to the students and visited with them.  Although it was a brief concert, you could tell that the students enjoyed performing and getting to share their music.     

Another highlight of this week is that I received my first piece of mail!  Thank you 815 staff for the card; it definitely brought a smile to my day! 

Today, Kelsey and I were invited to Willys and Suzette’s (fellow parishioners from St. Jacques) house for lunch.  They live up the mountains from Pétionville and the scenery was gorgeous.  Many people in area live off the food that they grow.  The hillsides were a beautiful patchwork of greens and golds with different foods for harvesting.  

After a delicious lunch, Suzette had one of the local people stop by to meet us.  His name is Louis and he is a blind musician here in the mountains.  He is often found singing along his walks up and down the country road.  Louis kindly gave us a mini-concert singing contemporary Christian songs, Haitian hymns, and even a piece that he had written himself.  His songs brought tears to my eyes as he so passionately sang to us; music is his world and his love for it was radiating.  

We eventually had to make our way back down to Pétionville, but not without a few stops for a few more pictures (the house with the red roof is where Willys and Suzette live).  It was a wonderful way to end a week of laughter, community, and new friendships.    

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