Monday, November 26, 2012

So Very Much To Be Thankful For

As a little tribute to Thanksgiving this past week, I must say there is so much to be thankful for this year.  First of all a thank you to my sponsor from two weeks ago, Kay Keely.  Then, special thank you to Yvonne and Donald Bingaman, my parents who sponsored me during the holiday!  

Every time I think things cannot get any busier, they do and it's hard to believe that I've been here for almost three months already.  I'm ever grateful to God for this opportunity to serve here and slowly I'm seeing how my work is impacting the lives around me.  

I love teaching the younger primary students, since it's wonderful knowing they are the next generation of musicians.  However, I'm finding an even greater joy being able to teach the teachers of the school.  It's through these lessons that I feel I'm really helping the school in the long-term.  By helping the teachers become stronger, more intuitive musicians, I am in turn giving them new tools for their teaching.  One of the teachers put it so well to me, "In Haiti it is not easy to become a great musician, the fight is hard and the road is so long.  That is why I really appreciate you coming here and sharing your knowledge with us.  You have education in music which is so important for an instrumentalist."  

Another thing I'm thankful for is all the prayers and support that are coming from home.  This past week I received mail again, but this time from my parish office!  Loved the card, but more so I loved hearing from you all.

Although it was hard to be away from home, family, and friends for this holiday, I'm grateful for the new friends and family I've been blessed with this year.  God always provides and this year I was able to spend Thanksgiving with two wonderful missionary families.  The food was delicious and the time shared together was even better!

Now a big thank you to God for all the smiles and laughter that surround my life here in Haiti.  No day goes by without something that leaves me laughing hysterically.  As you can see one of the incidents that happened on Thanksgiving was another prime example of this...yes that is my doorknob that I'm holding.  The best part of this particular incident was when we had to "knife" into my room so I could get my instrument for rehearsal.  Never a dull moment!

And as you can see part of the reason things have been crazy is because we had our first concert of the year!  We had extra rehearsals all week to prepare and gave a really fantastic performance this evening at the Karibe Hotel in Port-au-Prince.  We performed some wonderful Tchaikovsky pieces, a Bach fugue, and two beautiful violin concertos featuring soloist Nicholas Kitchen from the United States.   

I'm thankful for getting to share music alongside all of my new friends here at my first concert in Haiti.  It was a fun evening and I'm looking forward to the next concert in December, but part of that might be because I love playing Christmas music so much!

So as I said to begin this post, there is so very much to be thankful for (and I just skimmed the surface!).  This week has another adventure in store, so stay tuned for an update next weekend!  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Celebrate Good Times!

These past few weeks have been busy!  Now that school is in full swing, I'm spending my days teaching quite a bit.  I help teaching the students at the primary school and have thirteen private students, and am loving every minute of it!  Beyond the regular school schedule, there's been a lot of different celebrations going on. 

On Sunday, October 28, Saint Jacques, the Episcopal church where I attend services, celebrated their anniversary.  The celebration included a joint English and French service with Episcopal and Anglican priests from all over Haiti in attendance.  Bishop Duracin was also there to celebrate St. Jacques in this special time.  

The service was complete with musical offerings from the Boys Choir from Holy Trinity Music School, the chamber orchestra (which I played with) and the Children's Choir from the congregation.  After the service, everyone met for a feast of Haitian treats including pumpkin soup and cake!  It was beautiful to see the community gather for this special day!

Here in Haiti we also just had two holidays on November 1 and 2, which meant no school!  On November 1st we celebrated All Saints Day and on the 2nd the Day of the Dead.  To celebrate the Day of the Day, we attended a RAM concert.  RAM is a very popular Haitian band that plays a type of music called rasin.

The music is up-beat and so much fun to listen to!  My favorite part of their music are these long hand-made horns that are played called korne which you can see in my picture.  If you'd like to hear a little bit of RAM for yourself, I've included a link to a recording of their music:

Another highlight of these past few weeks was attending my first Haitian soccer game.  Soccer in the favorite sport here and a big part of Haitian culture.  Everyone watches it and many love to play it.  Even on holidays you can find streets blocked off for a game of the local people.  The game I attended was a team from the Episcopal church (we're in the black uniforms) versus a team from the Catholic church.  

I'm very sad to say, that unfortunately the Episcopalians did not win.  Maybe next time, but it was great being able to experience a game firsthand! 

Times are about to get busier too as we prepare for our first concert.  Next week is filled with extra sectionals and rehearsals.  More to come about all of that!  And a thank you to the following people for sponsoring me these past few weeks Dino and Carolyn Morgoglione, Bill and Sue Jarvis, and Jim and Diedra Kriewald!