Friday, August 23, 2013

A Welcome Home! is all I can say because it's hard to believe that I've returned home already!  In some ways it feels like I never left and in other ways I feel like I really have been gone all year.  Regardless, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time home thus far and most of all loved getting to see everybody!  I know my family and friends were with me on my journey, but seeing everyone in person is so much better.  As I'm sure you're not surprised, I've been doing lots of exciting things since my return so here's a little update of my most recent fun-filled American adventures!

After quite a few delays, I finally got home very early in the morning on Friday, August 9.  I spent my first few days with my parents catching up with them and some American favorites I've been missing.  As you can see, I shared a great frozen treat with my Dad! 

On Sunday I made my way back to my home parish, Christ Church.  It was so fantastic to see my amazing supporting parish.  I had a great time seeing everyone (especially reactions from people since I didn't say exactly which did I would be back...surprise!)!  On Wednesday, Webster and I travelled down to Richmond to visit the Diocese of Virginia diocesan office. 

We were invited to the office for a mission luncheon for the diocesan staff to learn about mission work in Haiti.  I came to talk about my ministry from this past year in Haiti, and to talk about my future work in Cap-Haïtien.  Père Val, a Haitian priest, and his wife also joined us to talk about their work in Haiti and the partnerships that they have with the Diocese of Virginia.  A wonderful time was had by all and I was excited to meet everyone in the office.  

In my time in Winchester, I've enjoyed catching up with friends through a variety of multi-cultural events.  Last weekend I enjoyed a Celtic music concert and then the Greek festival with Bridget!  

And my time at home was not complete without a chance to share about some of my adventures through delivering the message Sunday morning for both of our services at Christ Church.  If you weren't able to catch it on Sunday, you can visit Christ Church's website to listen to it  Thank you to everyone for helping me feel so at home!  I look forward to continuing to share my stories from this past year and also preparing for this coming year!  Thank you also to my sponsors from this week Marlene Coffey and Rob & Susan Ross.  Check back in a few weeks to learn about the visitors we're getting at Christ Church...Les Petit Chanteurs, the Haitian boys choir!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grand Camp at Cange

Every year Ecole de Musique Sainte Trinité holds a three week camp for both instrumental and vocal music students.  Students come from all over Haiti, including Cap-Haïtien, Hinche, Jacmel, Port-au-Prince, and Cange to participate in this camp.  Originally it was held in Léogâne, Haiti, but was moved after the earthquake to Cange and has been held there for the past three years.  The camp is facilitated by both the teachers of Sainte Trinité and volunteers who come in from all of the world (mainly the US).  I was one of those volunteers who helped run the band program.

My travels to Cange were quite eventful (no surprise) with a tire blowout on the way there, but after a quick fix and some hysterical pictures, we eventually got to the beautiful Cange facilities.  I woke up early on my first morning to photograph the sunrise, which was totally worth it.  Later in the afternoon all of the campers arrived for camp which officially began on Monday.

Photo by John Cahill

Camp got off to a good start on Monday with band placement auditions.  Due to so many band students, we were able to have two complete bands, a beginning and an intermediate level.  Since I had worked with many of the beginning students throughout the year, I opted to assist with the intermediate band.  The average day for our intermediate band students included sectionals, theory class, and large ensemble rehearsals.  

Photo by John Cahill

As it was throughout the school year, I was the resident piccolo player.  I played with both the band and also with the orchestra, which had rehearsals in the evening.  And I must admit, I was pretty excited because I had some pretty fantastic piccolo repertoire that I got to play throughout the three weeks of camp!

Funniest moment of camp was the day I locked my roommate, Guerlyn and myself out of our room.  Thanks to the help from the group of high school students from Maine, we completely removed the door to get into our room.  I think this might be one of the few cases where breaking and entering is acceptable!

During the second week, I helped conduct the intermediate band.  I chose a fun Latin medley for the band to play.  Not only did the students sound great and had a fun time playing it, but I also was able to feature two of the wonderful musicians in the group.  I'm not a huge fan of conducting full ensembles, however I truly loved the opportunity to work and connect with the whole group.

My final week of camp was spent playing more than teaching.  It was nice break to be just a musician for the week.  As much as I love making music, my favorite part of camp was all of the moments spent with my Haitian friends one last time before heading home to the states.  A big thank you to all of the sponsors of the past few weeks including John & Mym Applin, Charlene Romano, and Roger & Helen Zebarth.  Camp flew by and it's really hard to believe that I'm now back in the states!  Check back later this week for an update on the excitement I've had upon returning to the US!