Several months ago, Haiti Youth Orchestra announced an exciting partnership with Global Pedagogy Initiative, an American non-profit run by Meredith Blecha-Wells, and Kasia Bugaj that focuses on mentoring and training young musicians to become music teachers themselves. Kasia and Meredith just returned from an enormously successful maiden voyage to Mirebalais to work with Haiti Youth Orchestra! Guided by Road to Hope founder, Rich Harris, the two American musicians spent several days conducting the orchestra, and giving students tips and techniques that will hopefully enable them to teach the younger students in both orchestras. Very exciting! Many thanks for all your hard work, Meredith and Kasia!
Nearly six years ago, I founded the Haiti Youth Orchestra from my first donation of 8 string instruments through Viva Suzuki. Since then, HYO has grown to a full orchestra, including more than 80 instruments, and more then 150 students in the music program. HYO now travels Haiti, playing at weddings, schools, funeral and church services and more. I have been blown away by the immense amount of support I’ve received at home, such as the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, as well as the undying passion for music that is in each and every aspiring musician in HYO.
I started HYO because I saw a real need for music in a classical setting in Haitian culture. The amazing people are so musically gifted due to the deep appreciation of music in the culture, and yet, nearly none of them know what a ‘violin’, or a ‘symphony orchestra’ is. Because of this, I felt it was important to give them the recourses they needed to deepen their appreciation of music through orchestral music.
As the years pass, we hope to continue development of HYO’s second orchestra, St. Martin, and further our partnership with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
So, I say thank you to all of our supporters like CSO, our donors, and most importantly, to all of the amazing kids of HYO!
Another incredibly successful trip with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra! Pictures below are from the grand concert, with the orchestra players preforming for the local community. The progress that the orchestra made just this week was incredible. We are also excited to welcome Peter, Lovelie, David, and Fencia to Colorado this next December to work with the CSO again! Thank you to Abby, Helen, and Paul from the CSO and Anna, our apprentice, for another great HYO music camp!
We have exciting news to share: Today, the Haiti Youth Orchestra expanded to two locations!!! We visited St. Martin’s school in Port-au-Prince to distribute about 10 instruments and supplies, and we introduced some eager Haitian students to music by teaching clinics and lessons just as we did 5 years ago at St. Pierre in Mirebalais. St. Martin’s school is run by our good friend Pére Jeannot who was key in creating the St. Pierre orchestra in Mirebalais. Pére Jeannot told the young students: “With hard work and dedication to music, one day St. Martins orchestra will reach the level of St. Pierre Orchestra!”
Today was the first full day of activities at The Haiti Youth Orchestra Music Camp. The three returning Colorado Symphony Orchestra members were all very impressed by their students’ progress. While there are plenty of familiar faces, there are also many new students that have started studying music because they now have access to instruments. Exciting progress already, can’t wait to see how to rest of the week shapes up!
Just beginning the second trip with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. On this trip, the same 3 CSO members (Helen McDermott-Violin, Paul Naslund-Trombone, and Abby Raymond-Clarinet) along with our first “apprentice”, a college student, are traveling to Haiti. We are bringing 14 instruments, including 2 saxophones, a trombone, a clarinet, 5 violins, 2 Viola’s and 2 flutes. These donations were coordinated by CSO, given by flesher Hinton and golden Music. There are also over 150 instructional books. Additionally, we will be providing 5 instruments to a new school in Port at Prince, the school Pere Joseph Jeannot works at. This will be the first instruments for the second orchestra!
As we near the 5th Anniversary of HYO, the orchestra and St. Pierre School have many exciting things going on. First, the images you see are our brand new official orchestra uniforms. The students, as you can see, are quite proud to have their own uniform to show their pride for their orchestra.
We recently announced our collaboration with The Global Pedagogy Institute, and are excited to announce that two representatives from The Global Pedagogy Institute will be visiting HYO in the fall.
We are nearing the second annual Colorado Symphony Orchestra hosted music camp that will take place in July. There will be 4 members of CSO traveling to Haiti at this time to work extensively with the orchestra over the course of a week. We expect great things to come out of this camp.