Sunday, November 29, 2009

Yelé Haiti, Wyclef Jean, OAS & École de Musique Sainte Trinité Launch 'Youth Orchestra of Haiti'

[TOP: Ann Victor, a 21-year-old cellist who was among those taking the training to be instructors in the new Youth Orchestra of Haiti, is shown here with a young pupil. Ann also performed in the concert. Photo credit: Yéle Haiti/Sebastian Petion. BOTTOM: Youth Orchestra of Haiti (Photo from]

Classical Music has been part of the culture of Haiti throughout the existence of the Republic. presents the lives and music of four Haitian Classical Composers: Justin Elie, Occide Jeanty, Ludovic Lamothe and Julio Racine (b. 1945). The "École de Musique Sainte Trinité", or "Holy Trinity Music School" is an Episcopal School in Port-au-Prince. The Organization of American States (OAS) is made up of 35 member nations in the Western Hemisphere. Its website explains the initiative which resulted in the first concert of the “Youth Orchestra of Haiti” in Port-au-Prince on November 1, 2009:
Music for social change: underprivileged children interpret the great classics
Children and youth from underprivileged neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, interpreted some of the great compositions of Classical music and Haitian folk music arrangements alongside professional musicians Sunday in the third and final concert of a new regional initiative led by the Organization of American States and Haiti to prevent youth violence and reduce school drop out rates in the Caribbean.”

“Haitian musicians were accompanied by members of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Haiti, the 'Petits Chanteurs of St. Trinité' and a multinational group of guest musicians from Argentina, Colombia and Brazil. 'Unlike more traditional ways of teaching children music, in this program we take children and youth with zero knowledge of musical instruments and expose them to an intensive training program, engaging them emotionally and motivating them with the possibility of performing live concerts,' said Andrés Navia, Senior Program Specialist with the OAS's Department of Cultural Affairs.

Yelé Haiti, a grassroots movement founded by the Grammy Award-winning musician Wyclef Jean, partnered with the OAS and the École de Musique Sainte Trinité to create the Youth Orchestra of Haiti, provided some funding and will be a channel by which people can make earmark contributions to the Orchestra. 'We are delighted to be partnering with the École de Musique Sainte Trinité and the OAS to create the Youth Orchestra of Haiti,' said Hugh Locke, President of Yelé Haiti. 'Our interest is in seeing how music can be used in support of development, and we do this already through many of our programs. This is one more means by which we can contribute to this tradition.' Locke also said Classical music can be a strong foundation to any aspiring musician. 'Our founder Wyclef Jean, his training is as a classical musician and he has always recommended it to young musicians regardless of the genre they intend to pursue,' he said.”

“The first and second concerts of this series were performed on October 11 in Castries, Saint Lucia, and on October 23 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Port-au-Prince concert was performed in the Salle St. Cecile of the École de Musique Sainte Trinité and featured the work of composers Vivaldi, Villalobos, Holst, as well as Haitian Folk arrangements.”

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