While this was a summer of discontent in Haiti with massive demonstrations arising from an overnight 38% to 51% price hike on gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuels, intrepid music students, teachers and volunteers from Haiti and around the world have gathered to teach in summer camps throughout the country. As the Holy Trinity Music School staff put it, "Cho pa cho, kan an koumanse" - hot or not (referring to the demonstrations), camp has begun!
I can't tell you how much all of us here at BLUME Haiti appreciate the outpouring of support that enabled us to feed and house 120 students for four additional days at the Cemuchca Institute of Music camp in Cap Haitian until they were able to return to their homes or to go on with me to the Holy Trinity camp in Corporant. One of the things that keeps me coming back to Haiti every year is the intense desire of musicians here to learn. In spite of the many political challenges and natural disasters facing Haiti, there is a very strong drive on the part of the students, teachers and program administrators to continue to work, to continue to strive to create beauty for themselves and for others to enjoy. The progress students are able to make in two or three short weeks of camp (for many, one of the very few opportunities they will have to get lessons throughout the year), is astounding!
BLUME Haiti board members taught in nine different camps in Haiti this summer from Cap Haitian in the north, to Jacmel in the south with Corporant, Carrefour, Gonaives, Mirebales, Croix-des-Bouquets and Marmelade in between. Thanks to our generous supporters, BLUME Haiti has been able to offer over 100 scholarships this summer, enabling teachers and students from music programs across the country to take advantage of lessons and pedagogy sessions with an international group of seasoned teachers and performers.
From Cemuchca in Cap Haitian where we focused on scholarships to woodwind players (students and teachers) to take advantage of the TradeWind Ensemble's three-week residency, to the Holy Trinity camp in Corporant where we continued to support wind players and added string pedagogy students to the mix, to the Dessaix-Baptiste camp in Jacmel where the focus we added jazz band to the curriculum, your support makes a real difference in the lives of so many Haitian teachers and students. The "ripple effect" is tangible here. If we can help a musician develop their teaching skills, that one person will go on to have an impact on all of their students and, since even the younger students at the music camps are often teaching assistants in their home programs, if we multiply the number of scholarships we are able to give by the number of other students each individual is able to reach, the impact becomes clear.
To close, a note from the end of July where I had a brief moment of repose, writing from Croix-des-Bouquets where I spent a week teaching at the Ambassador's Music Institute summer music camp. The working day was over, and I was on the roof of a friend's house, enjoying an icy cold Prestige (Haiti's awarding winning beer), watching the sun set and taking in the sights and sounds of a bustling day winding down. The pigs, goats and chickens in the empty lot next door were also preparing to turn in. Moments of relative quite like this are to be treasured and help us recover from the full day of work just past and to gear up for the day to come.
We here at BLUME Haiti, and the teachers, students and staff at our partner schools, are tremendously grateful for your support. Thank you for helping us make the powerful and transformational experience of music education more accessible to young Haitian musicians!
This summer BLUME Haiti board members will teach in 6 or 7 music camps located throughout Haiti. Though as an organization we do not sponsor volunteer teachers ourselves, we are always delighted to share the experience of teaching in Haiti with people from all over the world! And, though we do not “have” any music schools in Haiti, we do work together with partner programs in Haiti and internationally. In fact, one of our most important contributions to developing music education in Haiti comes in the form of making continued professional development available for Haitian teachers and students.
This summer we will provide close to 100 scholarships to enable teachers and students to work with master teachers from the United States, Canada and Europe. We have partnered, for example, with the Trade Winds Ensemble will be at the Cemuchca Institute of Music summer camp and who, in addition to performing, will give intensive pedagogy workshops on each of their instruments. The Global Leaders Program has sent many of their Fellows to Haiti in partnership with us over the past three years. Working with the United Kingdom branch of the Belgium based organization Luthiers without Borders, we will offer scholarships to string instrument repair students from across the country. Thanks to our combined efforts, remarkably, almost every program with string instruments now has someone able to maintain the stock of instruments!
Almost all of our partner schools will summer programs for their students – what a change this is from when our board members first started volunteering in music camps!
Here is a partial list of music programs in Haiti offering summer camps:
CEMUCHCA Institute of Music – Cap Haitian
We are happy to report that the 2nd Annual Haitian National Orchestra Institute was a great success! Over 100 Haitian musicians from around the country came together for a week of intensive rehearsal culminating in a concert on April 3 conducted by UTAH Symphony Director Thierry Fischer. Below is a snippet of the fabulous concert. Many thanks to Musicians of the Utah Symphony for your partnership in this effort! Keep an eye out for our spring newsletter for a full report on the Institute. Not on our newsletter list yet? Sign up here.
BLUME Haiti board members Janet Anthony and Scott Harrison head to Cap-Haïtien on March 26-30, 2018 for the second National Orchestra Institute, presented by BLUME Haiti in collaboration with the Musicians of the Utah Symphony. The first Institute, held last March at the Dessaix-Baptiste Music School in Jacmel, was an unprecedented gathering of over 100 of Haiti’s finest young musicians from 19 schools, the first such national convening of orchestral musicians. After the final concert, planning immediately began for this second installment, which will be hosted by CEMUCHCA, one of BLUME Haiti’s longstanding partner schools.
This year 17 Utah Symphony musicians return, plus colleagues from the Cleveland Orchestra and Youngstown Symphony, for coaching and masterclasses, with orchestral rehearsals and the final concert once again led by the Utah Symphony’s music director, renowned Swiss conductor Thierry Fischer. Two Salt Lake City-based luthiers will provide string repair training, Haitian conductor Pierre Leroy will assist, and Harrison will lead arts administration seminars to round out the instruction. The final concert will be held on Friday, March 30 at the Haitian Evangelical Church in Cap-Haïtien, with a program featuring Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony and more.
The Institute was envisioned by Utah Symphony cellist John Eckstein after he and his Symphony colleagues Yuki MacQueen and James Hall joined Anthony for a summer of teaching in 2016 at the Holy Trinity Music School summer camp in Cange, a trip that inspired him to work with BLUME to create the first Institute. “We are all excited to continue the work we started in 2017” said Eckstein. “The students were selected by audition this year because of high demand, and will include many participants from last year as well as some new faces. Our goal is to create an opportunity that hasn't previously been available in Haiti, and that is worthy of their talent and dedication. It is an honor to help them.”
“Music is a key pillar of cultural expression in Haiti; indeed, we have seen over and over again the transformative power of music and know what an impact the Haitian National Orchestra Institute will have on the lives of the participants,” said Anthony. “It is an honor for BLUME Haiti to partner with the Utah Symphony and our Haitian colleagues, as we work together to create an opportunity to transform young lives, to do our part to offer the possibility of change in the life trajectories of our Haitian students.”
Visit our donation page to make a gift in support of the National Orchestra Institute and all of BLUME Haiti’s music education efforts throughout Haiti.
2017 numbers are in and wow, we are BLOWN AWAY! With your support, between Thanksgiving and Dec. 31, BLUME Haiti recieved $17,514 in donations. This sets a record for our organization!
To everyone who made a gift, whether for GivingTuesday, our Keys for Haiti campaign, or our request for scholarships, THANK YOU. You "showed up" to support Haitians who are using music to make a difference in their communities and we are so grateful to you.Thank you for beleiving in us and trusting us to do good work with your donation. We are so excited to see what we can accomplish together in 2018!
BLUME Haiti invites you to be a part of our goal to raise $3,500 to provide 35 additional scholarships to deserving Haitian musicians to attend a summer music camp. Last year, with your help, BLUME Haiti provided 65 scholarships, but we know greater need exists. Our goal is to provide 100 scholarships in total this summer.
So far generous people like you have contributed $1,300 towards this goal. Will you be the next donor to make a difference? Click here to donate or learn more.
Last week on #GivingTuesday we launched our 2nd Annual Keys for Haiti campaign. Our goal was to reach $4,000 in new and increased donations to be matched by our board. Amazingly, we reached our goal in ONE DAY!!! Can you believe it? We never thought this would happen!
We are so touched by this incredible display of support for music education in Haiti.
In total, on #GivingTuesday
THANK YOU to each and every one of you who donated to make this possible.
As many of you know, the Gates Foundation also provided matching gifts up to $2 million on #GivingTuesday. We are very hopeful that BLUME Haiti will receive some of this matching money, but we will not find out for several weeks. Thank you to everyone who donated early to help us take advantage of that opportunity.
Your generosity inspires us to continue to find new and innovative ways to support young musicians in Haiti. To that end, and to provide an opportunity for people who didn’t get a chance to donate to Keys for Haiti, we’ve set another goal. We would like to raise $3,500 by Dec. 31 to provide 35 scholarships to deserving Haitian musicians to attend a summer music camp.
Many Haitians struggle to afford their basic daily needs of food, water, and shelter, let alone pay to send their child to music camp. There is always more need for scholarships than we are able to meet, yet we know that the 2-3 weeks scholarship recipients spend at camp, where they can be totally focused on music, allows them to progress by leaps and bounds. In many cases, the training they receive at camp gives them the skills to begin teaching and earn their livelihood . Won’t you help us provide this experience for another Haitian student or teacher? Donate now.
The cost is $100 per scholarship which covers tuition, room and board. Your gift will change lives and now is the time to make a difference! Donate any amount between now and Dec. 31 and we will direct it to music camp scholarships.
We’ll leave it to these testimonials from past recipients to answer that question.
Anne, a violinist from Jacmel said:
“I thank you for having made possible my blossoming in the domain of music during these three weeks. For me, a young musician, it was an experience that gave me an even larger vision of the possibilities with music. These types of experiences I will relive my entire life.”
Similinen , a violist from Marmelade said:
"It is not an “easy” thing for people to be able to have the same privilege [of participating in a summer music camp] each year but, with BLUME Haiti it has become easier for musicians in the entire country. It is thanks to them that classical music is evolving in the country. With more help, we will have more of a future in music in my country. Long live music!"
Ricardo, a percussionist from Jacmel said:
“I spent three weeks working, practicing, playing great music. I made enormous progress as much in [music] theory as in practice. Even if I have not yet achieved my goals, I will work even more so as to get there.”
Make a tax-deductible donation today to help BLUME Haiti provide scholarships for deserving Haitian musicians who would not otherwise have the opportunity.
We are kicking off our Keys for Haiti Matching Gift Campaign on #GivingTuesday, November 28, 2017. Our very generous board members have increased the amount they are able to give to match all new and increased donations up to $4,000 through December 31st!
Please join us in supporting a good cause by making a generous donation to BLUME Haiti. Your contribution will make an impact, whether you donate $5 or $100.
On Giving Tuesday itself, starting at 12am Eastern, Facebook will waive all donation fees for 24hrs which means 100% of your gift will go directly to BLUME Haiti!
ALSO, starting at 8AM Eastern (7AM Central, 6AM Mountain and 5AM Pacific) the Gates Foundation will be MATCHING up to $2 million in donations made via Facebook. Because all new and increased gifts given during this campaign are also being matched by BLUME Board members, up to $4,000, for Tuesday, November 28 only, we have a double-match, triple-donation scenario... please consider giving anything you can if you would like to support this great cause.
Click here to donate via Facebook on GivingTuesday
(Click here to donate via Paypal after Nov. 29)
We know first-hand the transformative difference music education makes in the lives of so many children and adults in Haiti and we encourage that as much as possible through pedagogical support, scholarship support, providing instruments, music and supplies, partnering with Haitian and international organizations and more. Thank you for your support!
Learn more about Keys For Haiti.
Click here to read about this past summer's music camp activity, our new board member Sarah Davies Breen, Haitian violinist Kenell Joseph's residency at the South Carolina Governor's School, and more!
Planning for the 2018 edition of the National Orchestra Institute is well underway with repertoire selection to be announced shortly. With help from the Cemuchca Institute of Music, our partner school in Cap Haitian, we have been able to secure a beautiful campus for the group at the Fondation Vincent, Salesiens de Don Bosco. As was the case at the first National Institute for Orchestra in Jacmel, we expect to see about 100 musicians, 5 luthiers and 3-5 arts administrators take part in this exciting event scheduled for March 25-31.
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