Happy New Year! Stephen and I have recently returned from our first shoot in Haiti and we're back for another term at Lawrence University, excited to begin the next phase of our work.
We were in Haiti from Thanksgiving until December 22, made it home just in time for Christmas. The trip was amazing, and we got a lot accomplished. We stayed in the guest house at the Holy Trinity School in Port-au-Prince.There are three schools within the compound, a primary school, a trade school, and a music school, where we spent most of our time. The children from the primary school were fun though. Every morning, we woke up to the sound of hundreds of elementary kids screaming the alphabet in French. It was Stephen's first time in Haiti. He worked very hard to learn Haitian Creole while we were there taking creole lessons once a day from a good friend of ours Jean Remi. We gave lessons almost daily and I taught a theory class. I also spent a lot of time preparing for the cello festival organized by Professor Janet Anthony, the woman responsible for bringing so many volunteers to Haiti, and for keeping us safe. One of the highlights of the trip for me was getting to play the third and fourth movements of the Menotti sonata for two cellos and piano with Professor Anthony and distinguished conductor and pianist Steve Huang. The cello festival was a lot of fun and so was the Christmas concert, a celebration of Mendelssohn.
Another highlight was getting to travel to several smaller music programs around the country. We visited schools in La Pleine, Cite Soleil, Croix-des-Bouquets, Jacmel and Cap-Haitien. I'd been mostly in Leogane and Jacmel on previous trips, and as we traveled I felt I was getting a better idea of Haiti as a whole. Different towns have different feels, dialects, looks, temperatures. Cap-Haitien is full of mosquitoes (who have a particular taste for Professor Anthony) but it has wonderful cool breezes at night. And I'm used to being in Haiti in the summer, but Christmastime in Haiti is really special. But each place we went, we worked with wonderful people, and saw music working is magic. And of course this whole time we were filming. We did a lot of interviews, including Jeanne Pocius, Steve Huang, Bernadette Williams, Dorve Carlot, Mackelder Saintilus, members of CEMUSHKA, Nicole St. Victor, and many more.
We also got invited to play a peice and be interveiwed on Haitian national television. We were promoting the cello festival. This was a bit scary, and they made us wear a ridiculous amount of make-up, but it was cool. Stephen and I played with a konpa band called Zanmi (really awesome group of guys) at a club in Port-au-Prince. When we were in Cap-Haitian we adventured over to the Citadelle, a Haiti's 8th wonder of the world. It is a fort built in the early 1800s after Haiti declared independence. This was an amazing day trip I will never forget.
I feel like there is so much more to say, it was quite an eventful trip, but given the length of this entry I guess we'll just have to save the rest for the film. There are production photos from this shoot on the website, please check them out, and if you are interested there was an article in the Appleton Post-Crescent that I will post in another entry.
As for now we will continue fundraising and grant-writing, and we're looking forward to editing the footage we've compiled. We'll keep you updated, thanks for your support!