“When I traveled to Haiti in November 2015 and met the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) team I had no idea what to expect. My experience was like nothing else I have ever encountered. I left Haiti a changed man and musician.
The purpose of my presence in Haiti was to assess the possibility of bringing formal music education to students who attend ABF and Saint Luc schools. There was a lot of preparation the happened before my arrival and I am so grateful for those efforts. The ABF and Saint Luc team assembled about one hundred children in the auditorium located near Villa Francesca.
From the moment I stepped in the room, I knew that we were about to embark on something very special and meaningful. As I entered the auditorium, the children sat in silence. There was an excitement that pierced through the hot humid air. They stood up and greeted me politely and I launched into my lesson plan. I used all of the techniques, conventions, and philosophies that have helped me develop successful children’s choir programs in the United States. In addition, to several vocalizes and movement games, I shared a beautiful round called “Jubilate Deo.” In my elementary French, I shared my expectations regarding posture, mouth position and resonance. We only worked together for a few short hours, but you will note that much was accomplished. The first meeting established that the children possess wonderful singing talent and huge potential for excellence.
It is evident that the team in place in Haiti is very dedicated and collaborative. Every adult and teacher greeted me with warmth and assisted me with anything that I needed. A program can only be successful if there is adequate support and enthusiasm; I certainly witnessed all of these traits.
When I returned to New York City, I was rejuvenated and full of energy. I entered my rehearsals with new expectation and inspiration. The children that I worked with in Haiti face poverty, hunger, and so many other obstacles—yet, they were able to lift their voices so expertly after a few hours. I look at my experience in Haiti and reflect on my life and experiences with thanks. I am delighted that ABF is supporting this program. The passion and devotion that I observed from the ABF team inspired me to commit to the program. Mr. Bocelli’s commitment to musical excellence has been noted for decades and it is fitting that ABF bring music the children of Haiti.“
Malcolm J. Merriweather