As soon as I walked into the music hall in Port Au Prince, I knew that this rehearsal would be unlike any other I’ve experienced with CU Winds. Our combined size must have tripled our number. There were kids of all ages playing instruments or singing in the choir, and none of us had ever played with any of them. We didn’t speak the same language, eat the same food, nor did we live the same lifestyles. It seemed the only thing we had in common was our music that we had been practicing separately, and yet that was enough to bring us together within the first 15 minutes of our arrival. By the time the rehearsal was over, I had become acquainted with the Haitian trumpeters on either side of me, and even though we couldn’t speak a common language, I could tell that they were as excited as I was after our first successful rehearsal. After the rehearsal was over, they non-verbally invited us to join them for some informal jamming tomorrow, and I really hope we can make it (you never know with the traffic here though!). Until then, I’m going to practice some creole so that I can ask the Haitian musicians a little bit about their lives outside of rehearsal. Wish me luck!


–Avram Pinals, trumpet