Tour Background

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Tour Background

In addition to making music, CU Winds is devoted to the exploration of music as a vehicle for cultural exchange, service, global awareness, and social change.  In doing so, students learn the value of service, and of applying their discipline’s knowledge base to address cultural and societal issues.  They realize the potential for a group to become more powerful than the sum of their individual identities.  They gain skills in communication, leadership, and collaboration, and employ those skills to engage more broadly and deeply as members of a global community.

CU Winds will embark on a service-learning tour of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  Our students have devoted time throughout the fall semester preparing for the tour, with the goals of having deepened their learning experiences, increasing their opportunities to develop lasting friendships with their international collaborators, and informing their post-tour reflection.  Activities have included lessons in French and Spanish, guest speakers, brief assigned readings, and group discussions.

In Haiti we will partner with L’Ecole de Musique Sainte Trinité (Holy Trinity School of Music).  In addition to performing together, our students will collaborate in lessons, masterclasses, and rehearsals.  The school currently maintains an enrollment of approximately 1,500 students and a teaching staff of 45 full and part-time professionals, and is located next to the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the primary church of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti, in Port-au-Prince.  Formerly located across from the Presidential Palace, the school moved into a new four-story building in November, 2009, but it was demolished two months later in the earthquake that ravaged the city.  With nothing left and many of their friends and family members killed, surviving members of the Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince decided to take to the streets and play for their community. Still in shock, the young musicians instinctively turned to what they know best; the power of music. They played to lift those in despair, honor those who had perished, and to ease the fear and anxiety of those still searching for loved ones.  Plans are underway to purchase new land and rebuild.

Holy Trinity Music School staff salvaging instruments from the wreckage, February 2010
Holy Trinity Music School staff salvaging instruments from the wreckage, February 2010

The school operates weekday afternoons and Saturdays, and includes various beginner, intermediate, and advanced bands, orchestras, and chamber ensembles.  Les Petits Chanteurs boys’ choir has become particularly well known through seven United States performances tours; the choir is planning to visit Ithaca and Cornell on October 1 & 2, 2016, in addition to numerous other cities throughout the Northeast.

In Port-au-Prince, CU Winds will be joined by members of the Yale Concert Band, directed by Thomas Duffy, and along with Holy Trinity Musicians we will perform as part of the 2017 Earthquake Commemoration.  We will then travel north to Cap-Haïtien, where we will have the incredible opportunity to perform at the Sans-Souci Palace. Approximately 17 miles south of Cap-Haïtien and five miles uphill from the town of Milot, the Palace was constructed in 1810-1813 by Henri Christoph, a key leader during the Haitian slave rebellion. Now empty, it was “one of the most magnificent edifices of the West Indies,” albeit at the cost of an unknown amount of laborers’ lives.

sans soucis2 sans souci1

Along with the nearby Citadelle Laferrière, the Palace was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site in 1982. The Citadelle is one of the largest fortresses in the Americas, built in the early 19th century to protect the newly independent nation against a possible French invasion.

citadel2 citadel1

After spending four days in Haiti, we will travel to Santo Domingo for a partnership with the Carol Morgan International School.  In addition to side-by-side experiences, masterclasses, and a public performance with the Carol Morgan High School Band, we will engage in outreach activities with local music schools and organizations.

This project would not be possible were it not for our local and international partners.  We thank the following people and institutions for their early and consistent support:

  • The Rev. Stephen Davenport
  • L’Ecole de Musique Sainte Trinité – The Rev. David Cesar, director; Bernadette Williams, assistant director
  • Carol Morgan School – Rhonda Norris, director; Cody Gifford, director of bands
  • Yale Concert Band – Thomas Duffy, director
  • UNESCO Port-au-Prince
  • Patrick Delatour, Former Haitian Minister of Tourism
  • Ronni Lacroute
  • Cornell Department of Music
  • Engaged Cornell
  • Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence

Our Mission

CU Winds unites Cornell University students who seek remarkable music making through the process of preparing and performing established and emerging wind repertoire in both large and chamber ensembles.