Thanks to the efforts of the Fanfare leader, Abner Achoule, and his brother Fednor who are teaching youth to play instruments, there is now a Beginner Band in Deschapelles. They are using the technique books, stands and musical instruments all donated by individuals and the Musical Fraternity’s SAI People to People program. They have performed for us several times and they are very impressive.
Music Project History
On this page, you'll find regular updates on our Music Program.
We have been very fortunate to be able to bring down requested instruments to the members of the Deschapelles Fanfare Band, thanks to generous contributions from here in Essex, and Sigma Alpha Iota’s People to People Program’s continued support to both pay for and receive contributions of needed instruments. Each member of the band now has a wonderful instrument, and their playing is better than ever. In November 2012, I met with Abner Achoule, director of the Fanfare Band. He informed me that there are now 17 students from 7 years old to mid 20’s who are taking lessons from different members of the Fanfare Band. He had a list of the students and the instruments that were needed. Some were available from our previous contributions, but I realized it would be a stretch to gather up all the additional ones, especially two baritone horns and a tenor sax. At that point most of the students would take a lesson using the existing instrument of the teacher and only be able to play at that time. The very next day, in Haiti, I received an email from Liana Valente with a list of instruments that one of the branches of SAI had collected to donate to the outreach program. Every single one was on the list Abner had asked for. We had to purchase a few other instruments which were paid for by SAI, and now each student will have the instrument of his or her choice and be able to practice to his or her heart’s desire. In addition, a young man, Castillo Saint-Armand who had been taking clarinet lessons for about a year came to play two pieces for me – He has become an accomplished musician within one year, and as he so aptly stated, “I just love the clarinet.”
A section of the Fanfare Band rehearsed and played for the “graduation” ceremony of Ecole Flamboyant, one of our EETT participating schools. Logan Floyd, an Essex resident who just graduated from high school, who traveled with us, had a chance to show them different “styles” of music from tapes he had. The Deschapelles musicians would like very much to have us come back and do a Music Workshop similar to the one we did a year ago. There are several requests for additional instruments.
The musicians had an opportunity to play for Sister Cities Essex Haiti Board member, Bob Lamothe, when he was visiting Deschapelles with a group form Yale University as part of a 5-year project of the Yale School of Forestry and Public Health. Bob is an accomplished musician and he and his Band provided the lively entertainment at the Have a Heart for Haitifundraiser on March 2, 2012. He was impressed with their musicianship and looks forward to returning to Deschapelles and being able to spend more time playing with them and expanding their “styles.”
During my visit to Deschapelles, April 1-14, I did not have a chance to visit with the musicians as I was primarily involved with the initiation of the Early Education Teacher Training program. But I did have a wonderful afternoon with Castillo St. Armand who has begun clarinet lessons. We played pieces together from the technique book I brought with me. As the hour progressed, we played some of the duets in the book. He is making very good progress, and he wanted especially to conquer the incidentals so he could begin to play jazz. Although there are no definite plans yet for a future trip, they are eager to continue our collaboration with the opportunity to play as a group under the direction of Maestro Paddy (Hurley), with the opportunity to work with musicians who are facile in playing by ear, with the expansion of their existing skills venturing into jazz, bosso nova, blues and salsa.
By: Jenifer Grant
One of my missions on my recent trip to Deschapelles (Oct 16-Oct 22, 2011) was to meet with the Deschapelles Fanfare Band. A newly formed SCEH Music Committee realized that we had not had the opportunity to sit down with the Band following the concert, and we wanted to get more information from them, in order to continue to be better collaborators.
It was my great pleasure to meet with them all for about an hour when I had a chance to ask questions and also listen to their desires.
The instruments we bring belong to ODES. The musicians must sign a contract acknowledging that ownership and agree to be good custodians of the instruments. If anyone ceases to be a member of the band or if they leave Deschapelles, the instrument will be returned to ODES. This assures that the Deschapelles Fanfare Band will always have instruments for their band even if the players go elsewhere. I had the pleasure of reviewing the contract, which a committee of three had drafted.
How did they learn to play? Most had had some instruction in either a music school or in school itself or from someone who played the instrument and was willing to teach.
How did they learn their songs? They learn them by listening to other Fanfare Bands, but mostly by solvege, Leonce Pierrestyle, a talented trombonist, is able to write the notes down when he hears a song and then the others can play the song in their key. They practice as a group and say the practice daily.
Acknowledging our respect for their talent, I asked them “where they wanted to go” with their music and how we could help them. They are are all eager to improve their individual skills. What they would really like to do is to broaden their styles, which would put them a step or two above other Fanfare Bands; Salsa, Bossa Nova, Blues and Jazz.
They would love to have a guest artist come to play and then follow with discussions. And they liked the idea of inviting other Fanfare Bands to come to Deschapelles to have a Fanfare Jamboree,
They asked me to express their deep gratitude to all those responsible for the collaboration and requested that we continue to collaborate.