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Bessie A. Winn-Afeku

Bessie A. Winn-Afeku

Posted: January 25, 2010 12:18 PM

Music Beyond the Rubble

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Trapped for 18 hours under the remains of his collapsed music school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, partially blind violinist Romel Joseph relived in his mind every music piece he had ever performed over the course of his thriving musical career. Romel Joseph was educated abroad at the University of Cincinnati and the Julliard School where he studied music. He could have chosen to travel the world as he performed for the masses, but instead he chose to go back to his homeland of Haiti to teach young children music.

I was watching a segment on HLN the other day and there was a group of students from the South Miami Middle School Chamber Ensemble. These young kids came to perform a few classical pieces for Joseph at the Miami hospital to which he was medically evacuated. As I watched students perform for him during a segment, I was instantly moved buy how drawn into the music Joseph was. I could only imagine how it could have felt in his room at that very moment. By seeing his countenance you would have never known that this man had lost his pregnant wife, had severe fractures on his left hand (his playing fingers) and two broken legs. It has been said time and time again that the spirit of the Haitian people is resilient and Joseph is no exception. In fact, Joseph's story is one of the many thousand stories of the Haitian people that will be told away from the cameras and away from the reporters. These stories will be told to the children of the survivors and subsequently passed down to their children. These stories will be told in history books and in classrooms. These stories will be used as tools to empower the next generation of Haitians that will help rebuild the first free black nation in the western hemisphere.

I can only imagine what beautiful music Joseph was able to compose while buried under the rubble. Maybe we will have the opportunity to hear some of his new work now that he is on his journey to recovery.

"So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning." --Aaron Copeland
 

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