Music is the light in our soul that makes all our senses feel in harmony with nature and makes us alive every single moment we remember our existence in this world. Music gracefully wakes up our system and lets us develop brilliant thoughts and skills at our best. ABF is introducing music to the 30 schools supported by the St. Luc Fondation to let the students approach art and culture, and to grow in harmony whilst having opportunities to perform. Furthermore, because all the students come from poor economic and social backgrounds, through music they have been able to find a way to consolidate discipline, cooperation, and have moved away from the misery brought on by the grip of poverty. Music becomes an additional means for social and intellectual development, not only personal, but for entire communities.
Through music and the beauty that music expresses, there is the willingness of focusing again the international interest on the Haitian condition, by celebrating the strength of its colors and its people.
By Andrea Bocelli
EDUCATING TO TALENT
Educating to talent, in complex situations, where urgencies related to existence may indicate totally different priorities, is a bold challenge and all the more necessary as apparently completely accessory.
The idea of being like a fertile land helping everyone to bloom is one of the corner stones of ABF mission. The will to be Mother Earth, even if it were a plot as large as a palm, but welcoming and accompanying everyone, offering the tools to find the seed of talent (because everyone has it, and even more than one), and then foster its full expression and sustain its bloom, is the basis of our activity in Haiti and every day motivates the work of the “Andrea Bocelli Foundation” in cooperation with its local partner “Fondation St.Luc”.
Together on the Caribbean Island we try to ensure education, food, and health assistance to thousands of children. We bring water and electricity to remote and poor communities, but also medical assistance, consulting and HIV regular screening, solar panels, libraries.
In one word we are trying to give substance to what we believe in. Acting, we express our ethical approach and therefore the values, of hospitality and of responsibilization, taking care of individuals and of communities, giving the opportunity to everyone to tell, through their existence, the best story possible.
Why a choir
Everything has a voice, everything sings. From Pythagoras to St. Augustine, to the most recent discoveries in cosmology, both philosophy and science suggest a strong link, exciting and moving, between music and spiritual reality, between the vibration of sound and the very essence of life.
From the secret melodies of celestial bodies to the beat of the fruit fly wings’, creation is a sound metaphor of its Creator, and every element contributes, imperceptibly, but effectively to universal harmony, that with immeasurable perfection rules life and expresses a poetic, amazing synonym of God.
It is sufficient to sing together, training to learn listening, juxtaposition, consonance in the syntonic sum of diversities, that such concepts immediately lose all sorts of abstraction to become experience.
It is sufficient to mix breath and put into a vibrating relation our body with the outside, with the first ingredient that keeps us alive, and then give a sound to this meeting, and then give a shape to this sound, that the magic of singing comes to life spreading like a blessing.
Music is the soul’s voice, its strength and beauty open minds, and develop thoughts; following the beacon of such principles (and considering that art and culture are a human right), acting on a land where our foundation is intrinsically recognized with particular force, after checking the irrepressible impact that such experiences have had in South America, ABF has launched a new project, conceiving and creating together with Fondation St. Luc, a choir called “Voices of Haiti”.
Voices of Haiti
The children’s choir “Voices of Haiti” is part of “Break the barriers”, one of the two programs that realizes the mission of the “Andrea Bocelli Foundation” and that aims at supporting and promoting projects to aid populations of Developing Countries, as well as to give help in those situations where poverty, illness and complex social problems invalidate or reduce the quality of life.
The Choir members are Haitian children aged from 9 to 15; through such an experience (conceived since the very beginning as a, highly structured, stable, educational reality) they will be able to enhance their talent thanks to a highly specialized training, benefitting also of a wealth of educational, cultural and existential opportunities potentially precious for their future.
The Choir has already been able to set its own character (even a repertoire) through a training in compliance with international, professional standards. Director of “Voices of Haiti” as well as artistic responsible of the project is Malcolm J. Merriweather, choral associate at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York, and a professor at the Brooklyn College Conservatory (CUNY). The organization will avail itself of a team of Haitian collaborators, made up of musicians, teachers, and administrators.
A series of interdisciplinary initiatives will be an integral part of the project, and will be regularly organized for the benefit of the young singers, during their trips. Thus the learning experience will be complete, and will also include a deepening on culture, traditions, and customs of the countries that will host the performances.
In addition to offering a real possibility of growth and development of musical talent (an opportunity which young Haitians would otherwise hardly enjoy), and besides teaching a sort of controlled breathing whose psychophysical benefits can be compared to the practice of yoga, a choir – in itself an extraordinary metaphor of democracy in every corner of the world – represents a precious educational opportunity “tout court”.
It exemplifies, in fact, the need to acquire and put into practice, the fundamental values necessary for a peaceful coexistence, as well as promoting the awareness of the necessity of the individual’s commitment towards the community.
Each of them becomes a constituent element of a musical instrument of greater dimensions; each voice contributes to the beauty of the result, every mind learns to understand the difficulties involved in making music with the others. And in understanding, provides his/her active, intellectual and emotional contribution; every individual learns to feel part of a larger organism that, giving them strength needs them to exist.
For young singers, transform musical notes and rhythms in a moment of expression, gradually dominating polyphony, the singing of many voices, becomes an exciting and revealing experience, like learning to enjoy a poem after studying grammar.
Grown up in a context of strong poverty, thirsty for beauty, eager to learn, the young members of “Voices of Haiti”, singing together in the choir, have become aware of discipline, of passion, of the love for what they do, and of the sense of responsibility. Therefore all that they can convey, singing on a stage, is pure joy.