BY SARAH BROWNELL
Please help the Foundation Dauphin Marching Band in Borgne, Haiti (Sister City of Honeoye Falls) celebrate 10 years of success while they continue to create joy in dark times.
10 years ago in February, the instruments donated from folks in Rochester and Honeoye Falls, NY and through the group Hungry for Music arrived in Borgne and were blessed in a ceremony at the church. The next week, the children started to learn to play them. By May they were marching in the street with their instruments to accompany me with joyful noises as I arrived to visit, leading me from the tap tap station to the Foundation Dauphin building in a festive parade. The band has since touched hundreds of children with the joy of learning to play an instrument and creating beautiful music together. They now play festivals, funerals, and weddings, sometimes for pay. They have won “battle of the bands” competitions and have purchased their own uniforms with their earnings multiple times. The older students now teach the younger ones, and three talented band members are enrolled in a music teacher training program.
The last few years in Haiti have been hard, and 2022 was exceedingly so. COVID19 closures and disruptions of the economy, political turmoil, the assassination of the President, the growing power of gangs, gas prices over $40/gallon, a political stalemate, kidnappings and violence, and thousands filling the streets to protest corruption, prices and government dysfunction have kept children from having normal lives. There has not been a full school year since 2018-2019. This year, school has been closed since September until now due to insecurity, leaving children with little to do. At the moment there is a little bit of a reprieve, a pause in violence, and schools have tentatively opened despite many, many challenges.
As their 10 year mark approaches, the band has proposed a town-wide celebration for children. They are planning a parade (with marching bands of course!), a soccer tournament, church services with children’s choir and liturgical dancing, a beach party for band members (there are currently 75 of them) along with Scouts and the children of the Foundation Dauphin, and replacement uniforms. This week-long series of celebratory events will involve hundreds of children who are already participating in practice sessions for band, majorettes, choir, liturgical dance, street theater and more.
They need at least $2500 to celebrate this milestone. Send donations to Friends of Borgne, PO Box 486, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472.