On May 6, The Collingwood Arts Center will host "HeArts Toward Haiti," a benefit performance featuring local muscians and dancers, with the proceeds going toward the re-establishment of the music program at Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s New Victorian School.
The New Victorian School, which was destroyed by fire in 2000 and later re-built, was founded in 1991 by Executive Director Romel Joseph. Joseph, who is a renowned violinist and a Fulbright scholar, has been legally blind since the age of 5.
Joseph began studying the violin at the age of 10 , and in three years, he was a member of the Holy Trinity Philharmonic Orchestra , the only classical orchestra in Haiti. He completed his Bachelor’s of Music Degree in Violin Performance at the Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. He was the Music Director of St. Vincent’s School for Handicapped Children, his Alma Mater. There he also worked as a violin instructor as well as Director of the Handbell Choir and as a member of the faculty of the National School for the Arts. It was his Fulbright Grant that enabled him to continue his studies at The Juilliard School of Music in New York City, where he completed his Master’s of Music in Violin Performance in 1987.
Thankful for the many gifts he had been given, even in the face of adversity, Joseph decided to return home to serve the children of his impoverished homeland.
"The primary objective of the New Victorian School is to help provide an excellent education to young, under-privileged students from 6th to 12th grade, and to further assist them in professional studies so that they may successfully enter the workforce thus, becoming valuable members of their communities," Joseph said.
It was Joseph’s friend Cecilia Johnson, a local violinist, who brought everyone together for this event. "HeArts Toward Haiti" will feature Johnson on voilin, Jon Hendricks, Mark Mikel, Sarah and Shaun Shutts, Linnea Johnson, Michael Boyd, CYMBAL, Joe Zsigray, The Scandia String Quartet, The Maumee Valley Day School String Ensemble, Susan Hedler and Erik Johanson. The show will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 general admission, and $12 for children and seniors with proper I.D.
Call 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.collingwoodartscenter.org for more information.