Haiti 'will rise again', say survivors one month after quake

By agency reporter
February 14, 2010

Haitians have marked the one-month anniversary of the awful earthquake that devastated their country on 12 January with music, memorials, tears and a strong commitment to see the country rise from the ashes once more.

Faith has also played a significant part in people's determination to transcend the horror of a major natural disaster.

Amid the ruins of their diocese and their nation, Haitian Episcopalians, for example, have found ongoing hope in their music and art.

"Some things are too difficult to express in words," said Jeanne Pocius, a trumpet professor at the Diocese of Haiti's now-destroyed Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince, paraphrasing Victor Hugo. "You see people being absolutely stoic and when the music begins, the tears begin to flow. It's healing, it's a great medication. It's a gift of the Holy Spirit."

A few hours earlier, she had joined members of the Holy Trinity Philharmonic Orchestra, Haiti's unofficial state symphony, and the school's renowned Les Petits Chanteurs men and boys choir to participate in one of the capital's many memorial services.

Haitian President René Préval spoke during the service, Pocius said, as did Protestant, Roman Catholic and Voodoo ministers and priests, as well as Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti.

"Music is the great hope for Haitians. It unites them, it inspires them, it strengthens them, it connects them with the almighty," Pocius told Episcopal News Service in a recent telephone interview from Port-au-Prince.

The contribution of the two Holy Trinity music groups was their second appearance since the earthquake. They played and sang on 5 February in the Bel Air section of Port-au-Prince. The orchestra and chorus, both of which lost members in the quake, also performed on 13 February on the grounds of the diocese's destroyed Cathédrale Sainte Trinité (Holy Trinity Cathedral).

The 5 February concert was titled "For Renewal and Hope of Haiti," and Pocius said she sees hope for Haiti's future in "the basic resilience of the Haitian people, their deep faith in God, their willingness to help one another. You don't see a lot of selfishness down here."

During the Bel Air concert, orchestra conductor the Rev. David Cesar told a National Public Radio reporter that he wanted to bring the orchestra to the gang-controlled neighborhood after the quake "to let them know that Haiti will rise again."

With acknowledgments to Mary Frances Schjonberg, national correspondent for the Episcopal News Service http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79425_ENG_HTM.htm

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