Earlier this month, the Enid A. Haupt Garden rang with the soaring voices of Les Petits Chanteurs (The Little Singers), the renowned boys’ choir of the Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Music School of Port-au-Prince in Haiti. Sponsored by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, the 30-voice choir performed a free concert for delighted visitors and staff.
The Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral complex in Port-au-Prince was completely destroyed in the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. Before the earthquake, the Cathedral’s Music School served more than 1,000 students. The visit to the Smithsonian is part of a national tour designed not only to focus awareness on the rich musical traditions of Haiti, but also to bring awareness and support the rebuilding of the Holy Trinity Music School. It is the only school of its kind in the country, and it depends on charitable support to sustain its mission of education and music training for children and young adults.
The group first visited the museum last year. “We are delighted to welcome back to the Smithsonian, and especially to our museum, this wonderfully talented group of boys and young men,” said Johnnetta Betsch Cole, NMAfA director. “At our museum we are committed to supporting connections with the African diaspora, and we will continue to do what we can to keep Haiti on the minds of Americans and people all over the world.”
Les Petits Chanteurs is a select group of singers ranging in age from 8 to 18. Over the years, ensembles from Holy Trinity Music School have performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., at Lincoln Center in New York City, at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with the Chicago Children’s Choir and at more than 90 churches across the United States.
The culture of Haiti has been featured in numerous other public programs and exhibitions at the Smithsonian, including the annual Folklife Festival. In 2011, the Smithsonian developed the Haiti Cultural Recovery Project to rescue and preserve Haitian artwork and artifacts.
Posted: 19 September 2013