A Cathartic Easter Celebration
On April 4, 2010, Easter Sunday, Kolonb Dor, the choral and dance troupe of the Aristide Foundation offered a concert at the auditorium of the AFD, attended by 1250 people.
Kolonb Dor was founded in 2008, when a group of students in the Computer School of the AFD asked to form a performing arts initiative within the Foundation. The group has since evolved into a forty-person chorus and dance troupe, who perform at many Foundation events and produce two yearly benefit concerts – one at Christmas, one at Easter. This year, with Easter falling less than three months after the quake, with the whole country still on its knees, the members of Kolonb Dor and everyone at the AFD, felt we had to go forward with a cultural event on Easter Sunday, which could symbolize a renewal of life and hope.
Tickets were distributed primarily to women living in refugee camps in Port-au-Prince and its environs – over 1,200 of whom gathered for an afternoon of music, dance and theater.
The emotional highlight of the afternoon came when Kolonb Dor performed a requiem for those lost in the earthquake written by Farah Juste, and first performed at a funeral mass organized by the AFD at Titanyen (the mass burial sites) two weeks after the quake. Kolonb Dor opened the requiem with a dramatic on-stage re-enactment of the quake, followed by the song itself, which offers a libera (an opening of the doors to the next world ) for all those who died–unnamed and unmarked — in the quake. Audience members found the presentation powerful, jarring, but also emotionally cathartic. The piece was so powerful, in fact, it was shown in its entirety on three of Haiti’s main television stations repeatedly over the next few days. This represents one of the first organized cultural responses to the tragedy.
At the close of the program Toussaint Hilaire announced that all funds raised by the concert would go to support the Mobile Schools program of the AFD. A passing of the hat followed – with many present contributing what they could – a gourde, five gourdes—to support their children, or their neighbors children in the Mobile Schools. A total of 51,000 gourdes was raised (about $1500US).
We salute the young people who put this concert together. We look forward to working with them and others to support artistic and cultural responses to the January 12 earthquake which can aid in the spiritual recovery of the country.