Haitian youth choir in Newcastle Aug. 24

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 12:00pm

A Haitian youth choir, Les Petit Chanteurs, will visit Newcastle, Maine on Saturday, Aug. 24 as part of a U.S. tour. The choir of 30 boys and girls ages 10 to 16, and an eight-piece chamber ensemble, will perform at the Second Congregational Church in Newcastle at 7 p.m. The program will feature a combination of Haitian folk songs and sacred music.

The Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti was founded in 1956 and now offers musical training to 1,500 youths and has a teaching staff of 50. Children from elementary schools throughout the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area audition to join Petits Chanteurs. The choir accepts students beginning at age seven. The students also attend a summer music camp, which helps prepare them for concert tours aimed at raising money to rebuild the school that was completely destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.

The Haitian choir first visited the U.S. on tour in 1984, and since then has come back 13 times, the last time in 2017. In the 1970s, the Boston Symphony Orchestra invited Haitian students to attend the orchestra’s summer music program at Tanglewood, after which the annual Summer Music Camp was established in the city of Leogane, about 25 miles west of Port-au-Prince.

The children will be hosted for a few days in the area, with parishioners from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and the Second Congregational Church providing housing. In addition to the two churches, the choir’s tour in Newcastle is being supported by Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust and Round Top Ice Cream in Damariscotta. The concert is free, but donations are gratefully accepted.

For more information about the concert, call 563-2416 or 563-3533.