Musical instruments for children in Haiti

29 Mar 2010

After the devastating earthquake in January 2010, the Berliner Philharmoniker held a benefit concert on behalf of emergency aid for children in its function as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors together with the pianist Mitsuko Uchida. The proceeds of € 130,000 helped UNICEF to restore basic services for children with drinking water, food and medical aid as well as establish a functioning school system.

But this concert brought about something else: In the audience sat Hans Thomann, owner of the music retailer Thomann e.K. The concert and the commitment of the Philharmoniker moved him so much that he offered to help in any way he could. So the idea emerged to acquire new instruments for music schools in Haiti which lost their instruments as a result of the earthquake.

Three affected schools in Port-au-Prince were identified with the help of UNICEF. Thanks to Hans Thomann and his team, and to the generous support of the transport and logistics company Panalpina, a total of 220 instruments found their way to Haiti and were distributed among the three schools. Students of the Vision Nouvelle School in Port au Prince received their instruments first and – as the photos show – are clearly already enjoying them! Meanwhile, the instruments have now also arrived also at the Louis Bayard Achilles Othello music school in Les Cayes and the Dessaix Baptist music school in Jacmel. Their collection of instruments now includes baritone horns, bassoons and double horns, all instruments that they didn't have before but are indispensable for orchestral music making.

Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker are soon to travel to Haiti to play with the music students and give workshops.