Haiti Youth Orchestra's Mission: We build self-sustaining communities through partnering with individuals
and organizations in the U.S. and Haiti to learn from and support each other.

Our Mission

Promoting Academic and Social Growth

We provide access to musical understanding, social growth, increased self-esteem, and a lifelong love of music to Haitian youth while providing cross-cultural experience to Haitian and American musicians.

Our Story

After spending time in Haiti with his parents, the founders of The Road to Hope, for the adoption of his two Haitian siblings, young twelve year old Zach Harris had a vision. He wanted to provide opportunities for learning and fun for the children of the community of Mirebalais by building a soccer field. However, leaders of the community had another idea. They wanted the children of the community to learn to play beautiful music through a music program and orchestra at St. Pierre School. Zach, an accomplished musician, figured this idea was much better suited for both parties than a soccer field, and quickly worked with the community to turn their vision into a reality. On that fateful day, Haiti Youth Orchestra (now a program of The Road to Hope), was born.

Our Progress

Zach’s simple steps have inspired musicians in both Haiti and the United States and fostered lifelong relationships between Haitians and Americans. The first Haiti Youth Orchestra is located at the St. Pierre school in Mirebalais and includes 120 young members of the community. In 2017, the Haiti Youth Orchestra expanded to a second location at the St. Martin school in Delmas, Haiti. Between the two sites, 150 Haitian children are discovering the joy of music. The vast majority of the students who began playing with Haiti Youth Orchestra seven years ago had never picked up an instrument in their lives. Today, they are accomplished musicians who spend time traveling Haiti playing concerts at schools, funerals, weddings, and cultural celebrations.

Our Programs

  • Weekly Orchestra Rehearsals - In order for students to grow their musical skills, Haiti Youth Orchestra employs AND accomplished Haitian Maestro to lead weekly rehearsals for the orchestras in St. Pierre and St. Martin.
  • Summer Camps - Since 2016, Haiti Youth Orchestra has provided annual summer camps to young Haitian musicians. Over a week students receive private lessons, larger group clinics, and conduct the full orchestra.
  • Up and Coming Young Artist Camp - Annually, top Haiti Youth Orchestra students travel to Denver, CO to practice and perform with the Colorado Symphony. Students stay with host families and are accompanied on outings, practices and performances by young musicians, forming lifelong, cross-cultural bonds.

Our Orchestra

Playing music has been proven to allow messages to get across the brain faster and through more diverse routes. Thus, musicians may be able to solve problems more effectively and creatively, in both academic an Up and Coming Young Artist Camps social settings.

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Meet Our Team - Fostering Cross-Cultural Learning

Through working with Haitian and American professional musicians, the students learn how to work hard, dream big, and accomplish their goals. Furthermore, international collaboration results in more well-rounded individuals who can make better-informed decisions. Click Here to Meet Our Team

Meet Our Students - Orchestra Members

Our students are a testament to the benefits of musical education and cross-cultural learning. Read more about their individual stories below.

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David Marcellus is a trumpet player in the St. Pierre youth orchestra in Mirebalais, Haiti. “The orchestra has helped me a lot to become a good musician and has helped me at school also. Before the orchestra started I did not know anything about music but I am now very happy to be a musician! The orchestra has helped me to become a good student. I am very focused on my studies." A founding member of the Haiti Youth Orchestra, David is now studying Computer Science.

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Peter Clervoyant is one of the students who have visited Denver and had the opportunity to work beside the Colorado Symphony, which has been supporting the non-profit through hands on education. "I would like to become a teacher to teach music all over Haiti," Clervoyant said, "It was a dream to do this.” Five years ago, Clerovoyant hadn't touched an instrument. Now, he hopes to change lives through his music one day.

Lovelie Marcellus, Violin

Lovelie is 20 years old and on her way to attend Quisqueya University, Haiti’s top ranked school on a music scholarship! She talks about how much music has impacted her life. Lovelie says that music helped her learn to appreciate silence. Since orchestra requires attentive listening it has taught her the value of silence and listening. Lovelie hopes to end up working in the field of music business. She says that she would love to travel around the world but return to Haiti, her home to spread the power of music.

We are so excited to feature this breathtaking video of Lovelie’s ORIGINAL composition on her violin. Watch here.

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Raphaella Masson, Viola

Raphaella is 20 years old and another recent graduate of HYO. This year she plans to follow a similar path as Lovelie and audition with her viola at Universities. She was a part of HYO for 7 years and one of the original members. Raphaella says “j’ai beaucoup des reves” or “I have many dreams”! She wants to study, work with lots of experts in music, travel the world, and help her family and friends. She hopes to one day become an entrepreneur of her own business related to music! She talks about how music has transformed her. Raphaella explains that even though she has a lot of friends she has always been different. She never felt comfortable when exposed to bad decisions her friends make. However, music gave her the courage to spend her time practicing and working on her viola. Raphaella often plays her viola for her friends at birthday celebrations and other parties. She says it surrounds them with happiness as well.

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Hermann Rivalson Jean, Trumpet

Hermann is 18 years old. He has been with HYO for 7 years, and was one of the original members. Hermann started on violin, but decided that trumpet was a better fit when HYO expanded to include brass and wind instruments in 2014.

Hermann is starting his last year at school in Mirebalais before heading off to university where he hopes to continue his musical studies. Hermann often serves as a mentor in the orchestra, helping the younger students and sharing with them his passion and respect of music. He also has served as the Student President of HYO’s executive committee where he oversees everything from rehearsal scheduling to instrument upkeep and care. In the next chapter of his life, he hopes to attend a university in Port-au-Prince or the Dominican Republic. He says that his parents are proud that he is a musician and often encourage him to continue. Like all the HYO students we’ve spoken with, Hermann plans to keep music a part of his life even after he graduates the orchestra.

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“Parents are proud of musicians. Parents encourage them to have another good thing to do during free time.

Kiorlentz Pierre, Clarinet

Kiorlentz is 18 years old. He has been playing CLARINET for 5 years and has one more year at St. Pierre. He wants to keep learning clarinet on a higher level. He speaks about his experience participating in the St. Trinity camp as one of the most positive experiences in music yet. Kiorlentz says that music has become a part of him. It puts him in another world. Makes him more sincere, it’s an expression. He adds that music helps him in school. It helps give him motivation. Kiorlentz told us he loves music and cannot imagine ever leaving it.

Naika

Naika is 18 and has been playing violin. She switched instruments a few times, but now

she’s very happy with violin. She says that music permits her to advance more in school and gives her motivation to work more.

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Lunson

Lunson is 19. He plays double bass. “Sincerely thank you a lot.”

“The biggest opportunity I’ve had in my life”

“Want to stay in Haiti and keep learning music because it’s my passion” “If I have a teacher like you I will be at a very high level every time.”

“If I know music can give me the opportunity to go to university it will give me motivation.”

“I see how musicians are at ease with people. I want to learn music because I love being with people.”

“When you’re sad, the music help, when you are happy the music help. It helps me to express how I feel and it helps other people.”

“I think a lot about the orchestra because it’s in my heart."

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How Can You Get Involved?

Book the Orchestra for Your Next Event!

The Haiti Youth Orchestra travels Haiti, playing concerts at schools, funerals, weddings, and cultural celebrations. To book the orchestra for your next event, click here!

Donate An Instrument

Haiti Youth Orchestra's instruments are donated by various individuals, organizations and companies in the U.S. and maintained by Haiti's Holy Trinity Music School repair shop. While the instruments below are the biggest needs for HYO, all types of instrumental donations would be of great value to the orchestra.

  • Tenor, baritone, and soprano saxophones
  • Percussion instruments
  • French horns
  • Violins, violas, cellos, and double basses

To donate an instrument, click here!

Invest in Musical Education

We help provide Haitian youth with rare access to musical education, allowing them to develop a lifelong passion for music and acquire skills that are transferable to other aspects of their life. Click Here to Donate and Help Bring Music To Haiti