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Haiti Youth Orchestra

May 28, 2016

Haiti Youth Orchestra

Your Colorado Symphony is dedicated to strengthening community through music.  This summer, Musician Teaching Artists will teach and perform not only throughout the Denver metro area but also for the first time ever in Haiti.  For the past two years we have helped support the Orchestra St. Pierre, a high school youth orchestra in Mirebalais, by collecting instruments and supplies. These were then delivered by Denver native Zach Harris of Road to Hope Haiti who started the orchestra 4 years ago when he was just 14 years old.  Zach, who has two adopted Haitian siblings, wanted to make a difference in the lives of Haitian youth.  He knew that Colorado Symphony musicians could help the youth orchestra continue to thrive. 

Next month, Colorado Symphony trombonist Paul Naslund, clarinetist Abby Raymond, and violist Helen McDermott will travel to Haiti with Zach for one week. They will be bringing collected instruments and supplies, and will work with the students in the Haiti Youth Orchestra.  Then, in November, at least 2 students from the Haiti Youth Orchestra will visit Denver for more exposure with the entire Colorado Symphony. 

One of the most exciting things about this partnership is extending the Colorado Symphony’s community reach into a place that has so little access to instrumental music but so much desire for it. Bringing instruments and instruction to a place that has extreme need is already a wonderful thing. The fact that this project will also enable Haitian students to travel to Denver for more instruction is even better. What an unforgettable opportunity to open horizons for everyone involved!

David (left), a trumpet player in the youth orchestra, has this to say. “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.” 

Haiti Youth Orchestra’s wish list includes the following items: full size violins, violas and cellos, a 3/4 size string bass, string instrument bows – especially full size with useable hair, a French horn, an oboe, a bassoon, a glockenspiel, timpani, a tuba, rosin, used or new strings for half size and larger string instruments, used or new reeds for clarinet, saxophone, oboe and bassoon, and any accessories and repair/maintenance tools for all instruments. 

Zach has managed all of the fundraising for the youth orchestra through Road to Hope Haiti, a 501(c)3 organization, and is accepting donations for this 2016 Colorado Symphony partnership project HERE.  “Music has played such a large role in my life.  I loved the idea of taking energetic young kids who had never even seen some of these instruments and turning them into musicians in their very own orchestra.  I am excited for the opportunity for the CSO musicians to work with these driven talented young people in Haiti and for a few of the students to travel here in the fall.  I hope to facilitate a lasting, meaningful relationship between the Haiti Youth Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.” 

The Colorado Symphony is looking forward to this too, Zach!   

Please visit to learn more, HERE to donate, and contact Catherine Beeson, Director of Community and Education Programs at with questions about the program or how to donate items from the wish list.