Film Explores Story of Music Education in Haiti after Earthquake

Posted on 2/15/2012 9:46:02 AM

A presentation of the recently released film Kenbe La – Hold On will take place on Thursday, March 1, 2012, at 5:30 p.m. in McVitty Auditorium (in Sprowls Hall). The movie explores the positive impact of arts education programs in Haiti before and after the 2010 earthquake.

The film will be followed by a question and answer session featuring Haitian cellist and music educator Fabienne Fanord and IUP Music professor Linda Jennings, who has worked with music programs in Haiti. The program will also feature the IUP Cello Choir and Fanord performing Haitian music. This event is sponsored by the IUP Latin American Studies minor program and the IUP String Project.

The remains of Holy Trinity Music School

Haiti is often portrayed as a country full of poor people waiting for help. Kenbe La – Hold On follows Haitian leaders who believe in the importance of arts education and outlets for creative expression. Kenbe La chronicles the work of musicians and teachers of the Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince and the Dessaix Baptiste Music School in Jacmel. Holy Trinity Music School, the center of musical life in Haiti, was about to celebrate its 50th anniversary when the January 12, 2010, earthquake left it in ruins. The students’ and teachers’ commitment to music inspires and gives weight to the importance of culture and the arts. Their experiences illustrate the ways in which music education builds strong character and supportive communities to help combat the intense needs that exist throughout the country. Their stories reveal music’s ability to heal and unite even amidst the most challenging circumstances and confirm the idea that development means more than economic growth. Though many instruments and lives were lost, the musicians play on, bringing joy and hope to their communities. (Learn more about Kenbe La.)

Cello lesson by Fabienne Fanord

Originally from Port-au-Prince, Fanord received her musical training at the Holy Trinity Music School. She later became a cello teacher at the school and brought music education to other communities, including the Dessaix Baptiste Music School. In 2008, Fanord visited IUP at the invitation of Jennings to pursue her professional development. A survivor of the 2010 earthquake, she returned to IUP in February 2010 as an IUP Scholar to pursue further studies. Fanord currently studies at Jackson State University in Mississippi.

Jennings has worked with music students at the Dessaix Baptiste Music School as a volunteer since 2006 when she first met Fanord.

Kenbe La – Hold On, a film by Bel Son Productions, was the official selection at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival and Weyauwega International Festival in 2010. The documentary, filmed and produced by Lawrence University undergraduate music students Carolyn Armstrong and Stephen Anunson, shares the powerful story they became a part of as volunteers teaching at summer music camps in Haiti.

Attendance vouchers will be available for IUP students. IUP music students may receive recital credit for this event.

This event is free and open to the IUP community and the public. Donations to support music programs in Haiti will be accepted at the door. For more information, contact Linda Jennings at