Romel Joseph speaking at Hartford's Cathedral of Saint Joseph
HARTFORD, Connecticut, USA — The audience rose to its feet, applauding, not
knowing or caring that the man they were cheering couldn’t see them.
Romel Joseph, a Haitian violinist, spoke about his experiences -- building The
New Victorian School in Port au Prince Haiti in 1991, rebuilding the same school
after a fire on January 12, 2000 and the devastating earthquake exactly 10 years
later that killed his wife, destroyed his school, decimated his country and left
him buried alive under the ruins for 18 hours.
Joseph, a Julliard-trained violinist, spoke about his personal determination to
provide more children “access to music” and about his refusal to quit.
“Once you give up, you die,” said Joseph. “We are going to rebuild a third
Joseph said he built The New Victorian School in order to encourage music
education in Haiti, an impoverished Caribbean nation.
He said he wants to provide Haitian children with the ability to learn and
perform music. “Without music, I probably wouldn’t be alive,” he said.
While trapped in the rubble after the earthquake, Joseph passed the time
replaying in his head replaying some of the music he had performed in years
past. It helped keep him going.
When his story of perseverance reached Connecticut, he received much more than
A group of Hartford musicians got together to organize a benefit concert for
the rebuilding of his New Victorian School.
One of the musicians who performed, singer Louise Fauteux, said that she gave
her time and talents because “it was an opportunity to do something good for
Joseph said that the concert was tremendous, which included a breathtaking
version of Cesar Franck’s