Music Video Pays Tribute To Renowned Haitian Music School Founder

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Touching music video becomes YouTube hit and draws attention to destroyed music school.

The members of the classical/pop trio After Daybreak (http://www.afterdaybreakofficial.com) have paid tribute in their new music video to the founder of a Haitian children’s music school that was destroyed earlier this year in the Haiti earthquake.

After Daybreak, which consists of vocalists Daniel Beck, Drew Boushka & David Fritch, had barely finished recording the music for their remake of the Louis Armstrong classic “What A Wonderful World” this past January when news of the quake made headlines around the globe. The singers were shocked and saddened by the horror of the destruction which resulted.

The New Victorian School in Port-au-Prince was founded in 1991 by blind Juilliard-trained Haitian-American violinist Romel Joseph as a way to help teach the mostly poor Haitian children how to play classical musical instruments. After the quake, Joseph found himself trapped under the rubble of that very school building for over 18 hours, with a crushed arm and other serious injuries, his 7-month pregnant wife, Myslie, missing. Myslie was later found to have perished in the quake.

“The January 12 earthquake was, I believe, the saddest tragedy for the people of Haiti for the past century”, Joseph stated.

In June, After Daybreak, through a friend and founder of a Haitian non-profit organization, contacted Mr. Joseph to ask if there was anything they could do to help. They received an email from Joseph, which said in part that it was Joseph’s plan to rebuild The New Victorian School and also build the first Haiti Performing Arts Center near the capitol of Port-au-Prince.

He also stated that he would ask his eldest daughter Victoria, a violinist for the Miami Symphony Orchestra, after whom the school was named, to provide photos of the school and its students. Victoria sent the photos, which consisted of images of smiling children, neatly dressed young students playing violins and flutes, and a grand school building. The photos also contained the sobering images of the crumbled concrete and twisted steel which was now The New Victorian School. It wasn’t long after that After Daybreak decided to pay tribute to Romel Joseph and his school in the music video for “What A Wonderful World.” Many of the photos can be found throughout the touching video.

“We hope this video is a fitting tribute to all those who strive to push on through such extreme adversity”, said After Daybreak’s Daniel Beck. “Romel Joseph’s example of picking up and pushing on is one that we can all benefit and learn from, and we hope we honor him and all those like him in some small way with this video.”

Joseph was released from the hospital in March and returned to Haiti to recover the body of his missing wife, and has since been slowly rebuilding the school, which reopened in May at temporary facilities.

“I am working with some of my best friends and people whom I haven’t met yet, who care about me and Haiti’s children”, Joseph explained.

The “What A Wonderful World” video premiered in October and became an instant hit on YouTube. It will also be screened at “The First Anniversary of Haiti’s Earthquake: A Celebration of Life”, an event to be held in South Florida from January 10-12, 2011.

After Daybreak is donating a portion of the proceeds from their “What A Wonderful World” album, which can be found on iTunes and at http://www.afterdaybreakofficial.com, to The New Victorian School fund.

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Andrew Bunel
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