10/6/17 - Haitian Violin Student Visits SCGSAH

By Governor's School faculty member Katie Dey

For two weeks last month, the Governorís School had the special opportunity to welcome seventeen-year-old Haitian violinist Kenell Joseph on campus as part of a project involving a number of Greenville-area music institutions and organizations.  Identified by the nonprofit BLUME Haiti as a talented and dedicated young string player, Kenell was invited by the Greenville Symphony Orchestra to spend two weeks in the community observing and participating in a variety of music classes, technique workshops, ensemble rehearsals and concert performances.

Kenell comes from the village of Cange, located in the impoverished Central Plateau region of Haiti.  He began playing the violin four years ago at a summer camp and is now the string teacher in his village.  While in Greenville, Kenell had the opportunity to meet and work with over twenty different music instructors, sit in on nine ensemble rehearsals, perform twice at First Presbyterian Church Sunday services, attend the opening Greenville Symphony Orchestra concert, and explore the Farmer's Market and the Greenville Zoo.  He also enjoyed meeting Dr. Cedric Adderley and spending time speaking French with students in Madame Grier's French classes.  One highlight of Kenell's time on campus was a L.I.T. session during which he described daily life and culture in Cange, as well as the hardships of learning music in a developing country.

"Having Kenell here really opened my eyes.  To hear his story and how successful he was despite his life back home was amazing.  It really just showed how dedicated he was.  It inspired me to push myself to do things I didn't believe that I could do before.  He was absolutely amazing," said Hannah Greene, senior violinist.

In addition to the Greenville Symphony Orchestra and the Governorís School, collaborating partners on this project included Beck Academy of the Greenville County School District, Carolina Youth Symphony, Bernhardt House of Violins, First Presbyterian Church, North Greenville University, and Anderson University.  Room and board were donated by local volunteers.  Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of the Boston-based organization Partners in Health, assisted with transportation costs for the trip.  Many thanks to these organizations and other individuals who helped with Kenell's visit.

Watch a WYFF news segment about Kenellís visit here: http://www.wyff4.com/article/story-of-hope-amid-poverty-kenell-s-trip-to-greenville/12472611