Music Program

Music Program

boy playing kazoo

A Haitian proverb says “The first step in singing is breathing,” and the Honeoye Falls- Borgne Scout Marching Band started simply with kazoos.  The director of the Fondasyon Dauphin, Francius Estimable, has a long history with the Scouts of Haiti–as a participant, leader, and now a trainer of trainers.  He had been interested in getting young people involved in music as a way to keep them busy and out of trouble during school breaks. Then a longtime friend and donor, Bill Larsen, sent down a box of kazoos for his Scout troop which kindled the spark of an idea into a full-fledged dream of having a scout band.

The Honeoye Falls-Borgne Sister Cities collaboration served as the launching pad for this project with Friends of Borgne board member Dick Haviland leading the effort.  Dick’s experience with high school and college marching bands gave him insight as to what was needed. He published stories in local papers asking for donations of used instruments.  Board members Sue Whalen and her sister Judy Conley were able to stimulate the interest of House of Guitars, a local music store. They came up with drums guitars and other percussion instruments.  We asked our Honeoye Falls – Lima School district to let parents know we were looking for instruments. The not-for-profit Hungry for Music also provided a number of brass and woodwind instruments.

instruments donated by Friend of Borgne
instruments have arrived

Many kind people donated a variety of instruments.  One donation is particularly worthy of note. An elderly lady living in a nearby nursing home contacted us and offered a high end trumpet which had belonged to her late husband who had been involved in scouting all his life.  She wanted to give it to us because of his long term involvement with the Boy Scouts.

We gathered a bunch of Army duffle bags and packed them full of our musical treasures.  Dick had sold his bass and used the funds to be sure that all the instruments were in good repair. Students from the Rochester Institute of Technology who were preparing for a study abroad trip to Borgne offered to carry them as extra bags. When the instruments arrived in Borgne, they were all placed on a big table outside the church.  The priest blessed them with all the village people there. It was a big day in Borgne!

child watching trombone in the Borgne band
dancers and players in Borgne band

Music teachers from Cap Haitien were hired to provide lessons on the weekends in Borgne.  In only five months the students learned how to play the instruments and to actually play together and when the Rochester Institute of Technology students came back to Haiti on the next trip, they were welcomed by the band.  Wearing Honeoye Falls soccer shirts and fronted by a group of young majorettes, they looked and sounded great. They could play the Haitian National Anthem.

The band is now hired to play at weddings, funerals and other events.  They have gold and white uniforms, partially sewn by the women in our sewing program. The older students teach the younger ones and during school breaks we periodically bring the music teachers back to help the band continue to develop. Here is a video from the 2018 Summer Program.

scout band in their new hand-made uniforms