January 22, 2010

More Information:
For Media Only: Helene Snihur (585-274-1057, hsnihur@esm.rochester.edu)
For The Public: 585-274-1110

"Harmony for Haiti" Concert at Eastman School Raises Earthquake Relief Funds

Haitian alumnus is among scheduled performers

An Eastman School of Music graduate who was in Haiti when the country was hit by a catastrophic earthquake this month will perform at a benefit concert at the school at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, in Kilbourn Hall.

Titled “Harmony for Haiti,” the concert is organized and coordinated by Eastman School master’s degree students Jordan Hayes and Emeric Viani, who connected with and invited alumnus Louima Lilite to participate in the event. In addition to Lilite, a tenor who will sing and speak briefly about Haiti, the concert will feature the Eastman School’s Balinese gamelan ensemble, Gamelan Lila Muni; other Eastman School ensembles including a student orchestra; and the Yellowjackets, one of the University of Rochester’s all-male a cappella groups.

The suggested donation for the “Harmony for Haiti” concert is $10, with proceeds going to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund established by President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. One hundred percent of the Fund donations are earmarked for immediate relief and to assist long-term recovery efforts.  

Lilite, who received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Eastman in 2008 and is now assistant professor of music at Oklahoma Baptist University, was about four hours away from Port-au-Prince when the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck on Jan. 12. He was in Limbé at the North Haiti Music Camp, where he serves as the coordinator, and it was several days before he learned of the safety of his sister and her family. Lilite, who was born in Haiti and grew up in Port-au-Prince, was able to return to the United States as planned on Friday, Jan. 15.

While studying at the Eastman School with Professor Carol Webber, Lilite sang in several productions and was awarded Eastman’s Teaching Assistant Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007. He also taught at Nazareth College and at Houghton College. His other honors include the Presser Music Award from the Presser Foundation and First Place in the Advanced Division of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Eastern Region Conference Auditions. He has taught, lectured, and coached in the United States and overseas for more than 13 years.

The initial earthquake in Haiti caused catastrophic damage to the capital city of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. Aftershocks included a major 6.1-magnitude tremor on Jan. 20. Though exact numbers of those affected are difficult to confirm, about 200,000 people are estimated to have died and about 2 million people are estimated to be homeless.

# # #

Calendar Listing:

Thursday, January 28
“Harmony for Haiti.” Benefit concert presented by Eastman School of Music students, with tenor Louima Lilite, a Haitian native and Eastman graduate; Eastman Gamelan Lila Muni; other Eastman School ensembles including a student orchestra; and the Yellowjackets a cappella group.
8 p.m.
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Suggested donation: $10, with proceeds going to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund