Area residents work to help Haiti

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By Greg Romberg

Long before the earthquake that devastated Haiti hit in January, aid to the island country was in vogue in Evergreen. The latest chapter of the story is a heartwarming tale about how compassion and culture can help ease a terrible situation.

Beginning in 2007, Evergreen residents and Denver School of the Arts students Grete Gansauer and Lindsey Sanders established the “Music for Haiti” concerts. The girls, working with Church of the Hills, organized concerts that benefit the Colorado Haiti Project to help people in Haiti. In addition to these shows, additional concerts, featuring students from Evergreen High School and coordinated by EHS student Eden Garrod, have taken place in the spring. After Grete and Lindsay graduated, other Evergreen kids, Jacob Bellati and Zoe Rhulen, have taken over the task of organizing DSA participation. Grete’s mother, Diane Gansauer, has worked on the project since it’s inception.

A cello was recently donated to the Colorado Haiti Project, and the Evergreen/DSA partnership leapt into action. The Trinity Music School in Port Au Prince was identified as a proper recipient for the cello, which was evaluated and fixed up by Kolacny’s Music. The Trinity School and the adjacent Holy Trinity Cathedral were destroyed in the earthquake, and more than 300 musical instruments were lost. Seventh-grade art students at DSA took on the task of decorating the cello’s case with colorful music figures and inspirational words.

By happy circumstance, Bev Lyne, a nurse and cellist, was on her way to Haiti and agreed to take the cello with her and deliver it to the Trinity School. Lyne played the cello at Church of the Hills’ May 30 services, and congregants wished her and the instrument a safe trip. When she arrived in Haiti a week later and reached the ruins that used to be the school and cathedral, she found students at the school practicing among the ruins. Only after she found out about the rehearsal did Diane Gansauer reveal that she’d had a dream in which the cello was being played among the ruins!

Haiti has long been a country in need of assistance, and the earthquake only exacerbated the problems. While meeting basic needs is the most immediate concern, it’s vitally important that cultural amenities are also available to people. The Colorado Haiti Project, Church of the Hills, Denver School of the Arts and all of the many volunteers who made getting the cello to Haiti a reality are to be commended.

For more information about the Colorado Haiti Project, visit www.coloradohaitiproject.org.

Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates, a government relations and public affairs firm. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie, and three daughters.