After 5 days in Haiti, my sister Elizabeth and I traveled by bus to explore the Dominican Republic. When Elizabeth had the idea to extend our trip to explore this neighboring country, it took me more than a second to realize a very dear friend, Camille Berroa, was there. In 1997, when I was 16, I met Camille at the two month music camp, Meadowmount. In addition to the required 5 hour individual practice sessions, we had coachings, lessons, and recitals.
It was during this intense summer that we became very close. We met for more music-making on the island of Puerto Rico (Festival de la Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de las Americas), which coincidentally is also the place where I first met David Arben! He coached the violin sections. When I realized we were going to be in Santo Domingo, we planned for our reunion. She arrived to pick us up at Terra Bus station. Twelve years had passed but it felt like only yesterday since I had seen her. Camille was a most amazing host and infinitely generous! On Wednesday I had the pleasure of spending the day with her as teaching assistant. All her students were so sweet and I was inspired to see Camille’s dedication to helping her students grow and believe in themselves. I also enjoyed updating her about Mr. Arben and about the Mim commission dedicated to him for next year!
With several upcoming concerts I also made time to do some practicing. Our hostel is owned by an American woman who has lived in the D.R. for 40 years. She is a curator of art and I found it infinitely inspiring to practice surrounded by Dominican and Haitian art. I kept a fan blowing to cool me off and keep the misquitos away.
On our last night, during my stroll around the Colonial district, I was approached by a few smiling gentlemen.
Is that a violin?
Are you performing in Santo Domingo?
No. But I was working in Haiti.
Really?!?! If you don’t have plans, would you join us for a jam at Quintana in Plaza Espagna tonight? It’s in memory of earthquake. Today is the 2 year anniversary.
A great many experiences my violin and I have shared!