Brass bands in Haiti (like in New Orleans) are connected to funerals. Bands offer a song as part of the service, and then lead the procession to the cemetery or family plot. It can be a slow march to the burial, but once the body is in its place, some celebration music is offered.
The ASAPH Brass Band members were never interested in playing a funeral until this past year. We played a special song at the funeral of a man who's son was a friend of the band. That inspired some of the players. On January 8th we were invited to play a funeral for the brother of a man I've known for twenty years. It was quick notice, but we got things together and accepted the invitation. There were 8 of us. The special song in the service was shaky at the beginning...nerves. And during the procession we ran out of gas. There were only two trumpets (I was one), and we got winded. Other than that, it was a fair first attempt.
The gentleman who invited us paid the group $300. Each player got $40, except for me. I took $20. It was the first time our musicians received cash for playing music. The ASAPH Brass Band is opening doors for people to earn money.
The band also accepted an invitation to play a wedding. We have a great wedding song : I WANT TO BE ONE WITH YOU. And we're learning some classic 'ceremony' music like Ode To Joy. The bride was a former member of our church. She invited us to her town on the top of a mountain for the wedding saying, "The last little part of the trip you'll have to do on foot."
Well. There we were on a Saturday morning with trumpets, trombones, and a tuba! We climbed. We climbed. We sweated. As I caught by breath under a tree, we received word that we were half way there. Ay!
We made it. We played two songs. We were fed. And we climbed down the mountain to our vehicle and came home. It was a trip for teenagers and young men...not a fifty-year-old white guy. We made a decision to never accept an invitation without knowing the details.
BUT, it was a nice wedding. The bride was praised as an example of what a young Christian woman should be. That was delightful to see.
Wedding. Funerals. Parades. Concerts. Services.
The ASAPH Brass Band. His music. His message. His glory.
Missionary in Haiti.