Churches in Haiti like to take to the street on special occasions. They hire a brass band and march
around singing songs of salvation. It’s a beautiful thing. The ASAPH Brass Band plays a couple of annual
parades. One is out at the highway. It’s nice to walk on pavement when you are trying to play, but the
busy national road is not closed for the parade, which means you have to stick to one side and keep an
eye out for traffic. We do other parades here in town. There is no traffic problem, but walking over rocks
and stones does a number on the sound of your trumpet as it shakes around on your mouth.
In February, the band played a parade for a church where several of our members attend. I played
parades in high school. We’d learn one song. We play the song, then walk to a cadence. Repeat. Repeat.
Repeat. I tried to use that model here a few times. The participants wanted more music and less
cadence. SO, I followed the lead of the lead trumpet players this time. They led us from one song to
another with no break. After twenty minutes of playing, we did a short break. Then we started over. We
played more than I ever have played a brass instrument. I lost the ability to play at one point. Then, as I
played on, I found I could play high notes only. That was fun for a while.
After the parade, the band stood in front of the church. Since nothing was happening, the leaders of the
band said, “Let’s play some more.” They kicked off a song we hadn’t prepared. But, they knew it, and I
trusted them to do it well. It was fine. Then they did another.
The ASAPH Brass Band is becoming more and more alive and less reliant on its American director. The
signs of adulthood are becoming more visible from month to month. It’s encouraging to me. There are
several real musicians in the band. God has blessed us, and I am thankful and inspired.
Missionary in Haiti.