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A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project

Last Saturday, March 26th, I had the honor attending the recording sessions for “A Symphony of Hope: The Haiti Project” at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, CA. The brainchild of composer Christopher Lennertz, the Symphony is musical fundraising project designed to help the people of Haiti in their desperate time of need.

A year after the terrible earthquake which destroyed the lives of thousands of Haitians, it was clear to Lennertz that the need for assistance was greater than ever. In response Lennertz came up with the idea of the “Symphony of Hope”, and invited 25 leading film composers to collaborate with him on a project to benefit the Haiti Earthquake Relief fund.

The Symphony of Hope begins with an original Haitian melody, “Wongolo”, and then each composer contributes an additional 8-32 bars of music to the piece before passing it along to the next composer. The idea is that this a symbolic statement illustrating the notion that one lending hand passes on to another lending hand and so on and eventually a beautiful outcome is derived.

Composers Nathan Barr, Tyler Bates, Jeff Beal, Christophe Beck, Bruce Broughton, George S. Clinton, Elia Cmiral, Don Davis, John Debney, Randy Edelman, Andrew Gross, Dave Grusin, Marvin Hamlisch, David Kitay, Christopher Lennertz, Deborah Lurie, Lisbeth Scott, Theodore Shapiro, Ed Shearmur, John Swihart, Brian Tyler, Tim Wynn and Christopher Young provided the original music, which was arranged into a cohesive five-movement symphony by composer Pete Siebert and a team of orchestrators.

Conductor Lucas Richman led a 90-piece orchestra and a 60-piece choir made up of some of Los Angeles’s finest musicians, with vocalists Lisbeth Scott and Carmen Twillie (The Lion King) and multi-instrumentalist George Doering providing special solo performances, all of whom donated their services for free.

The five movements of the Symphony – titled “Prologue (Wongolo)”, “Destruction”, “Hymn for Haiti”, “A New Dawn” and “Finale and Hope” – play for just under an hour and run the gamut of emotions, ranging from traditional Haitian folk music to large-scale action, somber reflection, and majestic and uplifting hope, and is intended to musically depict Haitian culture, the tragedy suffered by the people of Haiti as a result of the earthquake, and their optimism as they rebuild for the future.

The music will be available as a digital download shortly, and plans are in place for a commercial CD release and possible live concert performance later in the year. All proceeds from the sales will go to a nonprofit organization, Hands Together, which is devoted to educating, inspiring and encouraging people to understand the importance of responding to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged. and has been instrumental in establishing schools, orphanages, nutrition and feeding programs, medical clinics, sustainable-development projects, and other important infrastructures in distaster-hit regions.

Further details will be posted at http://www.haitisymphony.com as they become available.

Here are some photos from the recording session; click the thumbnails for larger pictures:


With special thanks to Christopher Lennertz and Anne Roever, Ray Costa and Costa Communications, Dan Goldwasser and Mike Brennan.

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