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#3038: Haitian choirs join in celebration of millennium (fwd)
Published Tuesday, March 28, 2000, in the Miami Herald
Haitian choirs join in celebration of millennium
by DOMINIQUE COLLINS BERTA
The soft strumming of an electric guitar and the subtle beating of
drums served as a prelude to the Hymn to Creation, as a collective
Haitian choir raised its voice in song at St. James Catholic Church at
the corner of Northwest 131st Street and Seventh Avenue.
About 350 people filled the pews to listen to the concert of Catholic
hymns sung in Creole, French and English by the choir assembled with
singers from six churches in Miami. It was the first time the choirs had
come together to celebrate the jubilee year. Led by Choir Director
Antoine Etienne, the group's four months of weekly practice paid off as
the singers' voices resonated inside the church to mark the start of the
Haitian Millennium Festival. ``[It's] to celebrate the millennium, to
celebrate the evolution of the Catholic Church in Haiti and the history
of the Haitian community in Miami,'' Etienne said. Michael Derrick,
music director for the Archdiocese of Miami, said the concert
celebrated Haitian heritage. ``All of these parishioners are from
parishes with predominantly Haitian members,'' Derrick said. ``It's to
get people to collaborate.' The program of songs and readings of
biblical events ranged from the Book of Genesis to the Apocalypse.
Carline Mildor, a law student on spring break from Florida State
University, hailed the concert as an expression of community solidarity.
``This is something for us,'' said Mildor. ``We're getting some events
geared toward us in the church and in the city.''