MIAMI – Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dorrin D. Rolle rang in the new year by supporting the 21st Annual Haitian Independence Day Concert, which was presented on Thursday, January 1, 2009 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.
The event featured famed Haitian singer Farah Juste, who paid tribute to life and music of Martha Jean-Claude, known as one of Haiti’s national treasures. Juste sang songs to a packed house that Jean-Claude was unable to release before her passing.
In its 21 years, this was the first time the Annual Haitian Independence Day Concert was held in a venue as large as the Arsht Center, and the second Haitian event supported by Commissioner Rolle held at the theater.
“This concert was a way to not only celebrate an important milestone for Haiti, but also showcase the island’s rich culture and performing arts in a venue as prestigious as the Arsht Center,” said Commissioner Rolle. “I am immensely proud that my office had the opportunity to coordinate such a successful tribute to Haiti’s 205 years of independence.”
Several notable figures from Miami’s Haitian community had a hand in organizing the concert. Jensen Desrosiers served as producer and director, Bob Lapierre as playwright, and Jowee Omicil – a newcomer to Miami’s jazz scene – as musical director. Omicil’s direction brought a fresh perspective to the annual concert, bringing the event to an unprecedented level of success.
Commissioner Rolle has been instrumental in bringing and supporting legendary and up-and-coming Haitian artists in South Florida. The commissioner is currently working with Juste to develop a music workshop for children, with Omicil as director. Commissioner Rolle was also an advocate for the Haitian Jazz Festival last year, and plans to help promote the event in 2009.
Farah Juste (front left) and Jowee Omicil (right), along with an accompanying ensemble, perform at the 21st Annual Haitian Independence Day Concert on January 1, 2009 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.
(Photo credit: Rudy Pierre/InStyleVision.com – New York)