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CD to aid Haiti relief efforts

Bridget Feeney | Thursday, March 31, 2011

Coldplay. Madonna. Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, Saint Mary’s professor.

These three people have one thing in common – they are all musicians who have contributed to the Haiti relief efforts.

Jacobs is a professor of music and a world-renowned pianist, who will soon join the ranks of other musicians who reached out to rebuild Haiti after last year’s earthquake killed thousands.

Jacobs will release a CD in the coming weeks titled “Music for Haiti” to benefit aid projects in the earthquake-ravaged region.

“I was so moved and overwhelmed by the terrible earthquake,” Jacobs said. “I was just touched by the how the whole world came together – what else brings us all together besides the World Cup?”

Jacobs said he began working on the CD over a year ago.

“I was just touched by the outpouring of aid from other nations, how everyone pulled together to support Haiti,” he said. “But unfortunately, much of that promised aid was never sent.”

More than 14 months after the earthquake, Jacobs said Haitians still go without vital medicines and access to clean drinking water. Anticipating this type of “benign neglect,” United States Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush established the “Bill Clinton—George Bush Fund for Haiti.” Jacobs said 75 percent of the profits from “Music for Haiti” would go directly towards this fund.

The CD contains of five classical songs composed by Jacobs. He recorded two of the pieces with the London Symphony Orchestra at Abbey Road Studios and two with the Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra. Jacobs said he recorded the final piece himself on the piano.

The five pieces explore and evoke the grief, fear and hope the Haitians have experienced since the earthquake, Jacobs said.

“The pieces are representative of the people’s emotions. Grief for the anguish they felt at the loss of their family and livelihoods, fear for their present and hope for the future,” said Jacobs.

The parts that represent the darker side of the emotions are all in minor keys, but the more hopeful movements are performed in major keys. Jacobs said these changes produce melodic and uplifting feelings.

Despite his constant hard work and relentless determination, Jacobs said the process was not without complications and difficulties, but he also said he was pleased with the final product.

“I know I won’t make a million dollars or top the charts with this CD,” he said. “But as Presidents Bush and Clinton point out, every dollar makes a difference — every contribution has an impact. I want people to take away a message of hope from listening to this CD.”

“Music for Haiti” will be available for purchase at www.NewArielRecordings.org for $17.99 in two to three weeks.