Hi, BCC Community! My name is Matthew, and I sing in the Young Men’s Ensemble at BCC.
I first joined BCC in 8th grade. I was looking for an outside club for music - first I joined an orchestra, because I played the saxophone. Then, my mom told me that I had an audition for BCC. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I walked into the first rehearsal, I was hooked.
One of my most memorable moments was that first rehearsal. I saw Dr. ATK standing on a chair, and everyone was up and singing “Kalinda” by Sydney Guillaume. It was completely different than anything I’d ever experienced, and I think it was then that I realized that I wanted to stay and be a part of this community.
Before I joined BCC, I wasn’t always proud of the fact that I’m a first-generation Haitian American. I’ve lived in communities where Haitians were seen as dirty or poor, and badly looked upon. I came to BCC and saw how the culture here celebrated and enjoyed the Haitian culture I come from through songs like “Kalinda” and “Men Ale, Men Vini.” It really warmed my heart and helped me to be proud of my heritage. As the child of immigrants, I’ve heard stories from my mom of how difficult it was to move to the United States. She was not escaping conflict or natural disaster, as many immigrants who come to our country do, she was just looking for a better life. We say that America is a place for people who want to find a better life for themselves and for their family. After being provided the chance to create that better life, to be told to go back, to be turned away after being welcomed and building a life and creating a community, it’s sad. I’m glad that at BCC, I am accepted for who I am, and I can contribute to a larger musical goal.
I definitely agree with the fact that BCC has changed the way that I interpret music. I feel like I connect with music in a completely different way, to me it used to be anything that came on the radio, our what I sang in church. Now, every piece is a story, and in that story I can understand the emotions of the person who wrote and what they were trying to get across to their audience. I think that’s really special to me.
Advice for younger singers - rehearsals are important!