After a year hiatus, Compas on Broadway resumed last week at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. The red-carpeted affair drew luminaries from the Haitian Music Industry, media personalities and politicians.
The highlight of the evening was when Anderson Cooper came to receive an award for his reporting in Haiti. He was feted to a standing ovation and resounding cheers that lasted about a minute. Minister of Culture and Information, Marie Laurence Lassegue, presented award of appreciation to a coterie of Haitian Americans who are working to promote Haitian culture in the United States.
This year’s edition of Compas on Broadway was a markedly improvement over the initial show. There were fewer technical snafus and it is clear that the organizers have learned a lot.
For one thing, the lavish or waste in flying in people from across the globe to attend the event was not repeated. There were other cost cutting measures that helped soften the financial loss – which was nevertheless significant – and might ensure another edition.
Having said that Compas on Broadway is a long way from being a top-notch event. The organizers need to hire a professional staff to run the show and surround the staff with a battery of volunteers whose primary goal is to ensure a smooth and nice show. There are plenty of devotees in the community who would love to be part of something like that and are not looking for glory.
We strongly suggest that the event be moved to another location, perhaps Manhattan Center, a place well suited for such an event. The organizers can save a bundle. We understand the reasoning behind holding it at the august Lincoln Center for all of its cache. But the HMI is not ready for something like right now, if ever.
We hope that Compas on Broadway will motivate artists, many of whom produce occasionally, to release an album or at least a single a year. The categories and prizes were incongruous with some bands winning for CDs that were released three years ago.
Haiti’s culture is the only thing worth salvaging right now, considering the state of the country. We applaud the effort, but we feel that Compas on Broadway has to step up and raise the bar. If the show continues to be organized the same way, it will have the opposite effect and may set back the HMI instead of its ostensible goal of moving it forward.