Milan Milisavljević, is assistant principal viola in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra.
Last year, concerned about the lack of resources in impoverished Haiti, he gave up a mid-season week’s break to help kids on the island with their music education. Here’s Milan’s story. Sample:
I staggered onto my return flight with serious food poisoning and without my wallet (which had been stolen during one of our nights out), and yet, I was profoundly sad to leave. New York was cold and snowy, and the difference between the place I had just left and the place I called home could not have been more jarring.
Despite my illness, I attempted to return to work at the Met the next day, and found everything to be sterile and incomprehensibly foreign. As I walked around my home, I would suddenly start crying, beset by memories and many unanswered questions. The powerlessness I felt was hard to deal with. The scope of problems in Haiti was overpowering, and what we did to help was just a drop in the bucket. I could not help but wonder what the lives were like of the people I had met. Although I did not know for sure, it was not hard to imagine the tremendous hardships most of them must have been through. And yet, the children showed up every morning on time, in their freshly pressed school uniforms, and eagerly played Bach, Telemann, and Mozart.
You might wonder whether any members of the Met’s board and management have made a comparable effort for the world’s needy.