Stevie Wonder gives keyboard to quake survivor

February 17, 2010 11:23:55 AM PST
A classical musician who survived the Haiti earthquake knows his road to recovery will be long.

But, he now has a new tool to help him along the way -- thanks to a fellow, and famous musician.

For 18 hours Romel Joseph lay buried in the rubble of his music school in Port Au Prince. For 18 hours until his rescue, the concert violinist stayed alert and alive going over in his head one by one, every concerto at every concert hall he'd ever played. Romel was badly broken, his legs crushed, bones in his left hand shattered. But the concrete that covered him, would not, could not kill him.

"I thought my time was up under the ground. And God says, no. You have things to do," said Romel.

Three weeks ago, we met Romel, who is legally blind, for the first time. He mentioned he'd like a keyboard to help strengthen the fingers in his left hand so that someday he could again play the violin. Stevie Wonder heard and answered Romel's request.

"What better way to express God's love than to give something that is special to you to somebody else who is in need. That's why I did it," Wonder said.

Wonder's keyboard was packed and shipped, arriving Tuesday at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital. Romel didn't know it was on the way

As the keyboard was set up, Romel was carefully moved to a wheelchair. He sat over the keyboard, his legs, one held together with metal rods, resting on pillows. he began to play. Of course, a Stevie Wonder song. Even the fingers on his damaged left hand glided across the keys with a gentle touch.

Stevie Wonder also sent a message.

"Oh Romel. I am hoping you enjoy this keyboard I am giving you. I used it on the last concert that I did," said Wonder.

"I would really like to thank him, Stevie Wonder, for his generosity. I'll be practicing on the keyboard every day to keep my fingers going," said Romel.

Romel will be out of the hospital soon. When that happens, he'd like nothing more than to play a concert for Haiti, he on the violin and Stevie Wonder on the keyboard.