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Northwestern ensembles will join together to perform and record musical gift for Japanese tsunami victims on disaster anniversary
Mar 07, 2012 | 397 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Northwestern State University’s Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice Estelle Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts will present a concert intended to send a musical goodwill message to earthquake victims in northern Japan on the anniversary of the natural disaster. “A Song for Japan” will begin at 8 p.m. Friday, March 23 in Magale Recital Hall.

According to Dr. Masahito Kuroda, concert organizer, “A Song for Japan” was originally composed by Dutch composer Steven Verhelst and has been performed around the world “to send musical good thoughts to people who are suffering due to the catastrophic tsunami and earthquake in northern Japan.” Kuroda is assistant professor of euphonium, tuba, sound recording and music technology at Northwestern State and is a native of Japan.

“It is 12 months this March since the disaster and the rebuilding of lost communities has been very difficult over there,” Kuroda said. “For this occasion, I have arranged the music to include all the NSU brass players, choir, percussions and piano, both students and faculty. This new arrangement for mass ensemble is going to be world premier event that night and video of the concert will be sent to Japan as a musical gift.”

The concert will feature the NSU Chamber Choir under the direction of Dr. Burt Allen, the NSU Concert Choir under the direction of Dr. Chris Gilliam, the NSU Trumpet Ensemble under the direction of Galindo Rodriguez, the NSU Horn Choir under the direction of Dr. Kristine Coreil, the NSU Trombone Choir directed by Dr. Mark Thompson, the NSU Euphonium-Tuba Ensemble directed by Kuroda, pianist Dr. Christine Allen, and the NSU Percussion Studio under the direction of Ken Green.

“The performance is a part of worldwide musical project called Song for Japan-East Japan Earthquake Tsunami Charity Collaboration Project,” Kuroda said. “It was started by a group of trombone players in Japan and Europe shortly after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami disaster in March 2011, which took approximately 16,000 lives. As of February 2012, 3,300 people are still missing.”

The project commissioned a musical work, and with the composer's permission, made “A Song for Japan” available to musicians around the world through the Internet so it can be performed by anyone.

“It is a beautiful melody which can be arranged to wide variety of instrumentation,” Kuroda said. “They ask the musicians to video record the performance and send it electronically to them as well as posting it on YouTube.com, so that they can show the performances to the people in the affected area as a musical goodwill present from people around the world.”

Since its launch, professional and amateur musicians from around the globe have responded, ranging from the musicians of the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic and European music conservatory professors to middle school trombonists from California performing in their backyard, Kuroda said.

“When I was first introduced to this musical goodwill endeavor, I immediately thought of arranging this beautiful ballad to euphonium-tuba ensemble so that we can dedicate the performance in our NSU Euphonium-Tuba Ensemble spring concert to the people of Japan,” Kuroda said. “When I finished arranging it and shared it with my students, we came up with an idea of extending our invitation to perform it to other university brass ensembles and choirs. I have been just so moved that everybody I talked to has given us such warm support by their willingness to share their musicianship in order to send musical cheer to the people in Japan. I just completed the new arrangement for this massive ensemble and we are all very excited to perform it.”

The March 23 concert is open to the public, and will be video recorded.

“I think it is going to be even more wonderful if we can film not only the performers but also the audiences who share the feeling in music.” Kuroda said. “So please join us by coming to the concert, and be a part of this musical present to the people in Japan. After one year, they are just beginning to rebuild their communities. So many people are still living in temporary housing facilities with limited supports. They can rebuild houses and buildings in time. But what has been lost from their heart is just too great. I believe the musical event like this will send them a warm message that many people around the world are thinking of them, and I think music is one of the best ways to reach people's hearts.”

For more information on the concert, e-mail Kuroda at kurodam@nsula.edu For more information on the Song for Japan-East Japan Earthquake Tsunami Charity Collaboration Project visit www.trombones.jp.

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