Japanese and American citizens to hold concert at U.N. headquarters in March

by Aya Kano, Staff Writer

On January 10, the executive committee of the Japan-U.S. Cultural Exchange Project in Hiroshima, involved in preparations to mark the 70th year of the atomic bombing in 2015, announced that it will hold a concert for peace and hope in New York this March.

A total of 58 people, ages 13 to 82, including 40 men and women the committee had invited from the public last year and chorus group members from Elizabeth University of Music in Hiroshima, will travel to the United States. They will perform about 10 songs for staff members of the United Nations starting at 8 p.m. on March 25 (local time) in a conference room at U.N. headquarters. The performance will last an hour.

One of the songs will be the English version of a Japanese song called “WATASHI WA OMOU I THINK.” The lyrics of the song were written by Itsuki Katayama, 12, a sixth grader at Hara Elementary School, located in Asaminami Ward, Hiroshima, and are based on a story she heard from an A-bomb survivor. An American composer then added a melody to Itsuki’s lyrics. Members of a U.N. chorus group, as well as members of a local children’s orchestra, will also take part in the performance.

On March 26, a joint concert for local citizens, with members of a youth choir in New York, will take place at the Church of St. Joseph in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. The travel costs to the United States will be shouldered by the participants.

After the United Nations Singers, comprised of U.N. staff members, celebrated the 65th anniversary of its founding with a concert in Hiroshima in May 2012, the executive committee of the Japan-U.S. Cultural Exchange Project decided to stage a concert with residents from both cities.

Yasuo Harada, the chair of the committee and a former president of Hiroshima University, held a press conference at Hiroshima City Hall on January 10 and said, “I would like to extend a message of peace from Hiroshima to the world.” In 2015, the 70th year of the atomic bombing, the United Nations Singers are expected to return for another performance in Hiroshima.

(Originally published on January 11, 2014)