Swiss band plays music of peace to praise achievements of Dr. Marcel Junod

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Japan, the “Corps de musique de Landwehr,” the official musical band of the State of Geneva, visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on October 21. The band and the City of Hiroshima jointly held a ceremony to honor the achievements of Dr. Marcel Junod, a Swiss medical doctor who brought medical supplies to Hiroshima and treated survivors shortly after the atomic bombing. The band conveyed their wish for peace through their music.

Fifty band members in light blue swallow-tailed coats attended the ceremony held in front of the main building of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The band members, who are between 19 and 69 years old, played five pieces, including the city song of Hiroshima and a march, while Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui and tourists listened.

In between the pieces, Commandant Nicolas Kunz stated, “We feel honored and impressed to be able to perform here.” He laid a wreath of flowers at the monument dedicated to Dr. Junod, located in the green belt to the south of the park.

Among the members of the band is Chiyo Watanabe Rohrbasser, 53, a clarinet player who is originally from Aki Ward, Hiroshima. Her mother is an A-bomb survivor. She went to Switzerland to study music 30 years ago and has been living there ever since. She commented, “I’m deeply moved to be able to play music with my fellow musicians in my hometown. I played with the wish that this tragedy will not be repeated.”

On the evening of October 21, the band held a joint concert at Nishi Ward Cultural Center with the Brass Band Club from Suzugamine Girls’ Junior High School and Senior High School.

(Originally published on October 22, 2014)