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Monday, 21st October 2013
In Japan Entertainment News,

Fukushima mothers perform at Carnegie Hall

A performance from the 140-member Fukushima Mothers' Chorus Association (FMCA) brought tears to the eyes of audience members on Saturday (October 19th) when they sang at the Japan-US Chorus Festival at the world famous Carnegie Hall.

They were joined by a local female barbershop quartet-style group The Harmony Celebration Chorus, as well as mixed chorus Choir TOMO which is chaired by Sendai-born music director Mike Shirota.

The end of the concert saw all participants group together in a crowd-pleasing rendition of Climb Every Mountain and Ave Maria, but the FMCA was met with particularly enthusiastic applause due to their determination to rebuild their homeland through song.

"To sing our songs to the world in this grand hall with our heads held high was wonderful," commented chorus chair Yuko Miyake. "We will rebuild Fukushima."

Despite the fact that the group sang their songs in their native Japanese language, audience members were quick to comment on their exceptional performance.

"The language didn’t make a bit of difference. The emotion showed through," said onlooker Chris Murphy.

Representatives of the choir also spoke of their experiences in Fukushima when the 2011 tsunami ripped through their houses, including 16-year-old Ryoka Endo, who said she screamed when she thought she might drown in the waters.

"I realised the importance of my life. I think we should all remember how important our everyday lives are," she said.

As part of what was undoubtedly an inspirational and touching evening, Haiku poet Madoka Mayuzumi read the lyrics to Soshite, Haru, a piece that she herself composed. There were also recitations of haiku written by victims of the floods, offering a rare insight into the shock felt by those affected.

Choir and chorus performances throughout Japan are fairly common, with 32 groups and 750 members in the Fukushima prefecture alone.

Visitors to the country would be wise to catch a performance as it is likely to be an emotional experience, not to mention a glance into a seldom-celebrated part of Japanese culture.

Written by Graham McPherson