The Higashikawa Band, consisting of the Higashikawa Junior High School Wind Orchestra, the Higashikawa High School Wind Orchestra, and alumni of each, from Higashikawa, Hokkaido, Japan is visiting Galway and Dublin this week. The visit which is an initiative of the EU-Japan Fest Japan Committee was planned to take place during Galway European Capital of Culture in 2020 and will now come to fruition this week.
Following two years of severe restriction in Japan, the band which consists of 60 of Japan’s finest young wind and brass players will spend five days in Galway. They will be delivering concerts in schools during which time the young Japanese students will be integrating with Galway school children by exchanging cultural identities and sitting in on classes.
Schools to be visited during the exchange are; Ballinasloe Secondary School, Claddagh National School and Coláiste Bhaile Chláir on Thursday September 15.
The Higashikawa Band will also engage, rehearse and perform with students from Athenry Music School, the Galway Chamber Choir and St Patricks Brass Band Galway and Ballinasloe Brass Band.
The Galway visit will culminate in a Performance in Galway Cathedral on Sunday September 18 at 7:30pm. The concert will be a veritable feast of great music from Ireland and Japan with free admission. The event will feature the Higashikawa Band alongside students from Athenry Music School, the Galway Chamber Choir and St Patricks Brass Band. The visit and concerts are being curated and artistically directed by Professor James Cavanagh in collaboration with Claddagh School of Music, Athenry Music School and St. Patricks Brass Band.
Following their concert in Galway, The Higashikawa Band will then travel to Dublin where they will perform at Our Lady’s Hospice Harold’s Cross and also with the renowned, Dublin Concert Band at All Hallows Church Drumcondra on Tuesday 20th September at 2000. There will be free Admission to all events.
EU Japan Fest Japan Committee is an organisation established in November 1992 in Japan to support collaborative programs between Japan and Europe within the European Capitals of Culture (ECoC ) every year. They contribute to the development of healthy global society by supporting global activities of Japanese community members and artists involved in the service of regional communities and social and cultural responsibility. They have supported cultural exchanges and activities in 53 European Capital of Cultures in 31 countries.
EU Japan Fest and Galway European Capital of Culture enjoyed many exchanges and projects until COVID in 2020. The visit of a youth Orchestra along with a large-scale collaborative performance with Symphonic Waves was postponed. The Concert will now take place in Galway on Sunday 18thSeptember 2022 at 19:30 in Galway Cathedral and will be supported by the Galway Culture Company and Galway City Council as a continuation of the international relationship with EU Japan Fest Japan Committee. As part of the exchange the Chairman of EU Japan Fest Japan Committee Mr. Kunibe will come to Galway. Mr Kunibe is also the chairman of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG ).
Speaking about the visit Brendan McGrath, Galway City Council Chief Executive said,“We are delighted to welcome the young people of Higashikawa to Galway and we are very much looking forward to further exchanges with our colleagues in EU Japan Fest, it’s one of the many legacies of the European Capital of Culture designation.”
Also speaking about the visit Professor James Cavanagh said “It is a great honour to be invited to curate this visit by the Higashikawa Band to Ireland. Through music, these young musicians will share their musical and cultural identity with young Irish musicians, all of which will create wonderful experiences and long-lasting life-long friendships. Music is indeed a global asset to be cherished .”