Kakehashi Tohoku Event in support of victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami
The Rotary Club of Brisbane Mid-City has a sister-club relationship with the Rotary Club of Shinagawa, Japan, and our members are big supporters of youth and music focused aid and development. So, when we were approached to support the organisers of a Charity Concert raising funds to assist those affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, where funds raised would be used to buy musical instruments and equipment for pre-school children in the tsunami affected region, our members responded generously.
It was a 'grass roots' event, initiated by Steve Mason of Steve Mason Design and Takako Haggarty of Koto Brisbane (www.kotobrisbane.com), two passionate local Japanese-style musicians. Our club was able to assist with the financial management of the event, raising awareness, donations, manpower and attendance, including by partnering with the Queensland Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.qjcci.asn.au).
We are pleased to report that the concert and related donations raised more funds than anticipated and that, as usual, Rotary was instrumental in ensuring that 100% of the donations and event proceeds found their way to the people in need without any administrative, marketing or other overheads ... the advantage of being an international network of volunteers. Our Shinagawa sister-club also generously donated and were able to assist in verifying the bona fides of the recipient.
And, what an event! The concert sold out the QMC Multicultural Centre Theatre at Kangaroo Point on 8 March 2014, enjoyed TV news media attention, and was a wonderful celebration of Japanese music and culture. There were performances by Kurilpa String Quartet (Qld Symphony), Nozomi Omote & Nick Harmsen (Qld Symphony), Marimba, Bashow Kanagawa (Taiko drummer from Nara, Japan) and Takako Haggarty (Koto), among others. There was also a range of visual arts.
Most importantly of all, as the above photo shows, the children at the International Preschool Pinocchio in Tohoku, Japan, are reaping the musical and learning benefits, and will continue to do so for years to come. Our members were delighted to contribute to such a worthwhile cause. The club had contributed ShelterBoxes in 2011 for immediate aid but of course, the need for aid continues long after the news agencies stop reporting on an event, and our club members were grateful for the opportunity to help in bringing some music and joy back to the lives of our little brothers and sisters at the International Preschool Pinocchio in Tohoku.