"Things we will never forget"
- Japan Stone Arts Inc. CEO
It is a privilege to sponsor this concert at Carnegie Hall on February 26, 2013, originally planned as a gathering to give thanks to the many in America who have come to the aid of Japan following the East Japan great earthquake disaster in March, 2011.
On March 11, 2011, the earthquake struck while I was in Japan, and I spent the next month consumed with efforts in Japan to cope with the disaster. The following month back in New York where my business is headquartered, I learned that Broadway theaters were regularly following their curtain calls with appeals for donations to send to Japan. From the cab driver who returned my tip with the words “it’s not a lot, but take it to the people in Japan,” to the many programs of assistance, America stepped up.
In keeping with New York’s legacy of the arts, culture and entertainment, we envisioned a production that would showcase several core performance traditions of Japan with the theme of gratitude. But as time went on and the enormity of the devastation became clear, I felt there was something more to accomplish as well.
On October 30th, 2012, that “something more” became clear as Hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey / New York coastlines. In my apartment in Soho, the lights went out, cell phones went dead, and we were by candlelight. Once again, I could feel a quality of the absolute in nature’s power, in its force and the ease with which it could make the works of humans seem small. In the midst of such power, we are humbled. Yet we also show our enormous capacity to survive, to endure, and to show compassion.
This concert will reflect the thoughts, hearts and minds of the many different people in both Japan and America involved in helping the survivors and remembering the victims of these two natural disasters. The University of Tokyo Choir, who are performing on February 10 in Tokyo to benefit the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, will perform pieces from the East and the West. I know Japan will never forget the tragedy of the earthquake, and will always remember the compassion shown by people throughout the world. I believe that on February 26, the concert hall will be filled with the spirit of the many kind hearts that have come to the aid of thousands in both America and Japan.
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