Japanese School Band to Perform with Galway Youth Ensembles

The Higashikawa High School Band from Higashikawa, Hokkaido, Japan are visiting Galway and Dublin between 12 – 21. September with concerts in Galway on 18 September and in Dublin on 20 September.

The visit which is an initiative of The EU-Japan Fest Committee was planned to take place during Galway European Capital of Culture in 2020 and will now come to fruition this September.

Following two years of severe lockdown 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 on Monday, 12 September. Claddagh National School on Tuesday, 13 September and Coláiste Bhaile Chláir on Thursday, 15 September.

The Higashikawa Band will also engage, rehearse and perform with students from Athenry Music School, the Galway Chamber Choir, St Patricks Brass Band, Galway and Ballinasloe Brass Band.

The Galway visit will culminate in a performance in Galway Cathedral on Sunday, 18 September 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 High School 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 High School Band will then travel to Dublin where they will perform at Our Lady’s Hospice, Harold’s Cross and then another performance with the renowned, Dublin Concert Band at All Hallows Church Drumcondra on Tuesday, 20 September at 8pm. There will be free admission to all events.

EU Japan FestCommittee is an organisation established in June 1993 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 a 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 59 European Capital of Cultures in 31 countries.

EU Japan Fest and Galway European Capital of Culture enjoyed many exchanges and projects until the pandemic 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, 18 September at 7.30pm in Galway Cathedral.

It will be supported by the Galway Culture Company and Galway City Council as a continuation of the international relationship with EU Japan Fest Committee. As part of the exchange the Chairman of EU Japan FestCommittee Mr. Kunibe of EU Japan Fest Committee will come to Galway. Mr Kunibe is also the chairman of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)

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 High School 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 .”

As part of the visit members of the EU Japan Fest Committee, including their Chairman Mr. Kunibe will also visit and meet with various social, cultural and business organisations.

The visit which is at the initiative of EU Japan Fest Committee is supported by the Embassy of Japan in Ireland, Galway Culture Company, Galway City Council, Galway Convention Bureau, Galway Chamber of Commerce and Galway Cathedral and Dublin City university.