A Tokyo concert whose 2000-strong audience will include the Prime Minister of Japan has been confirmed as part of a forthcoming overseas tour by Southern Cross University's renowned choral group, Isabella A Cappella.
The group will perform 18 concerts during its extensive tour of Japan from 22 June to 10 July. Their touring agenda will include shows at several Tokyo venues, including the Australian Embassy and the Tokyo Foreign Press Club, as well as performances in Hiroshima, Osaka, Fukuoka - where they will also sing on a television morning show - and in Lismore's 'sister city', Yamato Takada.
The nine-member Isabella A Cappella, under the musical direction of JudeMagee, a lecturer in SCU's Contemporary Music program, will also perform at Japanese schools and universities. They will be accompanied on their tour by Mrs Tazuko McLaren, the liaison officer for Japanese student visitors at SCU, who will act as interpreter and coordinator.
Prior to their departure the ensemble will perform at two special fundraising concerts at the Ballina RSL Club (Wednesday, 16 May, 7.30pm - $20.00 inc. snacks) and the Customs House, Brisbane (Sunday, 29 April, 3.00pm - $20.00 inc. snacks and drinks). Noted local author Di Morrissey, who has a special interest in Japan, will be a guest speaker at the Ballina concert. The Brisbane concert will include a selection of Japanese music played by sisters Matsumi and Misa Yamamoto who are students at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University.
As well as fostering cultural links between Australia and Japan the concert tour is aimed at promoting the new Father Tony Glynn Centre for Japanese Language and Culture on Southern Cross University's Lismore campus. Construction of the Centre is nearly complete and an official opening will be held later this year. It is dedicated to the memory of the Lismore-born Marist priest who worked in Nara, Japan for 42 years after WW2. Dubbed the 'healer of hate' by his biographer, former Northern Star editor Jim Brigginshaw, Fr Glynn is a revered figure in Japan. He was awarded the Order of Australia, the MBE and Japan's Order of the Rising Sun.
Isabella A Cappella was formed in 1984 by the late Isabel Atchison and is made up of SCU graduates and students. It has released two CDs and toured nationally as well as undertaking successful tours of the USA, Japan (in 2000) and New Zealand.