Japan-bound choral group to play Ballina

Published 4 May 2001

Gearing up for an extensive tour of Japan that includes a concert attended by the new Japanese Prime Minister, the acclaimed choral group Isabella A Cappella will perform at a special fundraising night at Ballina RSL Club on Wednesday, 16 May at 7.30pm.

Comprised of Southern Cross University graduates and current students, the 9-voice ensemble was founded in 1984 by the late Isabel Atchison and has gained a reputation for performing excellence. Now under the musical direction of SCU lecturer Jude Magee, the group's repertoire encompasses a diverse range of styles, from pop and jazz to gospel and classical.

It has released two successful CDs and undertaken national and overseas tours, including the USA, Japan (in 2000) and New Zealand. For the forthcoming tour of Japan, from 22 June-10 July, the group has been perfecting several Japanese songs, including 'I Believe in the Future' and the perennial favourite 'Sukiyaki'. Their songbook also includes works by Gershwin, Lennon & McCartney, Don McLean and other popular composers.

The group will perform 18 concerts in Japan, including shows at schools, universities and a nursing home, and at Tokyo venues such as the Australian Embassy and the Tokyo Foreign Press Club. Other performances are in Hiroshima, Osaka, Fukuoka - where they will also sing on a television morning show - and in Lismore's 'sister city', Yamato Takada.

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 SCU's Lismore campus. The Centre 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 where he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun. He also held the Order of Australia and the MBE.

Entry to the Ballina concert on Wednesday, 16 May, 7.30pm is $20.00 inc. snacks, with tickets at the door. Jim Brigginshaw will be the guest speaker. Another concert will be held at the Customs House, Brisbane on Sunday, 20 May, 6.00pm - $20.00 inc. snacks and drinks, with a guest recital by acclaimed young Japanese pianist, Masumi Yamamoto, now studying for her Master of Music at Griffith University.