Pioneer High School and Japanese Youth Orchestras present free Friendship Concert at Hill Auditorium

no6The Toyota City Junior Orchestra, which is visiting from Japan in August for several performing events, will join the nationally renowned Pioneer High School Symphony Orchestra in a unique Friendship Concert at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Aug. 8.

The concert is open to the public, and admission is free. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The Japanese student orchestra, made up of 17 students between the ages of 10 and 22, arrives in Michigan on Aug. 2. Though the orchestra has played with world-class musicians and has traveled outside of Japan, this is its first visit to the United States. During their weeklong trip, the students will stay in dormitories and with host families from Pioneer High School. They will play another public performance with the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra and will attend social and cultural events during their visit. Among their activities will be a reception hosted by Dr. Kazuyuki Katayama, the Consul General of Japan in Detroit.

“We encourage and support these types of educational and cultural exchanges,” said Consul General Katayama. “Japan and Michigan share a great friendship, one that grows stronger as a result of these types of activities.”

Akiko Toyoda, the delegate leader of the Toyota City Junior Orchestra, proposed partnering with Pioneer High School Symphony Orchestra to host the Japanese orchestra because Pioneer is recognized by the GRAMMY Foundation as one of the top 10 school music programs in the United States. Akiko Toyoda is the wife of Kanshiro Toyoda, the Chairman of Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd. IMRA America is wholly owned by Aisin and has been a strong supporter of Ann Arbor Public Schools through the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation. IMRA celebrates its 25th anniversary this August.

“The opportunity to host and share the stage with musicians of the Toyota Junior Orchestra is truly an honor for the musicians of the Pioneer Symphony Orchestra,” said Jonathan Glawe, director of orchestras at Pioneer. “We whole-heartedly embrace collaborations with other orchestras because we all share the same vision of creating a memorable musical experience. The fact that the performance will be at historic Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor adds to the excitement for all involved. I know we will learn a lot from each other and we look forward to getting to know the students outside of the orchestra as well as in our combined social events.”

Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift added: “This cultural and musical collaboration is a perfect example of the global nature of education and highlights the important role that the business community plays in supporting teaching and learning.”

The program for the Friendship Concert includes a Japanese summer medley of songs, the theme from the movie “Princess Mononoke,” the theme from the movie “Castle in the Sky,” Anton Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9,” Aaron Copland’s “Hoe Down from Rodeo” and “Nimrod” from Enigma Variations.

“This event kicks off the Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation’s efforts towards supporting the arts through teacher and district-wide grants. We are fortunate to be able to celebrate student talent and further our students’ musical ambitions,” said Linh Song, the foundation’s executive director.

The event is sponsored by IMRA America Inc., Ann Arbor Public Schools, Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation, Japan Business Society of Detroit and Toyota Motor Corporation.

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