Flutist hopes to turn music into aid for homeland

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May 13th, 2011

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[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Chiyo-Kamada-Wrap.mp3]

Omaha, NE – A Blair middle school music director hopes to bring relief through her music back to her homeland of Japan, which continues to rebuild after a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Kamada's brother stayed in the town of Sendai, Japan, which was struck by a tsunami. (Photo credit Wikimedia Commons)

On March 11th, Chiyo Kamada’s family felt the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked eastern Japan.

“When I heard about the news, I tried to contact all of them,” Kamada said. “But my father was the only one I could get a hold of through email, because the phone connections were all down. And when I found out that my father could not get a hold of any of my family members, I realized how serious it was.”

Kamada said after a ten hour walk and emergency bus ride home, her mother was able to safely make it back to her home in Chiba, Japan, an eastern suburb of Tokyo.

Her sister also made it back to Chiba, driving through damaged streets without working traffic lights. Kamada’s father stayed the night in his Tokyo office and her brother, a student, stayed with his Russian professor in Sendai, a town which soon after the earthquake, was hit by a ravaging tsunami. But despite the chaos, Kamada’s family was spared any “life-threatening” damage.

Now, Kamada hopes to help other families affected by the tsunami, using her talents as a flutist.

Chiyo Kamada's recital will include Bach and traditional Japanese songs. (Photo courtesy Tim Pallesen)

Kamada studies under the Omaha Symphony’s Maria Harding. She also plays piano and the piccolo. This Saturday she will be holding a benefit recital, which will send 100% of the funds raised directly to families affected by the disasters in Japan.

“I will send all the money to the General Consulate of Japan in Chicago and they will take no processing fee or handling fee. 100% will go to the towns that were affected directly by the earthquake and tsunami. The money will be distributed to individual people and families there,” said Kamada.

She plans on playing a few classics including Bach’s “Flute Sonata in E Major”, and said she will also share some traditional Japanese songs.

“I will add three Japanese pieces– “Haru no Umi,” “Sakura Sakura” and “Ue o Muite Aruko.” “Haru no Umi” is a famous traditional koto (harp) piece,” she explained.

“The second song, “Sakura Sakura” would probably be one of the most famous Japanese songs here in the States, and the title means cherry blossom, which is our national flower. And lastly, “Ue o Muite Aruko,” which literally means I shall walk with my head up, looking up.”

Chiyo is returning to Japan a week after this weekend’s recital. She said basic necessities are up and running, but she knows the road to recovery is long. She said the camaraderie of the Japanese people and the world has grown stronger.

“My hope is that we will not forget how we have come together, and how we received help and support from our friends all over the world. And I hope that we can rebuild beautiful Japan again together.”

Admission is free and the recital will be held this Saturday at the First Lutheran Church in south Omaha. The show begins at 1 p.m.

Listen to Chiyo’s rendition of “Akatombo”
[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Red-Dragonfly.mp3]

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