Collaborative concert “At Home in the World” in Uganda caps off a successful tour!
KAMPALA, Uganda – It was an incredible festival celebration! On August 23rd, 2016, Ndere Center, in Uganda, with a normal capacity of 1000, was packed with over 2,000 spectators who shouted with excitement, danced to the beat, and enjoyed the thrilling concert hand-in-hand with the performers.
This story began five years ago, when President Tamai visited Vassar College, alma mater of the writer Jean Webster in the United States. There, President Tamai met with Vassar College President Catharine Hill and suggested the idea of joint sponsoring a collaborative concert. Around the same time, the world-renown stage director John Caird had offered his cooperation after experiencing, in his words, “that Tamai magic”. Without these three people, the concert would probably not have happened. Nearly five years later, the Ashinaga Uganda Terakoya Kids, Vassar College Choir, and a taiko drum group made up of orphans from the Tohoku tsunami came together for the “At Home in the World” series of collaborative concerts. These three groups of young people, all from different countries and backgrounds, gave their first impressive performance in Japan, followed by standing ovations in New York and Washington, D.C., before capping off their successful world tour in the Terakoya Kids’ home country, Uganda, on August 23rd, 2016. When talented young people unite and share their respective cultures, a new world of possibilities is born, bringing forth a great representation of the ideals of Ashinaga’s educational programs. Seeing that, all the spectators were thrilled to pieces.
A number of VIPs were present, including Ambassador Kameda, the US and Egyptian ambassadors, the wise former cabinet minister Baba, Dr. Margaret Mungherera, and the guest of honor, Uganda’s Acting Minister for Higher Education. The visitors listened with great interest to the students’ vision of a 100-year plan for supporting higher education for African orphans. Audience and performers alike celebrated a night full of joy and gratitude.
Written by Satomi Amano & Yukie Seki
Photos by Atsushi shibuya