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Southern Cross University choir Isabella a Cappella perform on Hiroshima TV

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Published on Dec 5, 2011

An earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear reactor damage failed to dampen Isabella a Cappella's love of Japan and its people, with the Southern Cross University choir recently returning from its seventh goodwill tour of the island nation.
Choir director Dylan Curnow said they were made to feel very welcome.
"A lot of artists had cancelled their tours to Japan because of radiation fears so it was nice to be able to something charitable," he said.
Mr Curnow said the choir held a concert in a high school evacuation centre in Kazu city, in Saitama near Tokyo, where a thousand people had been relocated from around the Fukushima nuclear plant.
"The people there particularly appreciated our performance because they were the people who had been displaced."
There Isabella a Cappella handed over almost $3000 raised from CD sales and donations collected during their concerts in Australia before embarking on the Japan goodwill tour.
"That amount is a drop in the ocean when there's trillions of dollars of damage, but the gesture is important."
Mr Curnow said Mr Sakai, the French Iron Chef from the well known TV program Iron Chef was at the concert and he promised to come back and cook for the evacuees.
Other tour highlights were performing at Tokyo Disneyland and an early morning performance on Hiroshima TV.
"It meant getting into the studio quite early in the morning, with everyone's voices still quite scratchy. But we had enough time to warm up and get ready for the performance."
Southern Cross University's Professor Baden Offord arranged for a concert at Tokyo University, where he is currently a visiting Professor Visiting Professor in Australian Studies at the Centre for Pacific and American Studies.
Mr Curnow: "Baden told me after the concert there was a PhD class who were going to go through a video of our entire performance and study every aspect of it. I'm curious to know what they thought and what sort of sociological information they derived!"
The University's Chancellor The Honourable John Dowd AO QC joined Isabella A Cappella at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo for their final performance. The Australian Embassy was the choir's official supporter for the tour.
Back home and the goodwill has continued.
Earlier this month, Isabella a Cappella headlined a fundraising and charity concert at Invercauld House, organised by Father Paul Glynn. Father Glynn, together with his brother the late Tony Glynn, devoted their lives to reconciliation between the two countries post-World War Two.
Despite the terrifying series of events that unfolded, Father Glynn said the Japanese maintained their dignity and stoicism.
"There was no screaming and no stealing and we can learn from that," he said.
"Little boys quietly lined up and bowed as the men in radiation suits came along and did radiation checks on them."

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