Eight high school students from the O. Perry Walker band in New Orleans, together with eight interns from Tipitina’s Foundation, will soon be going to Japan for an exchange of culture and music. But this is more than just an overseas field trip, because the story extends way back to the tsunami that hit Japan, and even to Hurricane Katrina.
In 2011, when news hit the world about the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of Japan, the people from Tipitina wanted to help out. They got in touch with Yoshio Toyama, a Japanese musician who has played in New Orleans for years and is called the “Satchmo of Tokyo”. He directed them to a small town in Sendai region to which the Foundation sent money to help. They would later find out that this town that they helped in their time of need had sent them their help too, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This created a bond that transcended continents between two communities both hit by natural disasters and both willing to extend their hand and resources to help.
To the students of O. Perry Walker, this is also a chance of a lifetime. Some have never gotten out of the U.S., while some have never even ridden an airplane. But more than that, it is also a chance for them to share with the people of Japan their culture and love for music, and might hopefully learn a thing or two about Japanese music as well. To the principal of the school, this trip presents the students with a lifetime of opportunity ahead of them. This isn’t just a chance of a lifetime, but the first of a lifetime.
[ via LTV ]
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