MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture--As a local choir member, Ena Ota is used to performing in public, but she admits some butterflies forming for her next performance.
Ota is the leader of the MJC Ensemble, a junior and senior high school girls’ choir based in this city, which will hold a joint concert with the world-renowned Vienna Boys Choir in Tokyo on May 2. The ensemble was affected by the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident in the prefecture last year, forcing most of the members to evacuate.
“I am a little scared about singing with a world-famous choir,” said Ota, 15. “But we will send our message by singing along well.”
The famed boys’ choir, known for its angelic voices, tours Japan almost annually, but its performances were canceled last year due to the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The joint concert was planned by the Austrian National Tourist Office, which wanted to reach locals in the disaster-stricken areas through music.
The MJC Ensemble was chosen as the group to collaborate with the Vienna Boys Choir, which will be touring in Japan from late April through July.
After the accident at the nuclear plant, most of the MJC members evacuated to places in and outside the prefecture, leaving only one member in town at one time. But members would return for rehearsals. Currently, 19 of the 22 members reside in Minami-Soma.
The group’s activities included a performance at a national choir competition last August; singing the “Kimigayo,” the Japanese national anthem, at the 2011 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix in October; and participating in a concert in New York in March.
“Many people have paid attention to a mere country choir like ours during the past year," said Ota, a first-year high school student, who now lives in Sendai. "I have been grateful for that.”
At the concert, each choir will sing its numbers, followed by a joint chorus in Japanese of “Hana” (Flowers) composed by Rentaro Taki.
MJC members, who received the score on April 22, said they found the music, specially arranged for the upcoming concert, to be difficult.
The concert will start at 4:30 p.m. at Ark Karajan Place in Tokyo's Minato Ward. Admission is free.
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