Benefit concert with A-bombed piano held to raise funds for New York concerts

by Yuki Kuwata, Staff Writer

On February 22, in preparation for concerts set for New York this September, a benefit concert was held at the old Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium in Naka Ward to raise funds for shipping the piano and other expenses. At the event organized by a citizens' volunteer group led by Munefumi Takemoto, 250 people listened raptly to the music.

The upright piano which was exposed to the atomic bomb at a house in Sendamachi, Naka Ward was positioned between the mound and home plate. Five music groups performed including Shinji Harada, a singer from Hiroshima, and a chorus group from Kure City. They played pieces of classical and opera music, and sang a choral piece called "The Blue Skies Are" to the powerful accompaniment of the piano.

Since 2001, Mr. Takemoto and the members of his group have produced more than 400 concerts with A-bombed pianos at various locations in Japan. This year they plan to hold concerts in New York around September 11 to remember the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Misako Matsuda, 66, who enjoyed the music behind the backstop of the old ballpark, shared her hopes by saying, "The sound of the piano will surely touch the hearts of New Yorkers."

(Originally published on February 23, 2010)

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