An Oregon choir sings a song of Hiroshima

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

A citizens’ choir from the Medford area of southern Oregon, U.S.A., will sing a song that expresses atonement for the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The venue is an A-bomb exhibition to be held in Medford from September 20. The event was arranged by Hideko Tamura Snider, 74, who is a member of the choir, a resident of Medford, and also a survivor of the atomic bombing.

The song, titled “From America to Hiroshima,” appeals for world peace and an end to war, noting that people were killed indiscriminately by the bomb. The expression “Oyurushi o” (“Forgive us”) is voiced repeatedly in Japanese.

The choir has about 40 members. They visited Hiroshima in August 2006 at the suggestion of Ms. Snider, who was born in Hiroshima. Dave Marston, a musician and the director of the choir, came to appreciate the horror of the atomic bombing on that trip and wrote the song on the spot, saying to himself, “This is exactly the purpose of my trip to Japan.”

Ms. Snider has cooperated with Hiroshima City to bring the A-bomb exhibition to Medford. It has been decided that she will describe her own experience of the atomic bombing at the exhibition, and the choir will also perform. Ms. Snider says, “We need courage and determination to do this in the United States, which still tries to justify the atomic bombing. I hope that many people will listen to this song.”

Mr. Marston has published a CD of the song at his own expense. It is available for 500 yen at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

(Originally published on September 19, 2008)