Choir set to perform “Earth Song” to convey the tragedy of war and the A-bombing

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

The Choir Acacia, a choir comprised of alumni from Hiroshima University Junior and Senior High School (in Hiroshima City), will perform “Earth Song,” a piece which conveys the tragedy of war and the atomic bombing, at a concert to be held at Hiroshima Prefectural Culture Center on November 24. The idea came from senior alumni, survivors of the bombing. Nearly 100 people, more than twice the number expected, have agreed to sing “Earth Song” at the concert, indicating wide support for the piece. The choir is now in rehearsal for the concert.

“Earth Song” was written in 1962 by Atsuo Oki (1895-1977), a poet from Hiroshima, and is comprised of seven movements, including “Deadly Ash (Nuclear Fallout)” and “Psalm of Praise for the Earth.” In his lyrics, Mr. Oki expressed both his anger over science being employed for war and the development of the A-bomb as well as his hope for peace in the future. Members of the choir are practicing “Earth Song” with these messages in mind.

Prior to this year’s concert, which will commemorate the 20th anniversary of The Choir Acacia, alumni from Hiroshima University Junior and Senior High School, including Koji Matsuo, 71, suggested singing “Earth Song.” Mr. Matsuo, a company executive who experienced the atomic bombing and now lives in Tokyo, says the song is more vital than ever, considering the current threats of war and nuclear weapons. Nearly 100 people, from teens to those in their 70s, including students of Hiroshima University Junior and Senior High School and non-alumni, are set to perform “Earth Song.”

“I would like to sing this song to convey the message of Hiroshima,” commented Hiroko Takahashi, 50, a pharmacist and a member of the choir. Daisuke Watanabe, 26, a city employee, added with enthusiasm, “I hope the younger generation can understand the spirit expressed through “Earth Song” when we sing it.”

(Originally published on November 9, 2008)

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