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On July 21, the Min-On Concert Association organized a “Lecture Concert” series featuring White Hand Chorus NIPPON, the Japanese chorus affiliated with its eponymous organization founded in Venezuela in 1995 for hearing impaired children, under the auspices of the Min-On Music Museum. The concert was held at the Tosa City Cultural Complex Tsunāde in Kochi prefecture, drawing some 250 people. The second performance took place at Min-On’s Museum Hall in Tokyo on July 28, where some 150 attended.

Opening both concerts with a keynote speech was His Excellency Seiko Luis Ishikawa Kobayashi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Japan. He described White Hand Chorus as being as much a chorus as a social initiative to advance peace and inclusivity through music.

Director of White Hand Chorus NIPPON Erika Colon, a soprano singer and spouse of Ambassador Ishikawa, also spoke. Noting that 15% of the global population, or 1.2 billion people, have a disability of some kind, she said her chorus seeks to bring music to all people so they may live together in harmony. She referred to Beethoven, who saw in music and the arts the capacity to promote social progress and freedom, to underscore the importance of society including all people, regardless of their disabilities, for the betterment of all. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, moreover, she shared that White Hand Chorus NIPPON would be traveling to the United Nations Office at Vienna to perform the famed composer’s Ninth Symphony by sign singing, where the chorus members will be performing expressively in sign language.

Following the lecture, Ms. Colon held a workshop on sign singing, with the entire audience taking part in their own rendition of the Ninth Symphony. A photo session of attending parents and their children was also held by photographer Mariko Tagashira.

The White Hand Chorus NIPPON lecture concert will take place at the Kanazawa Citizen’s Art Center in Ishikawa prefecture on August 26.

This event and other outreach initiatives are made possible through the donations contributed by Min-On subscribers and other donors.