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The 71st Tohoku Hope Concert was held at Rifudaisan Elementary School in Rifu Town, Miyagi, on the September 3.

Youmi Kimura, the singer and composer of Always with Me—the main theme from the film “Spirited Away” that put her in the limelight—performed with Toshio Nakagawa, known for his work as a composer of several commercial jingles.

Plucking the strings of her lyre, Kimura recited many of main theme songs from Studio Ghibli in her warm and gentle voice, including Always with Mefrom “Spirited Away,” the main theme from the animated feature “My Neighbor Totoro” and Merry-Go-Round of Life from the movie “Howl’s Moving Castle.” She also performed Flowers Will Bloom. In total, 391 children and other attendees enjoyed the event.

To show gratitude for the concert, the children gave a speech and sang Utae Ban Banas a chorus. The gymnasium rang with the spirited voices of the school children.

As a special surprise, Kimura and Nakagawa also performed Rifudaisan Elementary’s school song in chorus with everyone.

Many of the children were deeply touched by the day’s events, with overjoyed comments including, “Listening to such wonderful music made me feel at peace,” and “The Tohoku Hope Concert made me want to try many different songs and instruments.”