Tono, a very small town in northeastern Japan, will be welcoming personalities from the New York theatre scene for the First Annual Tono American Music Festival on Saturday, Oct. 6.
Tony award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown (Parade) and TRIBECA composer-in-residence Georgia Stitt (Watertown), along with singers Keith Byron Kirk and Sally Wilfert, will kick off the concert, from which all proceeds will go to the relief effort in New York.
Other guests scheduled to appear include soprano Valerie Johnson, dulcimer virtuoso Stephen Seifert and the gospel group Agape.
Donations will be accepted at the concert and the first stitches on a quilt for the New York Fire Department will be sewn. Four other festival concerts will be making similar efforts.
Kevin Simmonds, the festival's artistic director, said in a statement, "The locals simply can't believe that four New Yorkers are willing to come all this way and share their music at a time like this. For Japanese, in the aftermath of such a tragedy, it's almost unthinkable to return to 'business as usual' so quickly. But to me, it simply shows just how strong, determined and resilient Americans, and especially New Yorkers, are." For more information about the festival, visit the website at www.tonoarts.org.
— Steve Luber