Gala evening’s entertainment for Japanese Tsunami relief fund

A gala evening’s entertainment in aid of the Japanese Tsunami Sendai relief fund was held at the Riverbank in Newbridge recently.

A gala evening’s entertainment in aid of the Japanese Tsunami Sendai relief fund was held at the Riverbank in Newbridge recently.

The event, on Friday June 3, was attended by Tatsuo Kitagawa, the Charge d’Affaires, and Mr Yamanouchi from the Embassy of Japan.

The evening of music, dance and song organised by Paula Conlan of Stageworks Stage School in an effort to raise funds for the Sendai Relief Fund.

Newbridge has surprisingly strong connections with Japan. During the 1990s, there was a school for the children of Japanese ex-pats, the Sundai Ireland International School, on the Green Road (a site now occupied by Gael Scoil Chill Dara and Newbridge Educate Together).

Newbridge hosted the Japanese team during the Special Olympics in 2003. More recently, the Holy Family Secondary School has had a sister-school exchange programme with Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School. The school is in the tsunami disaster zone in Sendai. On March 11, a powerful, magnitude 9.0 quake hit Sendai, triggering a tsunami with 10-meter-high waves. The giant waves deluged cities and rural areas alike, sweeping away cars, buildings, a train, and boats, leaving a path of death and devastation in its wake.

The Holy Family Secondary School has been fundraising in a bid to offer some practical support to Sendai. Paula decided to bring together some of the local community’s most exceptional talents to show solidarity for the Sendai community. All of the performers willingly agreed and volunteered to perform for free and RTE star and Newbridge native Brenda Donoghue was the entertaining MC for the evening.

The mesmerising music of Fifth String, the haunting vocals of Ceithre Cairde, the humour and smooth sounds of Michael F. Malone and the stunning performance of Lorraine Nolan were among a few of the fantastic performances.

The talent and musical excellence of Newbridge’s next generation of star performers was left in no doubt with the exceptional performances of the Patrician Primary Brass Band and St. Conleth’s Music and Singing Groups, St. Conleth’s Variety Groups and Stageworks Stage School. Mr Kitagawa commented on the overwhelming support and kindness that shone from the Riverbank at the event. He thanked the people of Newbridge for their powerful sentiments of solidarity and expressed that it would give great comfort to the people of Japan. He also commented that he had thoroughly enjoyed the talented performances.

Students from the Holy Family Secondary School, Rhiannon Hoey, Katie and Niamh Conlan and Demi Casey launched the charity CD that they had compiled in a bid to fundraise. Mr Kitagawa expressed admiration for the students in their proactive initiative. A Book of Condolence was signed by participants at the event and will be presented to the Ambassador of Japan at a future date. The Book will be available for signing until Wednesday, 15th June in the Holy Family Secondary School. Donations for the fund can still be made at Bank of Ireland, Newbridge.

According to the organisers, all involved with the evening would like sincerely wish to express their condolences to their friends in Japan.