M.C. Perry, Japanese students bring holiday cheer to MCAS Iwakuni
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Matthew C. Perry Elementary and High School students and Japanese students from Kawashimo Junior High School and Migama Elementary School gathered at the Marine Memorial Chapel at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for the annual holiday concert Dec. 8, 2015.
Family and friends filled the pews in anticipation of hearing the results of hard work and talent the students put into preparing for the concert. It is tradition that M.C. Perry School invites local Japanese schools to perform together in the holiday concert.
Noriya Uchidomi, principal of Migama Elementary School in Suo-Oshima Town, said it was a very meaningful and precious opportunity for his students to perform on a new stage set by M. C. Perry School students and to see them grow together from the experience.
“I was so honored to be invited to participate in this event,” said Uchidomi. “One of the goals my school set for our students this year was to challenge themselves and try something new. This holiday concert accomplishes that goal perfectly.”
The Samurai Choir, concert band, symphonic band, elementary school chorus and the Japanese guests performed an array of holiday music throughout the night. In finale, American and Japanese students came together and regaled the audience with “A Whole New World.”
Alan Strawbridge, M.C. Perry High School music director, directed the annual holiday concert for the last seven years.
“Interacting with our host nation is a great cultural exchange giving the students an opportunity to experience the Japanese culture,” said Strawbridge. “It shows the students that deep down we are all the same regardless of where we grew up or the language we speak.”
This year’s holiday concert not only opened a door of opportunity for the students to interact, this was the first time the host nation guests visited the air station.
“It was so fun to sing with the American students,” said Natsuki Sadamoto, an eighth grader at Kawashimo Junior High School. “I want to thank them for letting us come on base and for giving us such a warm welcome, it made me so happy to be here.”