BY EMILY NYE – Last week’s tsunami and earthquake in Japan thwarted plans for a joint concert featuring a Japanese community band and the Honolulu Community Concert Band.

The good news:  the 48-members of the Omiya City Wind Symphony of Saitama  were safe and sound after the devastating natural disaster.

The bad news:  they were unable to leave Japan for their much-anticipated trip to Honolulu and their concert with the Honolulu Community Concert Band, which was scheduled for Saturday, March 12.

Members of the Honolulu Community Concert Band received the final word about their visitors barely 24 hours before the planned concert.  The Honolulu Community Concert Band, directed by Les Tanaka, had been preparing for the event since early January.

Members decided to proceed with the concert without their Japanese guests, but the concert was quickly transformed into a benefit to raise funds for disaster relief to Japan.

More than 300 people attended the concert, and $5,000 was raised.

“Hopefully sometime in the future, when things settle down, we can talk again about joining up, “ said Tanaka.  “But for right now, family and safety come first and foremost.  Our hearts go out to all those in Japan affected by this terrible disaster.”

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