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Harmony Across Continents

It was a very early morning in late February when the Dakota Collegiate (DCI) Concert Band boarded planes for Kochi, Japan, to perform in the 11th International Goodwill Charity Joint Concert. In an event that takes place every three years, DCI joined bands from the Presbyterian Ladies College in Sydney, Australia, the University of Languages and International Studies in Hanoi, Vietnam, and students from Meitoku Gijuku School in Kochi to play for an appreciative audience at the Kochi Prefecture Concert Hall. Meitoku performers included students from Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) who had been living and learning on the campus for six weeks as part of a long-standing exchange program.  

For these LRSD students, the concert was the culmination of months of dedicated preparation and rigorous practice. Each band played several pieces and then came together en masse to showcase their extraordinary playing skills on the same stage used by nationally renowned orchestras, performers and musicians. It was an evening to remember, a testament to the students' hard work and commitment, for the students, their band directors, and those in the audience. 

This was the first trip outside of Canada for many and a chance to immerse themselves in a very different culture. They were able to experience the sights, sounds, language, customs and food of a foreign country firsthand. While on the Meitoku campus, students participated in taiko drumming and traditional flower arranging and assisted Japanese students in their English language learning journey, fostering a sense of global understanding and cooperation.

After a week at the Meitoku School, students spent several days touring and sightseeing before returning home. Making traditional paper, climbing to the top of Himeji Castle, visiting Kinkakuji Temple, walking in the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, and seeing the iconic Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island were just some of the many enriching opportunities students enjoyed.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum provided time for somber insight into an event that impacted the world long before the students were born. The emotional heaviness of being in a place where such a horrific crime against humanity took place was lightened by the placing of 1,000 origami paper cranes, folded by students at Hastings School, at a memorial to Sadako Sasaki in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. 

Global citizenship continues to be learned and lived by LRSD students. In this case, time spent immersed in Japanese culture saw students return to Winnipeg with memories and experiences that will last a lifetime, and shape who they are and how they view the world. They were respectful and conscientious ambassadors who represented their school, LRSD, and Canada, well.  

Click on image to enlarge.

Two students framing castleItsukushima Shrine
Arashiyama Bamboo Grovememorial to Sadako Sasaki
traditional flower arranging taiko drumming