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Memorial, benefit today for those still coping with disasters

The Sound Singers, an off-island Japanese choir, will be one of several groups to perform Saturday, March 24 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland.  - Photo courtesy of Rumi Keast
The Sound Singers, an off-island Japanese choir, will be one of several groups to perform Saturday, March 24 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Rumi Keast

More than 100 adult and youth performers will gather to sing in memory of the more than 20,000 earthquake victims and survivors of the Indian Ocean, Haiti and Japan.

A memorial service and concert titled “We Are One” will take place starting at 2 p.m. today at Trinity Lutheran Church in Freeland. Singing groups include Open Circle Singers, Shifty Sailors, the Japanese choir Sound Singers, Trinity Lutheran Church Choir, ICTHUS Youth Ensemble, Luceat Lux Singers, Karl Olsen, Linda Good, Beverly Heising, Elizabeth Lovelace, Talia Toni Marcus and others.

Rumi Keast said she has organized four Japan benefit events with others since a devastating earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011, which have raised nearly $13,000 to date.

“Our motto is doing what we can for continuous support,” Keast said.

“One year has passed since the great earthquake in Japan and the tragedy is being buried somewhere deep below our immediate concerns in our busy lives, ever-changing world situations and other disasters,” she continued.

“In reality, we cannot afford to think about those tsunami survivors in Japan all the time. That is why we felt so grateful to people who decided to come and attend the past Japan benefits out of their many choices. They extended love to the Japanese people.”

Keast’s vision for the future is to continue to remember the Japanese earthquake victims and the donations from this benefit will go to Japan Lutheran Emergency Relief, an organization that provides professional mental healthcare for 1,000 families in Ishinomaki’s temporary housing area. These families come from one of the most severely affected areas, where 80 children were killed by the tsunami.

However, she wants the memorial also to remember and pray for victims of the 2010 Haiti and 2004 Indian Ocean earthquakes and hopes that future Whidbey Japan benefits will also benefit the Haitians, as well.

“Haiti is still far from recovery and people still live in rubble. Through the event, we will try to raise awareness among people, including Japanese, about not only Japanese survivors but Haitians. The memorial is planned so that we can share the feelings of anyone who lost their loved ones. The service will be a heart-warming gift for those who are grieving,” Keast said.

The first half of the service will include requiems, healing music and prayers offered by Christian ministers and Buddhist monks. The second half will be a concert with four singing groups and sing-alongs with the audience, celebrating diversity and togetherness.

This event is organized by Whidbey Japan Benefit and hosted by Trinity Lutheran Church. Tahoma One-Drop Zen Monastery will make vegetarian sushi for an after-the-event reception.

Admission is free and donations are appreciated.

For more information visit www.whidbeyjapanbenefit.wordpress.com.

 

 

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