Classical musicians perform Sunday to support children from Fukushima


Violinist Ursula Vietze and pianist Annu Shionoya of Kona will perform their favorite pieces such as “Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi for the ALOHA-KEIKI Ensemble Premier Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at Hawaiian Queen Coffee Garden.

The program also includes classical music pieces by Faure, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens and Mozart. Joining the concert are Motter Snell, a harpist from Seattle, who is a part-time resident of Kailua-Kona and Yumi Kikuchi, a flutist and co-founder of Fukushima Kids Hawaii, who moved to Kona after the earthquake and nuclear disaster March 11, 2011, in Japan.

Shionoya has been playing the piano in many musical scenes on Big Island. Visiting the Fukushima and Tohoku area to cheer up people with music after the disaster, she knows seriousness of the problem.

“I want to contribute to the well-being of Fukushima children with music. Music is my passion and it can heal and unite people’s heart, too,” she said.

Living and raising children in the still highly radioactive areas of Fukushima is a challenge especially for those parents with babies and young children because young people are more susceptible to radiation. Thirty children have had their thyroid removed because of cancer and 35.8 percent of Fukushima children have developed thyroid cysts.

Hiromi Suzuki, a mother of two children, Karin, 5, and Shuntaro, 3, arrived March 23 in Kona by invitation of Fukushima Kids Hawaii. The family will stay here until June 11 to escape the radioactive environment as her children have developed thyroid cysts. Fukushima Kids Hawaii provides a free shelter for mothers and young children for up to 3 months.

“I am just so grateful to be able to let my children play outside without worry. Coming here has given me a new and broader perspective about Fukushima,” she said.

Fukushima Kids Hawaii is a project of ALOHA-KEIKI, a nonprofit run by donations and volunteers. The funds raised by the concert will benefit the 2014 summer program which will invite 10 children with two chaperons to Hawaii for a month from July 20 to Aug 20. The organization has been raising money through various events but have not reached their goal of $30,000. There will be a silent auction with pupus and organic wine at the concert.

“Classic music concerts are rare in Kona. I hope we will be able to entertain the community and attract enough concerned people to attend the concert. We hope to be able to raise awareness of the community and sufficient fund as a result,”said Kikuchi.

Admission is $15 for an adult with a ticket, $20 at the door, free for a child with an adult. Five tickets are $60 and 10 tickets are $100 and valid for future Aloha Keiki Ensemble Concerts performed quarterly at the same venue.

For tickets, call Morita at 334-9616 For more information, visit fukushimakidshawaii.com.