ORANGE CITY – One of Japan’s leading handbell choirs is returning to northwest Iowa, and will perform Monday, July 27 at 7:00pm at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City.
The Glee Handbell Choir, from Meiji Gakuin Higashimurayama High School in Tokyo, tours the United States biennially, and last performed in Orange City in 2013.
The handbell choir has been part of the ministry of Meiji Gakuin since 1981, and earlier the school had a glee club, which also toured the States as part of a home stay program. Rev. Norimichi Odate, current exchange program director, was one of the members of the glee club in 1975, and later became a Northwestern College student, graduating in 1980. Ron Korver began the school’s exchange program, said Odate.
Directors of the Glee Handbell Choir are Mr. Takanobu Onoda and Mr. Kazuyoshi Inagaki.
The choir has performed for enthusiastic audiences in the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, CA, at the Handbell Exploration in Phoenix, and on television and radio in Japan.
The choir’s five-week tour and home-stay begins July 19, and takes them to Philadelphia, Edgerton, Omaha, Cedar Grove, WI, Hudsonville, MI, Auburn, CA and San Francisco. The choir members will present concerts, sightsee, and get acquainted with American culture via host families. “The choir is here to show our school’s appreciation to the host families, host churches and contact people,” said Odate.
The choir will also present a concert at Carmel Reformed Church on Sunday, July 26, and tentatively at the Sioux Center mall. The concert July 27 is sponsored by Northwestern College Intercultural Affairs, Trinity Reformed Church and Orange City Arts.
No admission will be charged for the concert, but a freewill offering will be received to assist with the school’s 2015 tour, and for maintenance of the handbells.
For more information, contact coordinators Janet and John Renes of Sioux Center (712-722-0327), Northwestern College Intercultural Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org).