The Tokyo International Singers (TIS) are fervently hoping they will be performing before a big audience on May 9. And for once, it won’t be entirely about the music, as good as that promises to be. This time, the ensemble is hoping for a full house because its contribution to the Japan Foundation for Cancer Research, which the performance benefits, should then be substantial.
Since 1981, cancer has been recognized as the leading cause of death in Japan. In 2006, according to the Japan National Cancer Center, almost 330,000 people in this country died from the disease, and the government, since 1984, has been investing in cancer research.
The results of these initiatives so far, while encouraging, have been insufficient, and will remain so until the ultimate objective, finding a cure for cancer, is achieved. But research is expensive and needs all the funding it can get. This, plus the fact that several of its members have themselves been affected by cancer, prompted TIS to add its contribution to the fight against the disease.
At the May 9 concert, TIS will perform Antonin Dvorak’s Mass in D Major Opus 86 and the Liebeslieder Waltzes 1-18 by Johannes Brahms, featuring soloists Jang Min Kug (soprano), Misato Iwamori (mezzo-soprano), Makoto Kuraishi (tenor) and Tetsuro Kitamura (baritone) accompanied by organist Mineko Kojima and pianists Jonathan Kats and Akemi Watanabe.
The group’s conductor is longtime Tokyo resident Marcel L’Esperance, who founded TIS, a choir boasting members from several countries as well as Japanese nationals, in 1980 with his wife, the late Carol Melby, who recently lost her own battle with cancer. There are not too many things that would benefit the world more than a cure for cancer. TIS, therefore, is hoping that the public will turn out in support.
Tokyo International Singers perform at the Oota Kumin Hall Aprico in Kamata from 7 p.m. Tickets are ¥4,000. tokyo-singers.org.