Japan Outreach Inititative
One of the most profound teachings I learned from the time I spent with Herbie Hancock was the realization that music, is a universal language that can change the way people think, and may be the only tool that can bring about a sustainable world peace. Jazz music has a tradition of breaking down barriers, uniting people from foreign lands and initiating a healthy, positive dialogue between cultures from around the world. During my studies at Berklee College of Music, and career as a professional pianist, I have met and played with musicians from all over the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, England, Italy, Germany, Russia, Turkey, China, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Egypt, Greece, West Africa, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Australia, and Taiwan. Music in my life has served as a tool for connecting with people, ideas, and cultures from all over the world, and has changed my perspective to see people from all nations and backgrounds as my brothers and sisters in the human family. I am now trying to spread this understanding and awareness through the power of music with my group of international musicians, Unidentified Fusion Orangement, to Japan, which has recently undergone many traumatic disasters and has been receptive to jazz music through hosting International Jazz Day in 2014. Jazz music has been the voice of freedom since it’s creation in the early 20th century for over a million peole in the United States and around the globe. Jazz music is the perfect tool for cultural diplomacy because it values diversity, welcomes new ideas, encourages responsibility, sincerity, and fosters both inner reflection and communal interaction. It is the perfect language for uniting people from foreign lands and serving as a bridge between cultures, belief systems, and ideologies.
Beginning from July 15th 2015, I will be taking my musical group on a two week cultural outreach program to Japan to demonstrate the ability of jazz music to bring people together from around the world and have a positive impact on a foreign nation. The group will consist of Berklee students from around the world: Alexander Anderson from San Diego, California playing piano and synthesizer, Connor Steck from Portage, Wisconsin playing soprano saxophone, Tomoki Sanders from Irabaki, Japan playing tenor saxophone, Will Lyle from Orange County, California on the electric bass, and Juan Chiavassa from Santa Fe, Argentina playing percussion. We plan on conducting clinics at local music schools, perform seminars at music manufacturing companies, host jam sessions inviting local musicians, conducting musical therapy sessions at special needs facilities, and performing in concert halls and jazz clubs to promote the ideas of intercultural exchange and understanding through improvised music.
In order to fulfill the intentions of this cultural outreach program, we require appropriate funding to cover the cost of transportation, lodging, food, and promotions. Five round trip tickets from Boston to Tokyo will cost $6,000, two weeks of lodging for the five of us will cost around $2,000, and two weeks for food and other miscellaneous expenses is going to be around $2,000. This does not factor in the cost of documenting the events in the form of audio/video recordings. In total, a minimum of $10,000 must be raised to cover the bare expenses of this cultural outreach program. Any organizations, donors, or government agencies that may be able to sponsor this program are essential, and is a primary goal of ours. Any events, workshops, or receptions that we as a group can take part in to demonstrate the effect, impact, and reality of our undertaking are more than welcome to reach out to me personally, I would love to receive any advice, direction, or encouragement from those who are interested in this outreach initiative.