TERRE HAUTE —
A musical metaphor for memories breathed about Hatfield Hall Thursday as performers prepared for the weekend.
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology marks its 20th anniversary with Japan’s Kanazawa Institute of Technology this year, celebrating an educational partnership spanning more than miles. Professor of anthropology Scott Clark said the ongoing collaboration has yielded numerous exchanges, from classroom to sports.
But on the stage of Hatfield Hall, it was music to be shared. The work of international composer and performer Shunsuke Kimura will be performed Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. The concert, titled “INSHO,” will feature a unique style of Japanese music inspired by emotions and scenic landscapes.
Clark, an expert in Japanese culture, said 20 years ago Rose-Hulman began looking for partners in its effort to provide a global education. The needs of an international workforce, particularly in the fields of science and technology, necessitate an understanding of foreign cultures.
About the same time, KIT was initiating a similar outreach and had been working with the University of Hawaii, the president of which happened to be a Rose-Hulman alumnus, Clark said. A match was made and the relationship has since blossomed.
Dale Long, director of media relations at Rose-Hulman, said in years past, players and even coaches from the schools’ basketball and baseball teams have traveled back and forth across the waters. A basketball coach from KIT spent a year at Rose-Hulman working with players here in an effort to take American ideas back home. Meanwhile, Rose-Hulman athletes and scholars alike have gone to Japan to work on projects there.
“Partnership is bridging,” Long said.
A Japanese delegation from KIT has been arriving in town, including the university’s president, Ken-ichi Ishikawa. A grove containing 40 cherry trees will be dedicated to the relationship today near White Chapel, and tonight the group will dine in Indianapolis with the Japan-America Society of Indiana and representatives from Japan’s consulate in Chicago.
Saturday’s concert serves as a capstone to the weekend, and tickets are available to the public. Tour manager Tomoko Shimmura said the music is very distinctive.
“It’s been a pleasure being here. I know their music is very different than the others they’ve probably heard. I’m very excited to share that,” she said.
Shimmura recalled performing at Rose-Hulman in 2008 herself. An accomplished performer on the tsugaru shamisen, a Japanese three-string banjo, Kimura said she takes a unique approach that focuses on emotions and imagined landscapes.
Kimura won the Grand Prix Award at the 2002 All-Japan Tsugaru-Shamisen Contest, later directing a live performance at the Sense of Wonder World Environmental Film Festival. He also performs on the flute and will be joined by Shingo Ikegami, an award-winning specialist in the koto, the 13-string national instrument of Japan. Joining them will be Hiromi Nishida, a Tokyo-born violinist, and Ayuko Ikeda, a percussionist.
Kimura had just finished rehearsal at 2 p.m. Thursday inside Hatfield Hall and said this marks his first visit to Terre Haute.
“I’m very honored to play in this kind of event,” he said, noting the importance of celebrating a 20-year anniversary.
A resident of Saitama, a town located north of Tokyo, he complimented Terre Haute as a beautiful town with many good people.
Like Rose-Hulman, KIT shares a long-standing commitment to technology. Founded in 1957 as Hokuriku Dempa School in Kosaka-machi, Kanazawa, its original purpose was to train radio wave engineers. In 1962, it became the Kanazawa Technical College, and Kanazawa Institute of Technology in 1965.
Ticket information to INSHO can be obtained by calling 812-877-8544.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or email@example.com.