Over 100 students from schools across the City of Rockingham have connected with pupils from the Ako Children’s Choir during a series of musical workshops and performances.
The Choir, which visited from Rockingham’s sister-city Ako, consisted of 18 children and was led by one choir master with support from four parents and school teachers.
The workshops were held at the Gary Holland Community Centre on Wednesday 27 March 2019 and featured students from Hillman Primary School, Rockingham Lakes Primary School and Rockingham Senior High School.
Workshops were divided into two sessions, with primary schools singing It’s a Small World in Japanese and English during a morning session and secondary students singing the Ako Song in Japanese and I Still Call Australia Home in English during the afternoon. Following the workshops, students returned for evening performances where the songs were sung in full voice with over 400 people in attendance.
City of Rockingham Deputy Mayor Deb Hamblin said the workshops gave all students the chance to connect and form lasting relationships.
“The Ako Children’s Choir is a supremely talented group and it was fantastic to see them link up with local students from across the City of Rockingham,” Deputy Mayor Hamblin said.
“Not only did the workshops and the performance give students a platform to showcase their singing talents in a supportive environment with family and friends, it also provided them with an opportunity to break down cultural barriers as they worked together to learn songs in both English and Japanese.
“The City of Rockingham has had a long and mutually beneficial sister-city relationship with Ako and I hope to see many more local schools engage with our friends from Ako in the future.”
The harmonious sounds of the Ako Children’s Choir will grace Rockingham Centre on Thursday 28 March 2019 from 5.30pm and City of Rockingham residents are invited to attend the special performance.
The choir, which is visiting from Rockingham’s sister-city Ako, will be performing a number of songs in both English and Japanese during the free concert. The choir of 18 children is led by one choir master and is being supported by five parents and schoolteachers from Ako.
Both the cities of Rockingham and Ako have been involved in a mutually beneficial sister-city relationship for 22 years. In previous years delegations from Australia and Japan have travelled to visit each other, engaging in a number of meetings to learn more about each other’s cultures and how they operate as local governments.The Ako Children’s Choir performing.
Mayor Barry Sammels encouraged residents to attend the free performance from the Ako Children’s Choir at Rockingham Centre.
“The cities of Rockingham and Ako have a longstanding friendship that dates back to 1997 and we are delighted to welcome the Ako Children’s Choir once again,” Mayor Sammels said.
“Each opportunity that we have to make contact with our friends from Ako is a special occasion that allows us to share cultural and educational knowledge.
“The visit from the Ako Children’s Choir this year will be marked by a special performance at Rockingham Centre and I encourage all residents to attend the concert to learn more about our sister-city friends from Ako.”
The Ako Children’s Choir last visited Rockingham in March 2016. Their visit three years later marks the eighth occasion the choir from Japan has visited Rockingham.
Year 5 and 6 students from Hillman Primary School have busy been forging ties with a Japanese school located in the City of Rockingham’s sister city, Ako, as part of an international collaborative learning experience.
Since September 2018, students from Hillman PS have been engaged with Une Elementary School through the International Intercultural Mural Exchange (IIME), which was facilitated with assistance from the City’s Global Friendship Committee.
The IIME is a project where schools from around the world are matched with a school from Japan to interactively learn about global themes and to also express their own culture through the development of a jointly created mural.
Hillman PS is the only Australian school to be included in the project and became involved after Ako City approached the City of Rockingham seeking the involvement of interested local schools. The City’s Global Friendship Committee then helped play a key role in establishing the partnership.
Une Elementary School was first to complete their half of a mural, with Hillman PS students starting work on their half in early February. Once it is complete, the mural will be displayed in Japan and may also travel to any of the other 64 countries in the IIME project.
City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said he was delighted to see that the efforts of the City’s Global Friendship Committee had been a success in connecting the two schools.
“The City of Rockingham has been engaged in a mutually beneficial sister city relationship with Ako for more than 20 years, so it is fantastic to see Hillman Primary School take the initiative and continue to build on that friendship,” Mayor Sammels said.
“The IIME project has a number of benefits for both the Australian and Japanese students, with both schools getting the chance to learn about cultures that are very different to their own.
“Students have also been corresponding with each other through photos and PowerPoint presentations, with the aim of developing friendships that last long after the IIME project has finished.”
Une Elementary School is a small education institution in Ako and eight students from the school are taking part in the project. Hillman PS meanwhile, has 15 students participating.
A delegation from the City of Rockingham is in Japan this week for a series of meetings that will strengthen the long standing sister-city relationship between the cities of Ako and Rockingham.
The cities of Rockingham and Ako have been engaged in a mutually beneficial sister-city relationship since April 1997. For more than 20 years representatives from both cities have visited each other, with a small delegation from Rockingham travelling to Ako in Hyogo Prefecture earlier this week.
During this week’s visit the delegation from Rockingham has met with Ako City officials to explore possibilities for wide ranging improvements for both communities.
Topics of discussion have included employment, economic development, tourism, aged care, disability services, rubbish disposal and recycling, as well as responding to climate change and the future of the Ako – Rockingham exchange.
The delegation also had the privilege of meeting with His Excellency Governor Toshizo Ido, Governor of Hyogo Prefecture. During this meeting Mayor Barry Sammels presented Governor Ido with a letter from Premier Mark McGowan.
In his letter to Governor Ido, Premier McGowan said he hoped the visit would provide positive improvements and outcomes for both communities. He also indicated his desire to see the relationship between Ako and Rockingham continue to thrive, along with other sister-city relationships involving cities in Hyogo Prefecture.
Mayor Barry Sammels said the visit to Ako was playing a vital role in strengthening the sister-city relationship.
“The meetings we have had with Governor Ido and many Ako City officials have given the delegation useful insights, ideas and knowledge that we can apply at home,” Mayor Sammels said.
“While both cities have vastly different histories, we both share the need to develop in areas like tourism, employment and economic development. Issues surrounding climate change, aged care and disability services are all universal, so by working together we can we can make lasting improvements to both of our communities.”
Upon their return, each member of the delegation will provide a written report to Council via the Global Friendship Committee. The reports will highlight the outcomes of the visit.