By Ben Mirin
As seen in The Concord Journal.
On September 23rd, Concord received its largest ever delegation from Nanae, the town’s Japanese sister city. A group of seventy-two delegates filled the cafeteria of Concord Carlisle High School around 9pm to meet their host families and settle in for a week of exchange programs, official sister-city events, and sightseeing.
“We’ve been planning the events for this delegation visit for nearly a year now,” said Dr. Tom Curtin, Concord-Carlisle High School’s former guidance counselor and Concord’s primary coordinator and linchpin for the towns’ increasingly rich sister city history.
“We’ve just finished arranging all the homestays, and the group we’ve got on board to help host and entertain this year’s delegates is incredibly strong. We’re also excited to welcome some new faces from Boston into the sister city program, who have helped organized some exciting trips for us downtown.”
This year Nanae’s delegates will make several time-honored visits to Concord sites, including the Old North Bridge and the Orchard House. Curtin has also arranged tours of Harvard Square, the Japanese wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, and Berklee College of Music, with a special live performance by Japanese faculty member and trumpet virtuoso Tiger Okoshi.
Nanae has been sending its citizens to Concord almost every year since 1993, first informally and then officially after Concord’s Board of Selectmen voted to formalize the sister-city relationship in 1997. Historically, these groups have been on the smaller side, rarely amounting to more than twenty people. Students and teachers from Nanae’s elementary, middle, and high schools have comprised the majority of each delegation, alongside representatives of the local government. Members of the town’s taiko drum ensemble, interpreters, and many other citizens have also been in the mix.
But this year’s group is so large because of a promise that was made early on in the Concord-Nanae relationship, which will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary in October 2012. The Concord-Carlisle High School band director, Alfred Dentino, has been waiting to see it fulfilled.
“We first sent our Concert and Jazz bands to Nanae in 1998” Dentino said. “The trip was a great success, and our students loved having the chance to visit Japan. I’ve been waiting for the chance to host Nanae’s high school band in Concord ever since.” Read more