August 25, 2004
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.- The Doshisha Glee Club from Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan will perform at Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst on Thursday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m. The program will include sacred music, traditional and modern Japanese songs and spirituals. The concert is free and open to the public.
The Doshisha Glee Club dates back to the origins of Doshisha University, which was founded by Joseph Hardy Neesima, an 1870 graduate of Amherst College. At the opening of the university in 1875, Neesima, the two professors and eight students all sang hymns.
Neesima had been a young samurai when, hoping to open Japan to the Western world, he stowed away in 1864 for the United States aboard a ship owned by an Amherst trustee. Neesima studied for 10 years in the United States and returned to Japan to open Doshisha. Neesima was the first Japanese person to graduate from a Western college or university, and he hoped Doshisha would help modernize Japan.
The Glee Club is an all-male chorus, the oldest and one of the best known in Japan. The group has contributed a great deal to the popularization of Western music among the Japanese. This will be the Glee Club's fourth concert tour in the United States.
To this day Amherst College and Doshisha University maintain a long relationship that has offered students and faculty at both institutions many opportunities to study and teach abroad.