Japanese American History - A Moab Music Festival Concert


Moab hosts The Moab Music Festival which was founded in 1992. New York based musicians, violist and Artistic Director Leslie Tomkins and pianist/conductor and Music Director Michael Barrett started the Festival.

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A musical concert telling part of the Japanese American experience of World War II will be held as part of the Moab Music Festival in September 2021.

Moab is a small town with red rock in Utah. It is a place of scenic majesty to which many tourists from around the world and residents of Utah flock each year.

Moab hosts The Moab Music Festival which was founded in 1992. New York based musicians, violist and Artistic Director Leslie Tomkins and pianist/conductor and Music Director Michael Barrett started the Festival. Being captivated by the red rocks of Moab, they were inspired to make beautiful music amidst what they considered a magical landscape.

The Moab Music Festival has won awards for their outstanding work. They are noted for distinctive programming, excellent performances, and unique concert experiences. They feature many different types of music.

Well known artists perform at various venues in the area. Some concerts are held at private ranches and homes. Some are outdoor and others are inside locations. They take advantage of the beauty of nature in the area.

The concert called "Lost Freedom: Japanese American Confinement in the United States" is part of this year's Festival. It will be narrated by George Takei of Star Trek fame. The program is a world premiere of a Moab Music Festival commission by Composer-in-Residence and violist Kenji Bunch.

Actor and author George Takei and his family were removed from their home on the West Coast during World War II simply because they were of Japanese ancestry. Takei will review his experiences of growing up in Japanese American Confinement camps during World War II. Takei will take the audience through a dark period of American history when Americans who were ethnic Japanese were unjustly stripped of their property and liberty.

The concert will also be honoring three living Japanese American composers.

Little known is the fact that there was a temporary camp called the Moab Citizen Isolation Center which held Japanese Americans during World War II. This new work by Kenji Bunch is to honor those individuals who were unjustly incarcerated at Moab.

Some people who were incarcerated at another of the American concentration camps in California were accused of causing some trouble so they were sent to Moab. It was a temporary facility which housed around fifty men at a time. It ws open for around six months.

The concert tells an important and little known part of American history as it allows participants to enjoy the scenic beauty of the red rock country of Moab, Utah.

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