A music project sponsored by Sompo Welfare Foundation has been brought to orphan students at Hope School in Da Nang, aiming to heal wounds, nurture hope, and offer a love for life.
The "Vietnam and Japan Light up Hope Together" project kicked off the first show on March 13 and the second on the International Children's Day, June 1, being consulted by conductor Honna Tetsuji of the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra (VNSO).
Students at Hope School in Da Nang sing at a concert brought by Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra musicians, June 1, 2023.
VNSO artists played the music, with singing performed by Hope School students.
Hoang Quoc Quyen, CEO of Hope School, said the journey to bring the music project to it students took some time.
Quyen said when he sent the application to Japan, Taketoshi Nagaoka, Head of Hanoi Representative Office of Sompo Japan Insurance Inc., General Director of United Insurance Company (UIC), and Chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Vietnam (JCCI), asked if they could wait.
"I told him the kids couldn't wait to be healed. They still have to grow up even though their parents are no longer around. Their suffering needed to be comforted immediately. Finally, Mr. Nagaoka was persuaded."
When the music project was approved, Nagaoka discussed it with his friend, conductor Tetsuji, who supported the project and brought the musicians in his orchestra to the school without hesitation.
Many children at Hope School had never heard classical music or seen a violin or cello in real life. Quyen thought the kids needed to have fun and music can spread joy.
To keep the children engaged in the show and excited about it, Quyen assigned them to help organize it, from designing the stage and arranging performances to practicing by themselves. The stage was also set up in the open air so that the music blended into a broad, friendly space without walls.
Musicians performed famous works for the students, such as "Salut D'amour" (Love's Greeting) by Edward Elgar, the "Turkish March" by Mozart, "Merry Go Round" from "Howl's Moving Castle," or "Under The Sea" from "The Little Mermaid." The students also joined the orchestra, performing famous Vietnamese children's medleys. The children's choir received the loudest applause.
Throughout the performance, the children expressed how they have learned about love and passion at the school. One older girl gently pulled a little girl's shoulders on stage to keep her standing in the right line, playing the part of a big sister.
"This is the moment I have been waiting for so long. Previously, I had been so impressed with these volunteer activities, especially the initiative of establishing Hope School. And what I want to convey is not by saying the words out loud but through music from the heart," said Tetsuji.
The inter-level boarding school was established in 2022 by Truong Gia Binh, Chairman of FPT Corporation, to create a home for children who lost their parents due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The school welcomed its first 200 students in August last year.
Since then, the students of Hope School have been gradually getting used to their new life. Adhering to their time and activity discipline, they wake up at 5 a.m. for physical exercise, personal hygiene, breakfast, reviewing their homework, and going to school. They go to bed at 9:30 p.m. Older students are assigned to support younger children. Students are also encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, art, and vegetable cultivation.
The student managers regularly help the children stay in touch with their relatives back home.