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Parents at Norwalk School Organize Japan Benefit

In less than a week, Center for Global Studies parents have organized a JAM for JAPAN fundraiser for the victims of the earthquake. It will take place Monday, March 21, at the Fairfield Theatre Company , and all donations go directly to Red Cross of Japan.

Families with students at the inter-district magnet school, which is located at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, have a special connection with Japan. They are currently hosting exchange students from Kojo High School in Kenagawa, Japan.

"Our hearts are breaking for them," says Beth Iovinelli the mother of a CGS student who is hosting a Japanese student. "We wanted to do something to show that we support and care about them."

The 30 students left Japan just three hours before the earthquake struck. Their families have been unharmed since they live south of Tokyo, a safe distance from the  region hit by the earthquake and tsunami. "But of course they are still concerned," Iovinelli says.

The concert will begin with performances by eight of the Kojo students who play wind instruments.  A variety of local musicians have volunteered to play.  "Getting the musicians was the easy part.  It was unbelievable, people just came out," says Iovinelli, who herself is a singer.   The concert will be streamed live on the Internet. A Facebook page has also been created. "We are hoping to make it a big thing,” Iovinelli says, “and that kids all over the world can join in."

In addition to the Kojo students, local musicians will include Betsy Benham, Bill Bickford, Beth Iovinelli, Warren McGuire, John Mulkerin, Steve Ferentzy, Todd Forcelina, Carol Piro, Christine Tambakis, Jay Stollman, Steve Fruda, Tom Siciliano and Kim Clarke.

General admission is $25, but McMahon students will  pay $5. Advance purchase is recommended.

The Center for Global Studies focuses on Arabic, Chinese and Japanese language, history and culture.

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