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Bay Street Theatre Hosts ’Just For Japan’ Benefit

Originally Posted: April 12, 2011

Nicole A. Flotteron

The Just for Japan benefit took place at the Bay Street Theatre on April 7. (Nicole A. Flotteron)

Sag Harbor - In light of the tragedies four weeks ago in Japan, the community of Sag Harbor came together at the Bay Street Theatre for an evening of music and dancing, in support of relief efforts.

Hosts Jay Schneiderman and Bonnie Grice. (Nicole A. Flotteron)

After being lambasted by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and massive tsunami on March 11, and fighting against the clock to try to prevent nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Japan was struck once again by Mother Nature, as a 7.1 magnitude aftershock rocked the country once more.

The event was hosted by Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman and 88.3 WLIU morning show host Bonnie Grice, and featured live music from several favorite local bands, including Cassandra House, Gene Casey and The Lone Sharks, Caroline Doctorow and The Steamrollers, The Aqua Girls, The Who Dat Loungers and The Nancy Atlas Project.

At the start of the show, a slideshow of photos from the aftermath in Japan was shown. The photos were shocking: boats atop of three story buildings, water filling the streets, and the carnage of buildings and properties decimated first by the earthquake, and then again by the massive tsunami wave. "You wonder just how much a country can take," said Grice to the audience.

Jay Schneiderman and Towa. (Nicole A. Flotteron)

"This community always comes together. It is a beautiful, caring community that we live in and I think that we are so fortunate to be here," said Schneiderman.

In order to make the event possible, the Bay Street Theatre donated the space, numerous local businesses donated raffle prizes, and the musicians donated their time and talent to the cause. "We are blessed with some amazing local talent," said Schneiderman of the musicians.

After a wonderful performance by indies/folk artist House, Yayoi Nishimura spoke to the crowd, along with her son Towa and husband Wade. Nishimura, who is Japanese, was in Japan with her family during the earthquake. "My life was changed forever on March 11," she said, "We all learned on that day that the life we have now is precious because it can be taken away so easily."

More than 27,000 people in Nishimura's home country of Japan are dead or missing and more than 150,000 residents have been evacuated from around the nuclear plant so far. "People in Japan are living in great fear, confusion and desperation, but we are not losing hope because there are many people who love Japan and are trying so hard to help us. We have also learned that helping each other is what makes us human beings," she said.

Aside from the musical portion of the night, there was also a raffle featuring a wide variety of items, as well as tee-shirts printed with the artwork of local and renowned sumo artist Lynn Matsuoka. Money raised at the event was donated to Save the Children and the American Red Cross.

Bonnie Grice, Jay Schneiderman, Yayoi Nishimura, her son Towa and husband Wade. (Nicole A. Flotteron)


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