Harry Aoki Tribute concert July 20th, at Firehall Arts Centre

Harry Aoki is one of Vancouver's musical treasures. 

imageA Celebration of Harry Aoki

Harry was already high on the harmonica when he fell in love with
the double bass in the early 1940s, and the rest is history in the
making. For the past half-century he has been actively, sometimes
hyperactively, using classical, jazz, popular and ethnic music and
dialogue to promote the theme of harmonious diversity in culture and
identity. Join co-hosts Margaret Gallagher, Sherry Tanaka and Jan
Walls, together with Harry's old and new friends and fellow musicians
for an afternoon of musical, verbal and gustatory celebration of Harry
and his noble “work in progress.”

Musician/Composer/Ethno-musicologist Harry Aoki is truly a pioneer
of world music. Come join us to commemorate Harry's achievements with
an afternoon of multi-cultural music, storytelling and more! Join his
many friends in the creation of a Legacy to continue Harry's Dream!

Food and Beverages will be Served

Tickets: $26.00

Limited Tickets Available

July 20th
Firehall Arts Centre
280 Cordova Street

Todd Wong performing with Jessica Cheung, Masaki Watanabe & Harry Aoki, at the September 2005 Open House event at Historic Joy Kogawa House – photo D. Martin

I first met Harry Aoki through Asian Heritage Month events around 2002.  Margaret Gallagher (CBC Radio) raved about Harry, as he sometimes performed with her.

after, Harry came and performed at Todd's Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie
Burns Chinese New Year Dinner events, including the inaugural Gung
Haggis Fat Choy Seattle dinner in 2007.  A friendship was formed and
Todd soon played at Harry's First Friday Forum.  Harry has been a big
supporter of the Save Joy  Kogawa House campaign which Todd was one of
the organizers of, subsequently Todd has joyfully invited Harry to
perform at a number of events including the 2006 Canadian Club
Vancouver “Order of Canada” luncheon where Dal Richards introduced
himself to Harry, and the first open house event at  Historical Joy
Kogawa House in 2006, captured on film for the CBC documentary
Generations: The Chan Legacy.  Songs they have played together included
“A Highland Lad”, “Hungarian Dance #5”, and “Chinatown My Chinatown”,
“Until We Meet Again”.

Harry Aoki performing on harmonica with musical friends, cellis Kira and percussionist Themba, at his First Friday Forum at the Nikkei Centre in Burnaby – photo Todd Wong

Here's a letter invitation from Wayne Soon to come to the Harry Aoki Celebration Concert.

Dear friends of Harry Aoki,

behalf of the Harry Aoki Celebration Committee, I would like to tell
you about an afternoon celebration with Harry Aoki and his friends.
This special celebration with Harry will
be held on
Sunday July 20th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at The Firehall Arts Centre, 280 Cordova Street. (corner of Cordova and Gore Streets).

Harry Aoki is Vice –President of the GVJCCA and
also a special member of the Japanese Canadian and multi-ethnic, and
musician communities. On the first Friday of each month at Nikkei
Place, Harry has collected many professional musicians together for
an on-going series of evenings of
music and dialogue. This dialogue may examine diverse cultures and ways
they indicate similarities and common roots. Or there may be discussion
about world events and how they affect different ethnic groups in the

Many within the community have decided
to pay tribute to Harry for all his kindness and energy in developing a
strong communication link within our multi-ethnic community through his
music and dialogue. Over the past few months there have been concerns
regarding his health, so a plan was developed to honour Harry for his
efforts and contributions in music and
to the community, and also to support his dream of continuing the First Friday concept.

committee of friends who are organizing this event consists of members
of various organizations like the GVJCCA, musicians, academics and
others who support and admire his work. Some members of the committee
are also working with institutions such as the University of BC to
ensure that Harry’s dream of continuing the First Friday concept and
encouraging ongoing cross cultural understanding through dialogue and
music may be maintained through a legacy foundation. Tickets to this
event will cover the cost of the staging, light refreshments, and
staffing of the event. The balance of the money collected will go
establishing Harry's legacy foundation.

A limited number of tickets are being sold. To order your ticket, phone the Firehall box office at (604) 689-0926.
I hope you can join us and many of his multi-ethnic friends at this
Celebration in honour of Harry Aoki on July 20, 2008 at 2:00 at the
Firehall Arts Centre.

Wayne Soon
Co-chair, Harry Aoki Celebration Committee

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