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Brooklyns Aladdin Theater hosts Japan earthquake-relief concert

$215,000 RAISED
by: David F. Ashton While the packed house at the Aladdin Theater awaits the arrival of Gov. John Kitzhaber, Mitskui Dazai plays the koto at the “From Oregon with Love” concert.

For two special shows on March 27, Brooklyn's Aladdin Theater was packed - standing-room-only - as people flocked to enjoy a most eclectic mix of music acts at the 'From Oregon with Love' concert.

Having sold out the evening concert just hours after it was announced, organizers added a second show earlier the same day - both of them to raise money for Mercy Corps Oregon's Japan Relief Fund, in aid of Japanese victims of the recent massive earthquake there.

Acts ranging from the internationally-popular show band Pink Martini, to the Oregon Ballet Theater, to singer Storm Large, didn't disappoint ticketholders - providing a colorful, memorable musical program.

Near the beginning of the second show, at the theater located just south of Powell Boulevard on S.E. Milwaukie Avenue, the audience cheered when the master of ceremonies introduced Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, who had stopped by to speak for a few moments.

Kitzhaber began by thanking the event's organizers, and recognizing dignitaries in the audience, including Japan's Consul General.

'Let me start by saying, first and foremost, that Cylvia [Hayes] and I, on behalf of all Oregonians, send our hearts out to the people of Japan; our friends across the Pacific who've lost their homes, lost their communities, and lost their loved ones.

'The level of destruction has been so great that no nation could possibly meet all the needs of their own people in the aftermath of an event of the magnitude that we witnessed several weeks ago. That's why we're here.'

From the historical perspective, Kitzhaber observed that the Japanese-American Society of Oregon was started here in 1907. 'Oregon and Japan have a long history of a mutually-beneficial relationship. Many Oregon businesses trade products and services in Japanese markets.'

The governor concluded, 'With events like the concert in this auditorium tonight, we're going to continue to gather the resources necessary to provide help to the affected communities which so desperately need it. Thank you so much for coming. Thank you for helping this important cause. Oregonians are generous people; very generous people. Our friends at Japan have asked for help, and we will answer the call.'

Asked why he donated the use of the venue, lights, and sound, for the concert, Aladdin Theater manager Tom Sessa said, 'It's our way of giving back to the community.'

With that, the concert began. The two benefit concerts at the Aladdin that day raised $215,000 for the assistance of Japanese earthquake victims.