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              Every year, Dallas International School selects a country to study, and the 2015-2016 school year marks the Year of Japan. The Country of the Year serves a thematic purpose as teachers integrate aspects of the culture, language and food into the curriculum. In previous years, students have studied Spain, Brazil, Italy, France and Russia just to name a few. Sometimes students will attend a short musical concert to hear what the traditional music sounds like. They might even participate in a dance lesson or learn how to make art often found in the Country of the Year.
             On 26 January, DIS Lower School students were treated to a performance featuring traditional Japanese music. DIS parents Yumiko and Oliver Schlaffer, are professional musicians, and play the harp and the cello respectively. They curated a set of signature songs and paid tribute to Yumiko’s native Japan; for many students, it was the first time they had gotten to see a harp (and its 47 strings) in person! Students were enchanted with the Sakura, Sakura piece which was composed in celebration of the Japanese cherry blossoms that bloom each spring. The husband and wife duo dressed in simple kimonos for the performance, and answered questions about Japanese instruments in addition to those about their background as musicians. Multicultural outreach programs, like these, provide Dallas International School students with the opportunity to explore a culture different than their own, preparing them to be global-minded citizens. 

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