We are presently producing two film documentaries of the songs “Tibet” and “Be Kind to All That Live”, both written through the Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song process, and featured on Don’t Stand Still.
When I was thirteen years of age, my father passed away. My family received help from good neighbors with food and letters of comfort. One of those letters of comfort came from my Little League coach, Mr. Mayeda.
Thirty years after my father’s death I came upon Mr. Mayeda’s letter. I was so moved by his words that I sought him out. He had moved to Oceanside, California. He was terminally ill. I called and thanked him for his letter of comfort to me when my father passed and for his years of volunteering as my Little League coach.
Mr. Mayeda said to me, “Larry, my family was part of the 125,000 Japanese Americans placed into internment camps during World War II. I have one favor to ask. Could you please write a song about the Japanese-American internment camps?” I promised Mr. Mayeda I would. He passed away soon thereafter.
In his honor, I visited the Manzanar Internment Camp in California and read books about the Japanese-American experience with hopes of inspiration. Nothing came in the way of a song, until now.
During one of my residencies, Mrs. Helen Tsuchiya, the grandmother of a child in one of my classrooms, shared her Japanese-American internment story with the chil dren. After she spoke, I discovered that her husband and she were best friends with Mr. Mayeda and his family, and that her husband had coached with Mr. Mayeda in the Babe Ruth League.
About the Documentary Film Videographer
Mr. David McDonald is producing both documentary films. Before returning to Minnesota to raise his family, David McDonald worked throughout the world as a cameraman for the Reuters News Agency. Presently, David lives in Grand Rapids, Minnesota with his family and is an independent multimedia producer, as well as instructor of mass communications at Itasca Community College and Leach Lake Tribal College. David McDonald has been donating his services, but will have shared ownership of the final product with Community Celebration of Place.
On March 13, David will be filming and interviewing elder Helen Tsuchiya, who inspired Be Kind To All That Live, about her experiences in the Japanese American Internment Camp in World War II. Helen was the photographer in the camp and her photographs will be the featured images throughout the audio of her song in this documentary. Featured on the recording of Be Kind To All That Live is Helen’s son, Todd Tsuchiya, a local dentist and leader of Minnesota’s premiere Taiko Drum group.
Documentary Film Release Date: April 9, 2011