Quick takes editorial: Moving forward with reverence

Mike Wolanin | The Republic Columbus Parks and Rec Director Mark Jones, from left, Mary Ferdon, executive director of development and community development, Toyo Corp. President Iichiro Haga, Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop and Precision Tool Service of Columbus President Tom Ehara take part in a ceremonial tree planting ceremony in honor of the late Toyo Corp. President Shojiro Haga at NexusPark in Columbus on May 26.

The dedication of a memorial to a business leader who had deep affection for Columbus was a touching reminder of the deep cultural, civic and personal connections between our city and Japan.

At an emotional ceremony outside NexusPark last week, Toyo Corp. President Iichiro Haga thanked the city for the installation of a memorial and the planting of cherry blossom trees in honor of his brother, former company president Shojiro Haga, who died last October at age 52.

Shojiro also was a past president of Toyo’s Columbus subsidiary, Precision Tools Service (PTS), and many PTS employees joined Iichiro, Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop and community, business and civic leaders at last week’s ceremony.

“We are here today because Columbus has always welcomed us so warmly,” Iichiro said. “Our company, PTS, has been here since 1988, and we are very proud of being a member of this community. My late brother Shojiro was very fond of Columbus. He spent more time here than in any other city outside of Japan.”

Some two dozen Japanese businesses have located here — companies that now employ nearly 6,000 local people. So it’s fitting that at NexusPark, where Columbus is planting seeds of future growth, our community sets aside a place of honor for Shojiro Haga, who led one of the first Japanese companies that planned its future growth here.

Welcoming a new maestro

After looking far and wide for a new music director to lead the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, the CIP found its new leader just a couple of hours away.

Cincinnati-based Isaac Selya, 36, landed the leading the conductor’s duties after a Nov. 19 tryout concert titled “Taking Flight.” And Selya was on hand to take an introductory bow at the annual Memorial Day Weekend SALUTE! concert at the Bartholomew County Courthouse.

As The Republic’s Brian Blair reporter, Selya told the crowd, “It is an enormous honor to have this position … And I am very much looking forward to sharing some music with you all later this fall.

“But tonight, I’m very much looking forward to getting to relax, and hearing some beautiful music from the orchestra and watch while Roger Kalia does all the hard work.”

Selya also will have hard work ahead to meet the high standards of longtime director David Bowden, who retired last year. But Selya, the founder and leader of Cincinnati’s Queen City Opera, has experience and vision that rose to the top of some heady competition. We wish him and the CIP all the best in making beautiful music together.

Another musical transition

Our Brian Blair has been busy on the passing-of-the-baton beat, also reporting Thursday that Josh Aerie, music director of the mostly volunteer Columbus Symphony Orchestra since 2015, is stepping down.

Blair wrote that Aerie, who lives in South Bend, is particularly proud of the Annual Composition Competition, which this year attracted 150 applicants worldwide, and the Youth Concerto Competition, both of which were instituted under his direction.

As Blair wrote, Sunday afternoon’s event at The Commons, “100 Years of Great Music” will be Aerie’s farewell concert, capping “an entire season of the centennial of the ensemble believed to be the state’s oldest.”

For more information or tickets, visit csoindiana.org. It’s a great opportunity to thank a leader in the arts whose work has enriched the cultural life of so many in our community.