Summary of Activites between
Montevallo, Alabama and Echizen Town, Japan
A major exhibition of Echizen pottery was held at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
The University of Montevallo hosted the Alabama Clay Conference. Japanese potters were featured as workshop leaders, including Jeromon Fujita, a Japanese National Living Treasure.
Japanese potters extended an invitation for university students to study in Japan.
Ted Metz, along with his wife and son, traveled to Japan in preparation for university students' extended study in Japan. Graduate students Chris Kelly and Tracy Shell studied in Echizen, Japan for one and two years respectively.
An eight member troop of Japanese Traditional Drummers traveled at their own expense to vist and perform. These drummers stayed on the university campus, and performed at Desoto caverns and at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
The local government in Echizen paid all expenses for contemporary rock and classical jazz musicians (area high school students) to perform for their school children. A total of ten people traveled to Japan.
Montevallo Mayor, Grady Parker, and Miyazaki Mayor, Kimura, met and signed an agreement to establish ‘Friendly Relations” between the two cities.
A fifteen member troop of imperial musicians know as GAGAKU traveled at their own expense to perform at the University of Montevallo.
Five middle school students from Japan came to Montevallo, and stayed in the and homes of students who attended Montevallo Middle School. Students from Montevallo Middle School traveled to Miyazaki, Japan and stayed in the homes of Japanese families there.
Echizen City official visited Montevallo to request a continuation of the middle school exchange program.
The Montevallo Sister City Commission was formed. Dr. Hollie Cost was elected as its first president.
The nine-member, Echizen Drum Team, traveled to Montevallo for a May 1st concert.
During the summer, The Echizen community sent eight middle school students and two chaperones to “home stay” for one week with Montevallo families.
In November 2007, Ted Metz traveled to Japan to present a proposal to Mayor Seki for a Sister City relationship.
In June, Mayor Sharon Anderson, Ted Metz, and Jim Farris traveled to Echizen to discuss the Sister
city relationship. In October, Mayor Seki and a four member delegation visited Montevallo and signed the Sister city document.
In June, Dr Philip Williams, Sandra Williams, Grant Williams, Dr Hollie Cost, and Ted Metz made the first official visit to Echizen as sister cities to discuss the future of the relationship. On July 10th, Montevallo students and five adults visited Echizen as a continuation of the middle school exchange program.
In July, work began on the fabrication of steel sculptures to be given to the people of Echizen as a gift from the people of Montevallo. The project wasunderwritten by the University of Montevallo. Ted Metz and select students created the artwork.
On July 2nd, a University of Montevallo musical trio, led by Dr. Joseph Landers, traveled to Echizen and performed an original composition dedicated to the sister city relationship.
A group of nine students and two chaperones came from Echizen to visit Montevallo and "home stay." They stayed from July 21st to July 29th.
In 2011, disaster struck as Japan was devasted by the great Tokouku earthquake and Tsunami that left many Japanese homeless. TO help in the recovery process, $1000 rased at the Arts Festival in Montevallo was donated towards relief efforts.
Due to unforseen circumstances, the group from Montevallo did not travel to Echizen as part of the student exchange program. However, Ted Metz did travel to Echizen Town to complete some sculptures he was building there.
On July 30th, Students from tudents from Echizen, Japan arrived in Montevallo to "home stay." The students departed August 7th.