Nov 6, 2020

Growing Together, Regardless of Age or Instrument.

Kasumi, a 2nd grader, forgot to do her homework of writing her fingering numbers on her music. She has just switched from violin to viola and the fingering numbers on the left hand are essential for her so that she can read music.During a break, she was still struggling with her homework.
Just then, Yusei, a second-year junior high school student, passed by and reached out to her saying, "Hey, isn't this incorrect here?" Yusei is an expert in sheet music, being a violinist, flutist, percussionist, and even singer in the chorus. "Also wrong here, wrong there!" They continued on to find and fix the mistakes together.
Until recently, they have been practicing separately, as they are from different classes and playing different instruments. So I asked Kasumi how they got close, and she said, "Because he and my sister are friends in the chorus." Children find each other's strengths, help each other, and grow together, regardless of age or instrument. I felt this story offered  a good example of the learning community that we envision.
We hope you will continue to follow the activities of the children of Soma as they are conquirng their challenge through music.


Aug 31, 2020

Final report on our relief activities

Thank you very much for your contributions to the Typhoon Hagibis Relief Fund for Soma Children. The total amount of donations received from around the world was 2,406,928 yen, or almost 23,000 US dollars including 550 USD channeled through the GlobalGiving, which was a great help to the children of Soma to continue their music activities. 

Fortunately, we only had to purchase instrument cases and mouthpieces. Thanks to the efforts of skilled repairers at local music stores, Oasis and Takano, we were able to restore the soprano, alto and tenor saxophones by disassembling, cleaning and replacing some parts, and the cellos and double basses by drying them out and partial repairs. We are also pleased to report that the ten Koto harps (a traditional Japanese instrument) that were damaged, including those owned by nearby high schools, have been restored by drying them out and replacing all the strings. 

Since March, activities of both the Soma Children's Orchestra and the Soma Higashi (East) High School Wind Ensemble have been suspended as a precaution against the COVID-19 spread. The situation remains calm in Soma and the activities are now resuming, albeit with some restrictions. The cancelled 6th El Sistema Children's Music Festival in Soma is now rescheduled for this December 2020. 

We hope you will continue to follow the activities of the children of Soma as they are conquirng their challenge through music.

Jul 14, 2020

Ensemble practice after 4 months

The practice of Soma Children’s Orchestra restarted in June. At first, in order to keep the social distancing, it was only done by each section and with limited time. On June 21st, we were finally able to get together with the full orchestra members to practice after 4 months.

The morning class started with the combination of “Sheep class” who just started within a year, and “Bach class” for beginners. They joined together for the first time and played Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart. In the afternoon, the intermediate and advanced “Mozart class” with many high school students, played Brandenburg Concerto No.3 by Bach.

Four months ago, they practiced Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 again and again for the Soma Children’s Music Festival scheduled a month later. However, after the situation of the coronavirus disaster (COVID-19), we chose to play a standard piece of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and our memorable piece of Brandenburg Concerto No.3, which we played 4 years ago at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, Germany, where Bach rests.

As it is a difficult piece, and we had not played it since 2016, everyone was quite worried. However, once we got together, the Soma Children’s Orchestra showed its true ability. 

It was especially impressive that many members from  “Bach class,” who just started practicing 4 years ago, joined and felt the joy of ensemble lively through their first ensemble, with the masterpiece by Bach.

This was truly an exciting experience that could not have been felt online, and the staff and the teachers were very moved.

The children in Soma have survived through the earthquake, the Nuclear accident and the typhoon disaster. The children will not give up on the situation of coronavirus as well. We will keep on moving forward with our friends, and with our music, towards the day that we would be able to deliver our music to everyone.

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