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Sep 26, 2019

Children welcoming visitors with music

Soma-Nomaoi is one of the famous traditional festivals in Japan with a history of over 1000 years. During the festival season, Soma city is filled with excitement welcoming both domestic and foreign visitors. The festival is held for 3 days in a row. After the first day’s departure ceremony (Syutsujin-shiki) and Samurai procession (Musya-gyouretsu), the Soma City holds a welcome reception for special guests. 

This reception consisted of guests from all over Japan who have relationship with Soma City. It was such an honor for Soma Children’s Orchestra to be invited to perform at the opening, conducted by Mr. Okazaki, our music director.

The Vivaldi's L'estro Armonico No.8 "Concerto for 2 violins" was a specially memorable piece for the orchestra, because it was played at the summer seminar with teachers from Venezuela 6 years ago.

The first and third movement was performed at the reception, and the soloists, Takayuki (grade 11) and Momoka (grade 9), played their parts passionately. 

As the orchestra's tradition, the performance was closed with a very famous local folk song, "Soma Bonuta," which was arranged for strings, flutes and Japanese drums.

Mr. Ueda, who played an important role in establishing the Soma Children's Orchestra, also joined the performance by playing the Piccolo. He was a former Soma City Council senior official, who was responsible for the city's music and performing art programs .

We have received multiple compliments such as how it was wonderful, and how they were moved by the performance. We would especially like to thank the concerned people of Soma City for making this precious opportunity possible.

We also highly appreciate continuous support given by our Global Giving partners — thank you!

Jul 12, 2019

The only flute in the world

When Itsuki started to take flute lessons from Mr. Okazaki at wind instrument class provided by Soma Children’s Orchestra, her 3rd-grader-hands were not mature yet to play the full-sized instrument. Sakurai Flute, a famous Japanese customized flute maker was kind enough to lend a flute specially manufactured for small children upon request from Mr. Okazaki.

After playing the small-sized flute for nearly two years, Itsuki turned into 5thgrader this spring and decided to return the instrument to Sakurai Flute with a message for the maker. The polite words in the hand-written letter conveyed her gratefulness for the time she played the only flute in the world, affection for the instrument itself and passion for music.

 “Dear Sakurai Flute,

I’m stepping forward and returning the kids flute.

It’s been almost two years since I started to play with it. Seeing my hands becoming larger, my flute teacher recommended me to use the full-sized one, so I am switching to a new flute.

I have both happy and sad feelings about using a different flute. Now I am getting used to the full-sized one. I want to appreciate your kindness to let me use the only flute in the world. Thank you very much.

Itsuki”

Eagerness and seriousness for music drives Itsuki. Once Itsuki secretly got up and started to practice the flute at five o’clock in the morning on the day of the flute lesson, which of course woke up everyone in the house. With her new full-sized flute that has already become a good partner, Itsuki continues pursuing music.

We also highly appreciate continuous support given by our global giving partenrs - thank you!

Apr 16, 2019

The 5th El Sistema Children's Music Festival

El Sistema Japan held its annual event, the 5thChildren’s Music Festival in Soma city, Fukushima prefecture where their program for orchestra and chorus started 7 years ago.  

The festival consisted of several parts – performance of brass bands from local schools and Soma Children’s Chorus’ vivid singing-and-dancing stage on the first day of the event. The second day started with the orchestral performance by Soma Children’s Orchestra and the following was the guest performance by the Oxford University Orchestra (OUO) from the U.K. who visited the city as one of the destinations in their first Japan charity tour. OUO members led by Mr. Shun Hioki, who not only served as a fellow, a teaching artist volunteer at an early stage of the Soma program but also studied at Oxford had a strong willingness to show their solidarity and compassion to those children affected by tsunami and nuclear accident in 2011. The audience gave extraordinary admiring applause to OUO when their brass members solemnly performed “A Song for Japan” by Verhelst, the piece dedicated to the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011.  

In a spectacular finale of the festival, total number of 230 - aged 6 to 88 musicians including OUO, Soma Children’s Orchestra & Chorus and locals joined one stage to perform “Pomp and Circumstance March No.1” by Elgar and “Soma-Bonnuta”, the renowned traditional local folk song together. Performing the piece that is widely loved in each other’s country showed a mutual respect to the cultural backgrounds and that every participant was united in a beauty of music. 

We also highly appreciate continuous support given by our Global Giving partners — thank you!

 
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