May 7, 2020

Latest Updates (May 2020) from Soma

 Last October, Soma Higashi High School was severely damaged by Typhoon Hagibis. It was a widespread disaster and the school’s entire basement ended up being soaked with water. Therefore, it took time to determine the extent of the damage to the instruments and related equipment owned by the school or its wind ensemble club, which are the target of support in this project.

 Mr. Konno, the music teacher of the high school and the club’s advisor, has been enthusiastically teaching children for many years. He is a trumpeter himself and well known club’s advisor to the wind players not only in Soma district but in the whole Fukushima prefecture.

 Through the daily interaction with the school secretariat and the prefectural board of education, he managed to arrange financial support to the club from public funds.

 However, the public expense is limited. The school has to pay for the cost of repair and the new purchase of most of the instruments. The instruments needed to be repurchased are trumpets and timpani. Also quite a few instrument cases need repair. We have received donations from many people, including supporters of GlobalGiving, but it is still insufficient because of the situation.

 Soma’s young musicians, who have overcome the difficulties of Great East Japan Earthquake and Hagibis, have been active both in their academic career and the club activities. Nowadays, however, due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19), the school and club activities are suspended. Students are under the high stress of staying home.

  The world is facing an unprecedented crisis. Thank you to all our front-line fighters for keeping our society and live safe. Let’s stay home and keep lives. We appreciate your warm and continuous supports to us. Thank you for your cooperation.

Mar 19, 2020

Performance at the Girls' Day Celebration Concert

March 3rd is the Girls’ Day in Japan, also known asHina-Matsuri, or the Doll Festival. Ahead of this special day, a celebration called Hina-Meguri was held on February 16th at the Soma Civic Hall. In a warm atmosphere created by the large friendly audience with Hina Dolls, the El Sistema Ensemble successfully performed in two stages at 11:00 and 13:30 in the lobby.

This was the debut concert for the beginners’ class members who started learning the violin or the cello in last June. With the help of more advanced players, they confidently played the tunes "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," "Ten Little Indians" and "Sakura Sakura" in both stages.

Later in the morning stage, eight flutists from the El Sistema Ensemble performed pop masterpieces, including "A Whole New World," "When You Wish upon a Star" and "Sukiyaki." The last performance in the afternoon was a french horn ensemble. The two elementary school children were proud of themselves for playing two etudes with their instructor Mr. Yamamoto.

Many of the grandparents surged to shoot pictures of their grandchildren on stage. One of them was even moved to tears by the performance of Sakura Sakura.

The concert on the cold rainy day let us spot a small achievement in the mission of El Sistema Japan -- music is not only for children but also for the whole community. Thank you so much for your continuous support to our endeavor.

Indeed the latest coronavirus pandemic has forced us to stop our routine weekly practice session as well as the once-a-year children's music festival, scheduled to take place at the Soma Civil Hall this weekend, to which everyone was eagerly looking foward. We really would like to count on you in order to overcome the challenges and fulfill our mission.

Jan 9, 2020

The First Concert after the Typhoon Hagibis

Typhoon Hagibis hit a wide range of the east Japan in October 2019 and also caused a great damage to Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture where we are delivering daily support. The city was hit by heavy flooding and water reached above the floor level. On November 23, about one month after the typhoon passed, the concert of Soma Children Orchestra was held in Iwate Miyagi Fukushima Festa, a festival featuring the Tohoku region (All Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima belong to the Tohoku region) at MEGA WEB Tokyo.

A grade 8 student Risa a cellist of the orchestra found her instrument had been damaged by the muddy water after the flood. Despite the difficult situation as she said “I was speechless when I saw my instrument,” she started to practice by using another cello which was donated by the supporters. Fortunately she had her beloved cello repaired by the day she finally got on the stage.

In the concert, the orchestra performed six pieces including a local folk music Soma Bon Uta, Mozart's famous Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Vivaldi's Four Seasons and L'estro Armonico and received a round of applause from the audience. After the performance, Risa said “I played with the gratitude to everyone who helped us while the typhoon disaster. I am proud of our performance.”

Mr. Kenji Goto, a Soma based luthier who diligently works for our program, said “I hope that energy of music heals children who experienced the terrible earthquake and typhoon.” In fact, the recovery of the city and orchestra from the disaster is still on the way. We also highly appreciate continuous support given by our GlobalGiving partners — thank you!

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