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.
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