Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dancing, Singing, and Losing a Shoe!

Konnichiwa! It is day 20 of the Japan trip and boy oh boy is it a humid one! Two hours ago I had such a wonderful experience with the Children of the Sun chorus from the town of Kochi. These kids are ages 9 to 11 and are quite the bunch. They sang two songs, one in Japanese, one in English and both were super cute! We ended up singing "Furusato," "Tegami" and "New York, New York" and the kids enjoyed them.

Afterward we joined them in their traditional dance and we were given instruments to use. It was quite the experience watching YPC’ers concentrate fully on the lovely lady who danced in the middle, trying to copy her every move. The experience then turned humorous when after our attempt at their traditional dance, we taught them "Run, Run, Run my Baby." It is nothing like a traditional dance, but all of us really love it.

At first, the Children of the Sun choristers were a bit shy, but after a while most of them got into it and it was indeed a success. Singing, dancing, laughing and playing with the kids was truly beautiful and it was unfortunate that we only spent an hour with them. Being in Japan, I have learned that the people here are passionate about one another and the environment around them. The generosity and care of the Japanese people is astonishing and these shining qualities will absolutely be missed.

As far as concerts go, last night was one I will most definitely remember. As I was about to dance across to the other side of the stage during "Take Me to the Water," my shoe decided to slip off. So, the only option was to keep on dancing with one shoe and try to complete the song without losing myself to laughter (it was extremely difficult). Anywho, the next song starts and my shoe is in the middle of the stage, longing for my foot. Luckily, we move around during this song so my friend and fellow alto Alphea, slides my shoe over to me (with the utmost grace) and I quickly slip my shoe back on and went on singing!

- Emma Kate Hirschhorn/Chorister

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Meeting Japanese Children

Sydney Fishman, Jamal Marcelin, Lenice Wells

"We’ve been in Japan for 3 weeks now and it’s been great. I’m writing this blog from a bus on my way to Matsuyama from Kochi. We’re almost there and we can’t wait to get there. Life is great here in Japan. The people are so nice and the land is beautiful. We just came from a “day care center” that had Japanese children ranging in ages from 9 to 11. The children were very nice and fun, but very shy. They taught us a dance that was from their town. They also sang us 2 songs: 1 in Japanese and 1 in English. We also sang them 2 songs. They sang both songs with us. They were very kind, but when we tried to play a dancing game with them they became extremely shy and some of them didn’t want to dance with us. This experience was extremely fun."

- Jamal Marcelin/Chorister

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More Reflections on the Japan Tour Experience

Onoyama-San with Haru Zenda, Charlie Lovett, and Nathaniel Janis

Aneesa Folds, Alphea John, Caroline Smith, and Stephan Douglas-Allen

"This trip to Japan has taught me a great deal not just about my voice but about my culture and personal life also. Japan is a giving culture: you give them something in thanks and they return by giving more. It has changed my ways completely and I am now more prone to think about others than just myself.

Every concert I am more and more amazed at our voices - each performance we hit a new level. I think of us as one body, working together until each of our hearts are in tune and beating as one. (I know it's sounds cheesy, but it is true) I also see each of us becoming healthier by the day because of our constant exercise and healthy eating. (Besides the McDonalds that we sometimes get!) The cliques have broken to form one unit of amazing people, each and everyone of us.

I have made everlasting bonds with the most unexpected people, and created a lifelong network. This trip has been such an amazing experience so far that Tokyo Disneyland was not even the best part of my journey!

It is hard to believe that the trip is coming to a close next week, because this has been an amazing experience performing on this beautiful island."

- Alphea John/Chorister

Reflections on the Japan Tour Experience

YPC Recording at SONY Studios, Tokyo

Lizz Dorovitsine, Aneesa Folds, Wynter Lastarria

"Today marks the 11th concert of the trip. It’s starting to fly by and I feel that we are all going to miss it when it’s over. Many of us have bonded in so many ways and have shared endless experiences together that I know will be remembered forever. On this trip I’ve learned a lot about myself and my voice. We have no choice but to be responsible and to be smart about the way we carry ourselves at this time. If we lose anyone at any moment everything changes because every voice matters. It's funny because we are given so many chances but every single concert has to be right on, and the feeling of support and the family bond that we share makes that possible. When we are on the stage we are one and the audience can always see that. The concerts have been successful and we have created a strong connection with every audience. I can now understand what it means when they tell us we are young ambassadors. We are doing something special that is making a huge difference, and that is something that we can all cherish forever."

- Aneesa Folds/Chorister

Monday, August 3, 2009

Japanese Audiences Surprise YPC

YPC in Hiroshima

"Even though we have been doing the same concert multiple times, each one tends to be a little different than the last. About a week ago, Francisco decided that we should step off the stage and interact with the audience during one of the songs in the second half. Because I am shorter than many of the other choristers, I am in the front for most songs, thus a prime candidate to step off of the stage and into the audience. Performing itself can be scary and intimidating at times, but going into the audience was much more so. After stepping off the stage I had no idea what the reaction would be, and was expecting the worst. However to my surprise our Japanese audience was overly excited to be able to interact with us. So much so in fact, they even reached their hands out in an attempt to grab ours. The first time we went down into the audience we were all very surprised and taken aback by this feedback, however after going into the audience for four of five concerts we have gotten quite used to it. The audience continues to be very interactive and ecstatic when we walk down, which always comes as a nice surprise. Although we have gotten used to our eccentric audiences, they continue to surprise us. A couple concerts ago, one of our choristers, Marissa, was offered a key chain and last night two of our choristers, Hadley and Josh, received flowers from one audience member!

The trip has been great so far and our countless wonderful audiences always help to inspire us throughout our long concerts. I can't believe we only have seven more left!"

-Emily Viola/Chorister

A Day in the Life of a YPC Japan Chorister

YPC at Tokyo Disneyland

Eddie Rakowicz enjoying Japanese noodles!

"Today, July 31st, has been an interesting day thus far: the chorus woke up, had breakfast and immediately scrambled to the Shinkansen station still full of breakfast to buy lunches and hop on our train. The interesting part has hardly begun. We still have two hours on the bullet train, two more hours on a commuter train, then once we arrive at the concert, a two hour rehearsal and a concert. All in a day’s work for YPC, music and cultural ambassadors of the US!

In Tokyo, we enjoyed a day off and had a rather exciting time at the world famous Tokyo Disneyland! I wish we had had another day to actually see the square in which “Lost in Translation” was filmed and so many other films like it. But thinking back on the past few days, because it seems as though no one has written in a while, the trip has been difficult at times but often very relaxing. Francisco has often mentioned that we should be in a sort of “artist mode” from two hours before we enter the hall until we leave to head back to our beds to prepare for whatever day awaits us in the morning. However, I have found that a small percentage of our time is actually spent preparing for concerts between all the other things we are doing on this tour. It is really more like relaxing with a side of performing, instead of the other way around!

Personally, I could not have asked for a more wonderful trip thus far. The food has been even better than I expected, the living situations have been relaxing and comfortable. And as is common when one spends a lot of time with a group of people, you learn things about them that you would not have had you remained beneath the New York stars. My appreciation for this chorus grows as we travel now to our 8th city in Japan. It will be difficult for me to leave them behind as I travel to the west coast, but I know I will see them again. Until next time!"

- Eddie Rakowicz/Chorister