After a fantastic first night with our Kumamoto host families, we all gathered back together at Kyusyu Lutheran College. This is where we would have our first of three concerts today. This college was originally established as an all girls high school in 1926, but in 1997, it switched to become a four-year college for both men and women. Kyusyu Lutheran College is one of the two colleges that is affiliated with the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church.
When we first got to this college, we attended their chapel service with some of the students. It was pretty similar to the 15 minute chapel services we have at Wartburg College, except for the fact that this service was all in Japanese. I think it's safe to say that the large majority of us have no idea what the message was about. I thought it was interesting to see something that was familiar to us, yet in a completely different language. The most difficult part about this service was the fact that they gave us song sheets to sing along, but they were written with Japanese characters. We couldn't even sound words out, but we were able to hum along.
The chapel area was also the space in which we would be playing our concert. It was really beautiful with the stained glass and the big windows along the sides that brought in plenty of the sunlight. However, the space was limited for this performance. As you can tell from the picture, the percussionists had to stand in front of the stage instead of behind the last row where they are normally found.
This space was perfect for songs like Song from County Derry and Near My God to Thee. These slower pieces filled the room, which helped the songs to soar. During Semper Fideles, our song that features the trumpets, they all went out into the audience to play their memorized part of the song. It was so cool to see the reactions of the audience, and they really loved this interaction with us.
This concert was especially fun because there was a whole group of kindergarteners who came to listen to us play. They were all so energetic and eager to hear us play. It was fun to have such a young and lively audience there to listen to us play.
For many of us seniors, this was one of our final concerts with the WCCB, and for all of us it was one of our final concerts as the 2012-13 WCCB Wind Ensemble. It is definitely surreal how fast this year has gone. I have loved making music with these people everyday, and I feel blessed to have had the privilege to travel with the WCCB across China and Japan this May Term. This past month has been one heck of an adventure, and we are all looking forward to coming home in only a few more days to see all of our families and friends!
See you all soon!