Saturday, May 11, 2013

Meeting the family in Utsunomyia-Abbi Mueller

              After all of the exciting things done at the schools in Utsunomyia it was time to head home.  I had been asked if I would be comfortable housing by myself and I was.  I was told to go with a father and his son, but as we started driving he informed me that they were not the family I was actually staying with, they were only picking me up for a family friend.  He told me that I would be staying ith his friend Yukiko and her parents.  We got to their home where I was met with a tiny old woman and an old man who offered me a pair of slippers.  The old couple did not speak any English, but luckily the father and son who had driven me stayed for dinner.  Yukiko arrived from work, she did speak some English.  I am a vegetarian so I made sure to explain this to the English speakers, who the explained it to the older couple.  For dinner we had sushi, which I have never eaten.  They showed me how, first you take the nori or seaweed and place the rice inside, then you fill it with whatever you want.  Then you roll it, dip it into the sauce and eat.  On the platter for sushi was mushroom,raw salmon, shrimp, salmon eggs, cucumber and egg slices.  Therefore, was able to enjoy vegetarian sushi.  After dinner we went shopping to be sure that I would have vegetarian food in my sack lunch tomorrow.  Shopping was difficult because I could not read any of the ingredient lists, but eventually we found some different things for me to eat.  After coming back home,the father and son left.  My host sister, Yukiko, led me upstairs and showed me my room, which was right across the hall from her.  The room was small and simple, but for the next few days, it was home.
             The next morning we had rehearsal in the Utsunomyia Concert Hall.  When we arrived the Sakushin Gakuin school band was already rehearsing, and they sounded really good.  It amazed me how well such a young ensemble could play so well and with such precision.  Before long it was our turn to play.  Before even starting Dr. Hancock informed us that this hall is possibly the most acoustically perfect hall that we would ever play in, every sound can be heard in the audience.  As we played, Dr. Wachmann moved about the audience.  When asked he gave input, and basically between him and Dr. Hancock it boiled down to, play as clean and precise as you can, both with the articulations and the dynamics.  Every little thing could be heard; if some came in early or late, you could tell, dynamic changes could be made more and more because every soft note could be heard anywhere in the hall.  It was really awesome to play somewhere that was so well designed and I think it was a nice challenge for us to really try and play the music instead of just going through the motions of playing.

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