Japanese High School Band To Visit Sun Prairie
Concert - Wednesday 12/18, 7pm @ SPHS
Hikarigaoka All Girls High School Students from Okazaki, Japan make a lasting impression
The Hikarigaoka All Girls High School Wind Orchestra from Okazaki, Japan visited SPHS December 17-19, 2019 in preparation for their performance at the Midwest Clinic - an International Band and Orchestra convention held at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago. They were hosted by families in the Sun Prairie Band Program during their stay.
After a weekend of playing 4, three hour shows in Japan, the girls from Okazaki had 2 hours to pack and then headed to the airport for the 15 hour flight to Chicago and 3 hour drive to a hotel in Madison. They finally got to their rooms at about 1am and awoke the next morning to pack up and begin rehearsal in the SPHS band room by 2pm. At 6pm, the students met in the PAC to meet their host families. To be honest, there was much trepidation on both sides - language barrier, would the Japanese students like the American food, would everyone get along, etc… As each family left with their groups of 2-4 Japanese students there were many anxious smiles.
The next morning, some of the Japanese students arrived at 6:30am to observe the SPHS jazz I rehearsal while most arrived around 7:30am. They were welcomed by Principal Nerby in the PAC and then were split up into groups to tour Sun Prairie High School. Highlights of the tour seemed to be the athletic facilities and the dark room in the photography class. At the conclusion of the tour, Jazz I played a three tune set for the entire Hikarigaoka band that was well received.
After two more hours of rehearsal, the Japanese students enjoyed lunch at SPHS. The mashed potato, chicken nugget and corn bowl and fresh grapes seemed to be a hit with our visitors! The visiting students were very appreciative of this “insider” view of an American High School.
That evening featured a concert featuring the Cardinal Heights Wind Symphony, SPHS Wind Ensemble and the Hikarigaoka All Girls High School Wind Orchestra. The near capacity audience really enjoyed the concert. Many were amazed at the wonderful sound, clean technique of our visitors. The second part of the Japanese performance was more like a concert that they would present in Japan and started with the Earth Wind and Fire tune, “September”, complete with clapping and choreography. Mr. Hino, the Hikarigaoka director, mentioned that although he had done several exchanges with foreign bands in the past, this was the largest and most enthusiastic audience they had ever played for.
At the conclusion of the concert, the Japanese students returned to their Sun Prairie families for one final night. The next morning, everyone arrived around 7:30am and the Japanese group rehearsed until about 9am. At that time, it was time to say goodbye. It was very gratifying to see how close these students became to each other in just a couple days time. Music was in fact a universal language that helped break the language barrier and brought students from very different cultures to have a better understanding of each other. In the process many new friendships were formed and memories that will last a lifetime.
To see more pictures click the link below:
Hikarigaoka All Girls Visit
Tuesday, Dec. 17
Wed., Dec. 18