Monday, August 31, 2009

My middle school band out-awesomes your middle-school band

Saturday, there was a summer concert. One of my English teachers mentioned this to me, but said he didn’t have information on when it would be. I saw a flyer later that gave me a vague impression (I can still read numbers.. just not words!) that it would begin at 2pm. Instead of asking someone about the flyer, I went silently on my merry way.

The brass band had been practicing every day two floors above the staff room. It was very easy to hear with all the windows open all the time. The music was from Pirates of the Caribbean, and made all of my paperwork significantly more epic. It also served to make things happening outside (various sports practices) more epic as well. There was also a jazzier number.. the only English word in the program was “Exile,” so I’m sure my more musically informed readers can find that.

On Saturday, I realized that I intended to go, and that it might be a mistake. I would have to take the bus, I didn’t know when it started or ended, I didn’t know if it cost money. Whatever. I decided it was a good idea. I had wanted to get involved in the life of my school, right? Well, you gotta start somewhere.

Concert attendance is something that I picked up at GHP as well. If your kids are in some kind of performance, you go, if you can. At least early on, to show love.

So, I took the 1:05 bus to my usual stop. One of the new high school ALTs, Jessica, happened to be on that bus, so we sat and chatted for a bit. She is coming to observe my elementary school class on Thursday (aka, my first day of teaching omg!).

When I arrived and began to walk up the drive, I was worried because I didn’t see cars everywhere like I would have expected of parents and kids and such. Problem was, I was taking the back driveway, since that is the way to the middle school, not the elementary school next door where the concert was actually being held. As I came alongside the elementary school, though, I saw a bunch of students with instruments in different classrooms. The whole side of the building is basically made of windows and sliding glass doors, so this sighting was easy.

About halfway up the building, I saw the school nurse from Minami. Then, I saw our band teacher as well. She basically jumped out of the window/sliding door when she saw me, and excitedly asked if it was okay for me to stay and hear the brass band. I lack sufficient Japanese to say “Well yeah, that’s totally why I’m here!” so I just said, “Yeah! Of course!” and worked my way around the fence to the inside.


They let me sit in the classroom on a tiny elementary school chair while they rehearsed one last time.

Seriously, this music makes everything you’re currently doing more fun and awesome.

At the concert proper, the elementary band played first, then there was an assortment of groups. Some of them were adult groups (two singing groups and a shamisen playing group), and some kids (elementary chorus).. they were cute, and the adults were cool. The other middle school (NORTH. My school is SOUTH. Please now envision a Sharks and Jets dance-off) did a sort of esoteric piece, which was interesting and probably took a lot of skill, but which was clearly lesser in the category of awesomeness than the music performed by my school.

My school went on last, and filled the stage, rocked the house, and I was very proud, despite having nothing to do with their success. After they played, we sang the town song, which I almost was able to understand, and with which I could sing along since it was printed in easy writing on my program. Something about mountains, rivers, rain, and wind. Yeah, that’s our town.


See that banner at the top? It says “Summer concert” in phonetic Japanese. Check out ka

takana here, especially if going to visit Japan. When you can sound out katakana stuff, it makes life a bit easier.. a lot of things in katakana turn out to be English words!


  1. They are very good! This has made my late morning coffee drinking more epic. Haha. :P

  2. This is middle school? They're pretty good.