Wednesday, July 28
Our last morning at the Seminar House started with a nice morning service filled with prayer, song, and expressions of gratitude toward our hosts. Grace taught Kanto the superman prayer and Luke selected the bible verse. Going with the theme of thanks we presented our hosts with gifts -- scented pillow, jams, and maple syrup (all made in New York) for the adults and American/Japanese flag pins for the kids. After breakfast we hit the road for Yokohama. We stopped at Yodobashi Camera, an eight story electronics store, for lunch. On the basement level there was a selection of different restaurants and stores that we had an hour or two to explore. After a few more train rides and a 10 minute walk we arrived at the hall where the friendship concert was. All the choirs were introduced to each other before rehearsal. Our Kanto friends helped us set up the tables. We had the opportunity to run through our solos and relax in our dressing room before the massed rehearsal. The ladies in charge provided us with box dinners which were delicious! They had fried rice, dumplings, chicken, and noodles to give us some energy before the big concert. At 5 we headed to the performance hall to practice the three songs all the choirs played together: Prayer, Night at the Opera, and In Joseph's Lovely Garden. It went pretty well and we worked hard on any spots the conductors wanted to fix. Eiko translated for us so we were always able to understand what was going on. After we were done, we quickly changed into our uniforms and headed to our seats for the concert. Our solos were eighth on the program so we watched all the other choirs perform. The techniques the other choirs used and the beauty of the music once again, in Eiko's words, put our jaws on the floor. We also recognized many of the songs because we have played them in the past. When the Emanuel ringers were introduced we went on stage hoping that we would play all our notes correctly in front of the large audience. Thankfully our two solos, Fantasy on King's Weston and Meditation on Beautiful Savior, went very well so we were all relieved and ready for the massed pieces. After the concert was over we exchanged thanks and flowers with the other choirs. We all felt honored to be a part of the long lasting friendship with the Japanese choirs. After a quick clean-up we walked to our hotel and went to bed at the end of a very long day.
Eric and Sandra