Instead of going to school today to learn our ABC's, we took a trip down to the Shinjuku Culture Center and had the school's annual song fest! Or in their own words, Gassho Konkuuru!
It's a shame I couldn't take any pictures or tape any of it because it was so fun to see the kids all excited and motivated (for once!).
For four hours, the concert hall was filled with the sound of adolescent voices and the slight chatter of a few restless students. During each performance, I couldn't help but notice that each conductor had their own unique style of conducting. Which is to say that they all basically did the arm flail in different ways. Rocking back and forth from side to side with arms wildly stretched out and across them in furious and rhythmic motions. Shoulders jutting up and down, arms flying around as if trying to evade a swarm of bees. Either that, or trying to actually fly themselves. It was quite a spectacle.
Here's an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3nOG2bvF8Y&feature=related
The inner musician/critic in me couldn't help but wince every now and then when some groups would belt out drones of notes, all out of tune. Sometimes they would hold these notes so long as if to challenge the pianist to change the key and follow their lead! But of course this doesn't happen and the rest of the song becomes a musical tug of war between the choir and the piano, while the conductor continues on with his version of the arm flail.
|This isn't my school btw. Just giving an idea!|
On my right, half of the 3rd year students were sleeping, while the rest of them were either whispering to each other or trying to get my attention. Earlier, one of the boys came up to the teachers beside me, pointed at me and exclaimed "Ore no Gyarufurendo!!" which can only be translated as "My girlfriend!!" Then he winked at me and said "Come on, baby;)" LOL! I'd love to know which of his former English teachers taught him that.
Don't get me wrong. The whole event was lovely and the kids singing for the most part was impressive ^_^.
When the winners were announced the whole house came down and everyone started crying as Japanese do. Some tears of joy and some of disappointment.
Overall, it was a really good experience. Quite different to how we do it back home, but very enjoyable. ^^