Ironically, our outreach concert began a few minutes late. But because it was for 0 sai (0 year-olds, i.e. babies) and other very young ones, the elevator was inundated with strollers and we happily accommodated while everyone got situated.
Our first violinist had prepared a very nice speech and halfway through at our instrument introductions, she wanted me to say something. She let me know this several days ago, and gave me the questions and my answers in Japanese to prepare. At the dress rehearsal today, she skipped over bits and pieces of the speech, but made sure to rehearse that part with me. Such a nice teacher!
One of my favorite and most confused periods of this program (funny how often these two come together in Japan), was singing Do-Re-Mi with the children, or perhaps more accurately, their parents. Of coures in Japan, there are completely different words. I sang the solfege lyrics, then faked my way through the explanation of each one. However, I did come to learn the words after the fact, which I think may be an improvement to the English version.
A rough translation/explanation:
Do- as in DOnut (yes, it's the same word!)
Re- as in LEmon (in Japanese lemon is Remon)
Mi- as in MInna (which means everyone; apropos contrast to the English variation)
Fa- as in FAito (the Japanese pronunciation of "fight;"ok, maybe this one isn't so nice, but it's forgiven by...)
Sol- as in aoiSOra (which means blue (aoi) sky (sora))
La- as in RAppa (the Japanese sound of a trumpet)
Shi- as in SHIawase (happiness)
And the final closer is: "So let's sing together!"
After learning this, I then shared the English version with my quartet, trying to explain things like "Do" being a female deer, and "Sol" involving a needle pulling thread. A "Re" of light was also new, "Fa" being a long, long way to run was confusing because of the British pronunciation, as was "La" since that isn't really how anyone sings. The Japanese pronounce "Ti" as "Shi" so it was a bit of a stretch to have it with jam and bread, also since that isn't how people drink their tea here normally, anyway. Regardless it was a great cultural exchange.
Throughout the program, babies cried and we learned to find our place on stage, hoping that at least their parents would enjoy the first two movements of the Ravel quartet, Anpanman, Totoro, and William Tell. Maybe one day they'll remember it.
|our quartet, after the concert |
(Yuria was hungry)