Ayuka experienced a lot of difficulties after her house near the coast was swept away by the tsunami resulting from the East Japan Great Earthquake, and moved to inland areas within Soma in 2011. In order to cope with new school environment, she joined the school strings band and became to love do playing viola. Fortunately, with the supports from El Sistema Japan, the band, which used to be in a difficult situation due to lack of instruments and qualified instructors, was revitalized.Today, through her participation in string band activity, she now enjoys playing the viola above all things with a newly established Soma Children's Orchestra and Chorus.
"What I felt after performing at the El Sistema music learning was really amazing. The music was so different between the beginning and end. The crescendo helped me imagine the flow of music and it changed the music totally, which was moving. Also, I felt like I became closer with my friends when we played the game in the beginning in which we held hands together. My heart was filled with so much gratitude for giving us the opportunity to perform. Since you let us learn music, next time we hope to repay. I am thankful for a great opportunity to play music with friends."
Please look at the smiles of roughly 70 children ranging from advanced junior high school students to kindergarden kids who, for the first time, touched violins only 3 days ago. They managed to play Mussorgsky's Great Gate of Kiev in pride and confidence at our special concert after the 3 day intensive summer class with our Venezuelan teachers.
I was thrilled with the fact that a music composed by a Russian and arranged by a French which is now performed by those children as well as Venezuelan and Japanese teachers. Music can indeed unite us!
Mr. Tachiya, the Mayor of Soma City, who kindly attended this concert despite his busy schedule, told us that his dream is to realise the city environment where any child can freely play a music.
Also, it was really a heart-warming to see their parents who really enjoyed the music perfumed by their children. A grandparents seriously mentioned, "we have to keep fit until we see Soma Children's Orchestra's concert!".
So, Friends of El Sistema Japan feels a honor to be part of this reconstruction process in Soma where a lot of challenges are all over.
I would really express my gratitude to all who worked hard to make this happen and in particular to Fernando who brought me this idea back in January 2012. Million thanks!!
Herewith our PR video on you tube:
NHK WOLRD special coverage was eventually broadcasted. You can watch the movie titled under Road Ahead: Unity Through Music on the URL below;
Indeed mother of Sachi, who had an interview told us;
"After 3.11, our life was going on without music. Then, when listening her song, I felt the power of music and could have a relaxed and comfortable feeling which I had never had in those days. I do hope children have the opportunity to continue music and everyone in the community can easily enjoy the concert where children play and sing. "
We do count on your support. Thank you.
Our first joint concert was over eventually!
I would like to express my gratitudes to school teachers, Soma education board colleagues and local volunteers working hard to prepare the event, Bridge for Fukushima, who coordinated the tour from Fukushima, our supporters who travelled from all over Japan, and, above all, young musicians from Yawata, Nakamura No.1 and Sakuragaoka Primary Schools, who had practiced hard and had a brilliant performance on the stage yesterday.
Herewith the article from the Fukushima Minpo on the concert (sorry no English...).
Please regularly check our facebook site which plugin appears on the left hand side for all the updates on Soma Children’s Orchestra as well as other El Sistema related news in Japan.
Official web site launched!
Friends of El Sistema Japan became registered as an incorporated association by Tokyo Legal Affair Bureau.
El Sistema is a social transformation programme through which over 400,000 children across Venezuela have been given music education mainly in the form of orchestra and choir with the government budget around 75 million USD for the last 36 years. Its programme impact has positively been evaluated by many donors such as UNESCO, Inter-American Development Bank and various El Sistema inspired programmes have been implemented in more than 20 different countries. Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director of LA Philharmonic and Edicson Ruiz, one of the youngest double bass players with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra are just examples as the quality of musicians whom El Sistema has produced but it is most important to say that many have compassion on what Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu, the founder of El Sistema has been advocating, “restoring dignity and confidence of individuals, family and community through music education.”
Core principles of El Sistema are as follows;
1. Ensuring everyone to have access to music and arts regardless of his or her economic status.
2. Enhancing communication skills of children through music and arts activities, in particular, orchestra ensemble.
3. Letting children to learn that self-realisation can conform with social norm through music experience
In order to start this music education initiative aiming at restoring disadvantaged Japanese children’s dignity and making a significant and sustaining impact on their lives, Friends of El Sistema Japan has been established with various forms of support from inside and outside Japan. This includes the world-famous Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, members of Berlin Philharmonic, several El Sistema USA and Scotland leaders and, above all, KAJIMOTO, who has been working very hard to sensitise the Japanese public on El Sistema through many channels such as organising Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra’s first tour to Japan back in 2008, strategically positioning a partnership with Talent Education Research Institute (Suzuki Method) together with Venezuelan Embassy in Tokyo.