HGC East Asia Tour: Day 19

After a lovely few days of rest in Kyoto, it was finally time for us to perform with the Kyoto Glee Club at ROHM Theatre. I spent the morning relaxing at the hotel, then walked over with the rest of the Glee Club to the concert hall.There are three performance spaces at ROHM Theatre, the Main Hall, the South Hall, where our concert was, and the North Hall, a black box theatre that served as our green room. Although it looks like a simple space from the outside, the inside of the building is a labyrinth that includes two underground floor secured by key cards. In order to reach the South Hall from the North Hall, our host led us up two flights of stairs, into the promenade, and then into the backstage corridor. It took me a couple trips to figure out the route concretely.

Once everyone got on stage, we rehearsed our joint pieces, as well as our encores, “Fair Harvard” and “Biwako Shuukou no Uta.”  We were still a little shaky on the Japanese pronunciation, but the Kyoto guys helped us a lot, and held their own on the English joint pieces. After joint rehearsal, we ran through our set, which we again were doing all off book. This time, it went smoother, helped by our experience at Yonsei and our additional concert on book in Osaka.

While Kyoto did their sound check, we changed into our tails for the group photo, and ate our bento box dinner. When we returned to the stage, a row of chairs had been set up in front of the risers for the house crew, Kyoto Glee Club alumni, and concert producers to sit. HGC and KGC got into our combined formation behind them, and we took two serious photos, and one that was on the goofier side. img_3032Kyoto Glee Club led off the concert, so we listened to their set from backstage. Just as we were bringing a lot of American folk songs and choral standards to Japan, their set consisted of mostly Japanese folk songs. It was cool to listen to the melodies that have been passed down in Japan, because I am so used to American melodies that I take some of their structure for granted.

Our set went really well. We were more confident off book, and without our music, we were able to listen to each other and watch our conductor better. I think it also helped that the announcers told the audience our entire set-list before we started, because that let us know that we were going to go pretty much straight through without applause, and kept the concert moving along.

After intermission Lite sang, and then it was time for our joint pieces. My voice was a bit tired from the first half, because normally the football songs are the last part of our concert and I don’t have to worry about conserving my voice. However, I found some more energy as our conductor led “Brothers Sing On” and “Got a Mind to Do Right,” and the KGC conductor led “Moga migawa” and “Yuuyake Koyake.”

img_3033

ROHM Theatre, or Mather?

After we performed our encores, we went into the lobby to thank the audience for coming to the concert, then went back down to North Hall for a reception with the KGC alumni. Fifty years ago, HGC and KGC performed together on HGC’s tour to Asia, and this was a great opportunity to meet some of the guys who sang in that concert. I met one man who was a baritone in university, but now sings Tenor 1. He inquired as to my major and what I saw in Kyoto, and told me about his work at NTT and his home in Osaka. The reception closed with a speech from the KGC manager, thanking all the people who helped put the reception together, and we expressed our thanks with a hearty “Domine Salvum Fac.”

The party wasn’t done yet though! We returned to our hotel, where the KGC undergraduates had provided some snacks and drinks for us. We sang for each other a little more, and KGC particularly enjoyed Lite’s performance of “Circle of Life” and “My Shot.” With that still in my ears, I returned to my room and went to sleep.

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