At the invitation of the Miyazaki Choral Association, the Berlin Girls Choir travelled to the Land of the Rising Sun from 28 June to 9 July 2019 to deepen the ties forged during its first concert tour of Japan in 2012 and to show what developments the choir has made since then, apart from just having grown older. The singers had left such lasting impressions on their first trip that the Miyazaki Choir Association asked in early 2018 whether the Berlin Girls Choir would come to Japan again with the same line-up and underlined the seriousness of its request by sending a delegation to Berlin at the end of the year for concrete preliminary talks.
The singers who took part in 2012 have long since left the concert choir, but some now sing in the Vokalconsort, the young women’s chamber choir of the Berlin Girls Choir, which was founded in 2015, so that the Japanese wish could be fulfilled.
The Vocal Consort spent the first few days in Tokyo. The programme included a choir meeting with the renowned “The Little Singers of Tokyo” (LSOT) on 30.06.2019 and a concert at the Goethe-Institut (01.07.2019).
From Tokyo, they flew to the southern Japanese province of Miyazaki. Here, the Berliners first gave a concert together with the women’s choir “Voce Nobeoka” and the women’s choir “Rosmarin” at the Nobeoka Bunka Center (03.07.2019) and the next day, a small delegation was at the local radio and on the breakfast TV of the local TV Miyazaki. In the afternoon, everyone took part in an origami workshop together. Afterwards, the host families from 2012 met again and guests and hosts had a lively exchange about the past seven years, and 16 choir singers talked about what had particularly impressed them the first time.
The following day, the vocal consort gave a concert in front of around 1,800 students from Miyazaki Omiya High School in the Isaac Stern Hall of the Medikit Arts Center (05.07.2019). After the dress rehearsal on 6 July, the highlight and the actual reason for the trip followed: the “Day of Children’s Songs”, for which 11 adult and school choirs from the region had gathered in the 2,000-seat, fully occupied Great Hall of the “Miyazaki Shimin Bunka Hall”. The first hour of the concert under the motto “Tanabata” (Star Festival) was performed together, after the break the vocal consort performed its one-hour programme “The Four Elements”.
The trip ended with an excursion to Aoshima and Obi Castle. There, the singers experienced a tea ceremony and had the opportunity to try their hand at Kyudo, traditional Japanese archery. The evening was rounded off with a Farwell party, at which many a tear was shed as they said goodbye, before they returned to Berlin-Tegel the next morning with a stopover in Tokyo via Frankfurt/Main.
This second trip to Japan brought us even closer to this very foreign country and its people.