Takanawadai band to visit this month

Published on Thu, Mar 6, 2003 by Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

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Takanawadai band to visit this month

By Rebecca Schwarz Kopf

The Takanawadai high school band, from Japan, is coming to town, and music teacher Bob Gray said it�s going to be a treat.

�They are coming to play here and they�ve been guaranteed to have this place packed,� Gray said. �They play like a major college wind ensemble.�

The 90-student band complete with 15 chaperones and interpreters, will be visiting Blaine high school on Tuesday, March 25.

The students, Gray said, practice music every school day for three to four hours, and spend up to eight hours a day practicing on the weekends. �It�s a pretty intense deal. The students are looking forward to coming here. They envy to a degree the free choice here.�

Prior to performing, the Takanawadai band members will spend the day learning about American culture. They will eat lunch and then go to class with students, followed by an afternoon rehearsal and an American family dinner.

Takanawadai high school is located in the center of Tokyo and is affiliated with Tokai University, which is the second largest school organization in Japan.

The Takanawadai high school wind orchestra was established in 1972 but its activities had long been restricted to performances inside the school. When Mr. Takao Hatakeda became conductor of the band in 1994 it began to perform outside the school in many festivals and competitions.

The Takanawadai high school brass band made its first international tour to North Vancouver, Canada in the spring of 2001 and a small number of its graduates returned to North Vancouver to perform in the spring of 2002.

In 1999 and 2000, under the direction of Mr. Hatekeda, the band won a gold prize in the All-Japan Brass Band Contest for high school bands in the Tokyo region. In the fall of 2002 it made its most significant accomplishment to date by winning the gold standard at the All-Japan Brass Band Competition. This is the highest achievement that can be accomplished by a high school brass band in Japan.

�Our students can�t wait for the band to come here. They�re so excited,� Gray said. �This band is intense.�

There is no charge for the March 25 concert, which starts at 7 p.m. at the Blaine Performing Arts Center at 975 H Street. For more information, please call 332-6045.

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