Today our school had an all-day chorus contest. Yup, all day! Every class in the school, save the seniors who are studying for college entrance exams, participated. Here is a clip of a song sung by all the first-grade classes. Note that the person conducting in front is one of the students in the class, as is the pianist.
How ridiculously cute are they? The first-graders weren’t particularly good; the fourth and fifth graders were really excellent. Public singing is pretty important in the land of karaoke; every school has a school song that is sung at every assembly. Interestingly the national anthem is not frequently sung, according to a fellow teacher, because of nationalism taboos post-WWII. But in any case, the kids compete in this contest every year, and get better each year. The teachers sang two songs, too! I went up on stage with them, of course, but didn’t have the lyrics so I just danced like a fool while they sang. The kids went nuts, of course, cheering and screeching and laughing to see their teachers singing and laughing and having a blast.
This chorus contest was quite an experience. First of all it was held in the gymnasium, which was not heated! In the video you can see all the students sitting in the middle of the gym, on the floor. They were all huddling together and many had brought blankets because of the cold. As usual, despite the cold they were not allowed to wear jackets or coats, and the girls have to wear their uniform skirts all winter.
The adults fared slightly better. Parents (mothers) sat on folding chairs near the back of the gym, and were bundled up in their coats and hats. We lucky teachers got to line the sides of the gym where the giant space heaters were placed, so we didn’t suffer too much. But the poor kids. I will do an entry on the cold, and the Japanese tolerance therein, very shortly.
In the afternoon, the winners for each grade were announced. The kids were so proud!! Afterwards they had presentations on various extracurricular clubs, and then the day was capped off with the brass band performance. Dude, the brass band is AMAZING. They are like the heroes of the school, I think. They played some great orchestral pieces, and then they whipped out reindeer ears and Santa hats and did a delightful Christmas medley! It was too cute. They ended with an encore of a Japanese-pop song melody, which they did a little choreographed dance to while they played their flutes, trumpets, drums and horns. The kids went nuts, and it was a lot of fun.