The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 17, 2003


Concord-Carlisle and Japanese Bands join at Symphony Hall

The Concord-Carlisle High School Repertory and Concert Bands, as well as the Shiroishi Symphonic Wind Ensemble, performed at the historic venue of Symphony Hall in Boston last Friday to a nearly full house. To say the least, the experience was a high point in all the zeniths of a musical lifetime. Everyone has been telling us the same things since last May; being featured at Symphony Hall is not an opportunity afforded to most high school students, it is also a great cultural event to strengthen ties between Massachusetts and the province of

The combined Concord-Carlisle High School Concert Band and Sapporo Shiroishi High School Symphonic Wind Ensemble on stage at Boston's Symphony Hall on Friday evening, January 10. (Photo by Karen Morse)

Hokkaido, Japan, and that we won't forget the whole thing for the rest of our lives. What they didn't mention, however, was the benefit to the Concord and Carlisle students to see what we could become. Granted, the level of musical sophistication displayed by the Shiroishi band could not be matched by our high school's students because of the difference in time that the two countries allocate to music. At Shiroishi, students forego sports and other activities to participate in band, a commitment that requires 18 hours of rehearsals a week. At CCHS, band students partake of many extra-curricular activities, including sports, and devote a mere four hours to band each week. Without a similar amount of time spent on music as Shiroishi, we could not possibly meet their musical level. This isn't a competition; it is just interesting to think, "What if we were that good?"

From left to right, composerAndrew Brunson and conductors Mitsuo Sugimura, Masato Shibukawa, Hisao Yoneya and Alfred Dentino take a bow.
Over Thursday and Friday last week, every band student from Concord-Carlisle participating in the concert went into Boston twice: once for the rehearsal and once for the actual concert. I would be lying to say that the rehearsal on Thursday went without a hitch; there were various time delays involved that reduced the amount of time that each group had to rehearse. Mr. Dentino, the director of both the Repertory and the Concert Bands at CCHS, was pleased with both groups' performances at the rehearsal, but was disappointed that he did not get any time to go over the mistakes and correct them before Friday. The members of the two Concord-Carlisle bands got their first taste of the music of Shiroishi that day, and marveled at the Japanese band's precision and level of ability. After some more waiting around, the bands finally returned to Concord, where there was a potluck dinner for our Japanese friends and their host families.

Friday night's concert was the culmination of over four years of dreaming between the two countries' bands. After a wonderful banquet for the band members and invited guests, the concert started promptly at 7:30 with the Repertory Band. After the performance of the Concert Band, its members were permitted to fill the hall's empty seats and watch Shiroishi's performance. It was the longest section of the concert, but it went by quickly. Everyone was excited for their last number, a John Williams piece, including the music of ET, Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, and, of course, Harry Potter. At the end of the Shiroishi performance there was an almost immediate rise of the audience in a standing ovation. It was magnificent: members of two very different countries coming together to appreciate each other's music in the greatest hall in the United States.

At the traditional exchange of gifts on Wednesday, CCHS Band President Steven Yu, CCHS Principal Art Dulong and CCHS Band Vice-President Jen Morse present the Sapporo Shiroishi Band President and Band Director with a duplicate of the poster that hung outside Symphony Hall for the past few weeks.

There was as much good energy present with the Shiroishi and Concert Band's combined numbers, including the fast-paced "At the Mambo Inn," and the ever-present "Stars and Stripes Forever." I think that most of the band members really felt a connection during "The Mambo," as it is affectionately called; unlike the Japanese band members, we usually don't move around while we play, but no one could help it then.

At the very end of the concert, when we had gone twenty minutes over the scheduled ending time, Mr. Shibukawa and Mr. Sugimura, the two conductors of the Shiroishi Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and the retired founder of the Ensemble, Mr. Yoneya, as well as Mr. Dentino, all came to the front of the stage, clasped hands, and took a bow. That one moment embodied what the concert was realty about: the friendship in music between the nations of Japan and the United States.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito