Fine Arts Highlights, 2012-2013

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CAJ's A Cappella Choir performs in March at the KPASSP Choral Festival.

HS Brain Bowl (October 11 at SMIS)[edit]

Congratulations to the many students who contributed to the fine arts program this year! —Martie Tarter, fine arts coordinator

Nine students (6 from the Class of 2015 and 3 from Class of 2013) attended. CAJ placed 6th in the tournament, though the 3rd-6th places in the tournament were closely contested. Tsuby K. was named as an all-star with the 4th highest point total.

Fall Band and Orchestra Festival (November 13, 2012, at CAJ)[edit]

The fall band festival has traditionally been poorly attended because of bands that are involved in marching band as opposed to concert band activities. At the suggestion of CAJ Band Director, Don Ekstrand, the band directors of the KPASSP decided to open the participation in the festival to orchestras at the schools. This made for a first-time event for the orchestras of the international schools. There had never been an opportunity for the orchestras to play for each other.

About 180 students from 4 schools (8 groups) performed for each other in the auditorium. Very positive reviews from all who participated.

Vocal Solo and Ensemble Festival (November 17, 2012, at SMIS)[edit]

This was a great day of singing from start to finish. CAJ singers did very very well, garnering gold and silver ratings for their performances. The Chamber Singer Men, the Chamber Singer Women, and a duet all garnered perfect scores. It is very heart-warming to notice that students from other schools want very much to hear what the CAJ singers have to offer. It is also wonderful to see students from all the schools supporting each other. These students will compete against each other throughout the year on the court or playing field. An event like this is a wonderful opportunity to lay that aside and share the joy of making music.

HS Christmas Concert[edit]

After several years of doing a Festival of Lessons and Carols format, the Music Department returned to a full-blown Christmas concert with all high school performing groups (including the jazz band) performing. Many comments reflected the community's appreciation for a chance to sing Christmas carols in English and to sit and reflect on the mystery of the Incarnation, while enjoying a variety of music in terms of style, historical period, and genre.

Misawa MS (Hino)[edit]

For a second year in a row, through the contact of a KBF family, the Chamber Singers and the Handbell Ensemble traveled to Hino City and performed for the Misawa Junior High School (PTA) in a mid-week afternoon concert of Christmas music.

The audience was appreciative, and the MS students who attended seemed to really enjoy contact with the CAJ musicians. It was during the set-up and take-down for the event that the CAJ students' servant hearts were evident—helping to stack and unstack chairs and interacting with staff and students noticeably warmed the atmosphere throughout the afternoon and into the evening, and we left sensing we had made a difference.

Without Love Musical Revue (February 14-16, 2013)[edit]

Under the leadership of Raquel and Aaron Dishner, CAJ presented a musical revue of songs centered around "Love." Songs were chosen for contrasting styles, and attitudes and a "story" was built around the idea of getting ready for a Valentine's Day dance at a high school. Throughout the production, the players and directors considered the greatest love of all—that God would send His Son to die on the cross. It made the young love of students seem really small in comparison! The cast enjoyed wonderful times of prayer and singing praises to God both during rehearsal and just prior to performance. It seemed as if they needed to ask God to fill everyone with His love so that it could flow freely over the edge of the stage to fill the auditorium.

The students learned a lot about supporting one another and knowing that each is gifted in a particular way by God and that we are not to covet another's gift. The students learned to trust each other and to try new singing styles and dance styles. When things did not work, it meant it was time to reflect, suggest new strategies, and try again.

While it was not the school theme this year, students extended their understanding of the 2012 schoolwide theme: Many Parts; One Body. From those on stage to those in the back-stage areas, the cast, pit orchestra, and stage crew discovered that each was so important to the whole. We had to work at it—it did not come naturally—but it was worth the effort.

Artscape (March 1-17, 2013)[edit]

Artscape is an annual exhibition of middle and high school student artwork from international schools in the Tokyo area. The exhibition has been held annually for over 30 years and features over 500 works of art from students of over 50 nationalities. This year CAJ was 1 of 14 international schools that participated in the show. Thirty-five CAJ students from grades 6 through 12 had art pieces in the show, which was on display in the Children’s Castle in Shibuya from March 1 through 17.

Instrumental Solo and Ensemble Festival (March 2, 2013)[edit]

For many years, both the fall vocal solo and ensemble festival and the spring instrumental solo and ensemble festival were held at CAJ. Beginning in the 2011 school year, an effort has been made to identify schools that have the facilities to provide a good experience with the festival. In 2013, CAJ hosted the instrumental festival.

The day was very windy, and the dust blew in during the afternoon, making life pretty miserable for the Class of 2013 selling concessions. However, overall the largest instrumental solo and ensemble festival in the history of the event was a great day.

The KPASSP honor orchestra rehearsed in the morning, and the KPASSP honor band rehearsed in the afternoon. Mixed in between that were 350 performances in 9 performance venues. It was a logistical challenge from a scheduling point of view, and on the ground during the day. CAJ has made significant contributions to the fine arts activities through the use of technology to schedule and run this festival and the vocal one in the fall even when it is not held at CAJ. Kudos to for their assistance and their desire to impact the event in a positive, helpful way.

KPASSP Honor Band 2013[edit]

CAJ placed 5 students (8 auditioned) in the KPASSP Honor Band in 2013 which performed at ASIJ on March 9 under the direction of Dr. Judith Grimes of Elmhurst College.

Of notable interest was the selection of Shion F. ('14) as the 1st chair clarinetist. It was obvious that Shion's exceptional ability had made an impact on the clarinet section, the band as a whole, and on the director. The overall level of the performance was considerably improved over the past couple of years; the intonation and overall tone quality was excellent. In speaking with other directors at the event, many commented on the beauty of the tone in the clarinet section generally and that of Shion specifically in the solo he played in one piece. "When I first heard him play it, I wept; it was so beautiful," said one director.

KPASSP Honor Strings and Orchestra[edit]

The honor orchestra under the direction of Kunito Nishitani performed with the Honor Band. CAJ placed 9 in the orchestra, including the only viola players (Sol L. and Temote H.) and the first chair cello (Han L. for the second year...this time as a 7th grader). The strings played alone, and then additional chair players were added from the honor band to provide a "full orchestra" experience for the students. CAJ added several instruments from the band (oboe, clarinet, and trombone).

KPASSP Honor Choir 2013 and Choral Festival[edit]

CAJ placed 30 singers (38 auditioned) in the 80-voice choir that performed at St. Maur International School on March 8 under the direction of Dr. Rollo Dilworth of Temple University.

CAJ singers are known for the beauty and vibrancy of their tone, and certainly in most of the sections of the choir, they were a significant presence in terms of numbers and made contributions to the overall sound of the choir.

Dr. Rollo Dilworth came out to CAJ on Wednesday of the fine arts music week and spent time with the CAJ Chamber Singers and the A Cappella Choir. He is an extremely respectful person—both of the students and director—and he gave helpful instruction on a number of things. The students responded to him easily and thoroughly enjoyed seeing their director get a couple of conducting lessons during the session. Everyone benefitted by having him with us; it is important for students to know that their director is still learning, too!

The choral festival was held on Thursday, March 7, at ISSH. It is truly amazing to see 450 high school students in one place, focused on improving their singing. Dr. Dilworth held them easily in the palm of his hand and produced a glorious sound. CAJ students traveled on crowded trains in the morning, coming from all over the Tokyo area; those who said they would meet us at Sacred Heart did so on time. It was wonderful having colleagues alongside to help.

Math Field Day[edit]

Math Field Day was held at Yokota Base for the third time in 4 years. There would have been a fourth but for the after effects of March 11 causing a cancellation. CAJ took a team of 20, 7 middle school students included. Our students performed well, with 4 of them finishing in the top 10 in their respective events, and 3 of those also finishing in top-placing teams for the afternoon collaborative challenge known as Math Mania. Congratulations go to JiHo K. (6th in Calculus, 2nd in Senior Teams), Steven C. (8th in Calculus, 1st in Senior Teams), HeeGeun S. (6th in 10th Grade), and Emily L. (6th in 7th Grade and 2nd in Junior Teams).

Kanto Film Festival Results[edit]

This year’s Kanto Plains Film Festival was held at St. Mary’s on May 18. CAJ submitted 5 movies, 4 of which were award winners:

  • 7th Place: The Wrestler by Ken N.
  • 9th Place and Best Actress: Raina W. (Green Team SWOW movie) later renamed as Make a Difference in order to submit it to the film festival.
  • 11th Place and Best Editing: Break by Ken N.
  • Best Actor: Esther T's youngest brother in The Storybook by Esther T.