I was invited by Makita Sensei to join her and a couple friends for a brass band sextet performance. I knew nothing of it when I accepted other than that it would be some sort of high society event with music performed at an impressive level. This may have been my first foray in to such a refined genre, at least of my own volition, but without anything else worthy of my time I had no reason to decline. Shortly after work on Friday I drove over to her house and we were off.
Our first stop was to pick up one of her friends. They’ve known each other for many years and met through teaching English, so our conversation was a healthy mix of both languages. The next priority was to get some food in us, so for this we went with conveyor belt sushi. Time was short so we just pounded it and were on our way.
The concert itself was held at an upscale performance hall. I had been there before for a drum performance and maybe something else too. The tickets that Makita Sensei had received were freebies from a friend, but scattered us across the house. I got the lucky draw I guess and found myself in the sixth row, front and center. Of course I didn’t know the people around me, but they got a kick out of me fist pumping for the American pieces. The actual performance was very well done and my proximity to the stage really upped the experience. I was however able to see all too well the ugly side of the brass family. At every possible moment, they would open the floodgates such that their spittle would cascade to the floor.
After the intermission I was able to join my companions towards the back so that we could all sit together in some empty seats. For the second half of the performance they swapped classical composers for standards and movie pieces. I have been listening to a bit of Frank Sinatra lately, so I enjoyed the transition quite a bit. Also there were a couple pieces from ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’, which as a Miyazaki film can be equated to Disney in exposure and recognition among the Japanese.
One of the most entertaining things was the language barrier. They were from Czech Republic and also old, so the Japanese language was understandably not something they had conquered. After an awkwardly introductionless first few songs, the stiffest looking of the bunch picked up a mic and attempted a few words, and continued to deliver some tidbits throughout the performance. I had a really hard time understanding his accent laden Japanese, but the endearing attempts always evoked laughter from my peers.
The performance was a really nice outing and I was thankful to have been invited. It was one of those things where I would have never done it on my own dime, but was happy to have been given the opportunity.