Tokyo Report #2

Saturday was an all day vocal competition for which I served as one of the judges. Comprised of students from area private schools, the students showed a high level of talent and great preparation. It was nice to meet their directors too, all of them from either the us or canada. Instruction in these schools is all English, so communication with the students has been a breeze.

The students themselves are completely delightful…eager to learn and grateful for guidance. It's been very rewarding working with them.

Sunday was a day off, so after a nice 3 mile jog (during which time I nearly was swept into a local half marathon) my host Randy picked me up for a day of seeing the sights. We bought a day pass for the subway and headed to downtown Tokyo, just about four stops from my “home” at the Saint Mary's International School. Randy took me to shopping district Shibuya, Shinjuku, a beautiful park, a school designed in the 1920's by Frank Lloyd Wright, and best of all–the sky high bar on the 50th floor of a municipal government building. From there we enjoyed the view AND a couple of cold ones!

Monday was my first day working in the school where Randy and his wife Rachel teach. The Saint Mary's International School is a k-12 school for boys run by the Brothers in Christian Education, a Catholic order with priests (“brothers”) from all over the world. They've just opened a new complex of buildings in a very affluent suburban Tokyo neighborhood. I'm lodged overnight in the Brothers Residence, a tidy building of very comfortable apartments where many of the Brothers themselves live. We have breakfast together each morning.

At the school, I've worked with middle and high school groups. Most are non auditioned but all show dedication and an impressive level of achievement. Their directors Randy and Rachel have earned respect and admiration worldwide for their work here. In fact, they have toured to the states and through Asia with their choirs many times.