I was part of the school choir from kindergarten until 7th grade. I cannot think of my early education, and middle school without memories of Choir. I can still remember some of my performances very vividly, all the morning assemblies in which we would always sing the national anthem and all the art functions at which we would always perform. When I switched school in 8th grade, I did not join choir. And when I came to YIS in 9th grade, I did not join choir until 10th grade. After a two year long hiatus from choir, I found it hard to recover my skills which would include not feeling nauseous before a performance which I was able to gain from my 9 years of experience. So, re-joining choir was harder than I had expected, since, I just did not have to go back singing but I had to relearn the way of doing it.
I sang as a soprano, even though I could do alto easily as well. Ms. Treferen our choir teacher was new that year and her stay in YIS was only going to be a year long. Therefore, from the beginning of school year our goal was to learn and perform as many songs we could whilst sustaining the joyful environment among the group. Ms. Treferen’s way of teaching us and guiding us through every song strengthened us as a group and made us more comfortable with each other. Because of that I was able grow out of my shyness and work along with other members of choir better.
Throughout the year, we learned many great choral pieces, however, the one that will stick with me the most is a piece called Zui Zui composed by Winton Yuichiro White. Zui Zui is based on a famous Japanese children’s folk melody, hence, the lyrics were also in Japanese. Since, I do not speak Japanese that song was particularly hard for me to learn an in the beginning I had to rely completely on my music sheet to not make any mistakes. Though, after many dedicated practices I was able to memorise the lyrics properly. Zui Zui required perfect syncopation in order to for it to sound right. All parts of a song carry each other, a soprano’s part could be an alto’s cue. One part in Zui Zui, particularly, required just that but in practices it seemed way harder. It was like domino, all parts had to go right after the other but end at the same time and together. We were very lucky to get a lesson from White on that from himself when he payed our group a visit. Since, we were supposed to perform the song at the KPASSP (Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools Principals) HS Choral Festival, we also had some extra practice days to work on it. KPASSP HS Choral Festival, I was not nervous until I got on the stage, I had already performed at school functions, such as Food Fair, in YIS that built up my confidence to perform in front of other people again. During the performance, I could not stop my legs from shaking, and I was thankful for the dress that covered them, although, at the end, the applause from the audience was enough to feel much better. I was extremely delighted to learn that YIS HS Choir had received the Gold Honor at the festival.
A capella was a branch of our choir group, and it contained mostly all the girls from the initial HS Choir group. In a capella, I had taken the job of an alto, which sometimes I found much easier than soprano. In a capella, without an official guide, I had to take on the job of teaching myself. This helped me improve my music sheet reading skills abundantly and also increased my individual confidence. A cappella performed at the annual Christmas Party hosted by the service group, Van Der Poel, HS awards, end of the year assembly and other concerts held in school. Once after a performance, I was very relieved to receive a compliment from Ms. Treferen that I had carried my part very well. The appreciation of my performance made every moment spent learning the song greatly rewarding and worthwhile.