[ Music Activities for Post-COVID 19 in Asia ] Vol.2

A Report from Japan

Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, amateur orchestras in Japan had to refrain from musical activities since the beginning of March. Professional orchestras also had to stop all performances from end of March. It was on March 24 when the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics was announced.

The infection situation continued to worsen and the government declared the state of emergency on April 7. It was at end of May when the situation started to settle a little and orchestras started to seek ways to restart their activities in June.

It was on June 7 when Toyohashi Youth Orchestra finally got together for rehearsal for the first time in 3 months. However, in order to avoid “Three Cs” (closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact setting), we were not able to have orchestra rehearsal, but had section rehearsal at our activity base, the music room in Hada Middle School. Yet the faces of young musicians were irradiated with joy for reunion and playing their instruments together.

Teachers who witnessed such young musicians started to seek ways to hold a concert. Although the state of emergency was lifted, there were various restrictions to hold a concert and in addition, the number of people infected began to increase again in July. Professional orchestras somehow managed to hold concerts, however, amateur orchestras had to cancel or postpone all scheduled concerts.

Regardless of the difficult situation, we wanted to hold a concert since some members are graduating and will not be able to perform with same members next year. The strong desire for them to perform all together on the stage gave a push on the back.

We were finally able to hold the 21st Regular Concert on August 10 with sufficient infectious disease control measures. The orchestra pit was lifted, and the sound reflecting boards were removed to secure enough space for performers. The number of seats was restricted to 250 seats, about 1/6 of all the seats. Such critical conditions to hold a concert in deed, made young musicians enhance their concentrations. They performed Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5 so beautifully and the concert hall was full of ultimate impressions.