<Performance Series Chapter 2> Gathering alumni of the music club and founding a citizen’s orchestra

“In reality, it was not an easy shift from a music club activity to the cultural activity by matured people. Gathering members and not letting them go away; this was indeed what my orchestra activity was about.”

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 “Pathetique” (4th movemnet)
Toyohashi Reed Philharmonic Orchestra
9th Regular Concert (June 27, 1970)

All students leave the music club as they graduate and that was when the story ends. Morishita was discouraged by the fact that facing the music in sincerity and cultivating cultural mind in the club activities all had to be tore down halfway through.

The teacher the former students gravitated towards each other and formed the citizen’s orchestra mainly consisting of alumni of the music club. For the first 10 years, they performed as the “Reed Orchestra” with a focus on accordions, yet they desperately sought for expressiveness with the reeds compared favorably with the violins.

In the seventh year of the establishment, they performed in the capital city, Tokyo. Back in 1971, it was unheard-of incident for a local reed orchestra to perform in Tokyo. Words of a pray is stated on the leaflet of the Tokyo Performance as follows.

We have been passionately seeking for the better music and have been performing at regular concert halls, mountain villages, and seaside towns for the past six years. We have come to think that in order for our music to take roots in this local area, we need a solid reputation in Tokyo. If you feel our modest activity is valuable and the music performed by the young musicians is one of the most beautiful things, please give us a hand. If the performance in Tokyo is successful, we believe a bud of music will start to grow in local areas.

Morishita reflects the establishment of the citizen’s orchestra as follows.

We must never forget that educational effects will not appear without a common and core formative experience with the students and nothing can elaborate its future activities nor its spirits. Club activity was the only place when seeking the essence of citizen’s orchestra in school education.”

The group of unnamed teacher and students took the first step in establishing the citizen’s orchestra, trying to refine their musical excitement and knowledge skills like a single noodle with the “connector” of inseparable humanity.

In June of 1965, they performed passionately in front of full house audiences whom the orchestra begged to come. The orchestra stated “naivetés of amateur and rigidity of professionals” as their motto; a group of people without perfect formation, instruments, and skills formed an orchestra ultimately relying on the strong bonds like families.

Things that did not exist back then; violins, violas, cellos, oboes, bassoons, English horns, tubas, and last but not least, my tailcoat, nor black tie to wear. I conducted in my informal business wear; someone in the audience said they saw my sweat stains as if it were a proof of cheapness on the clothes, like a shape of heart.
This however, was the very start of our own cultural activity; we put various conditions stoically on ourselves and all the members of the orchestra hugged each other and continued to cry over what we had accomplished.

This performance is from the sixth year of establishment of the citizen’s orchestra. Young accordion players in their teenage performed the joy and sorrow of Tchaikovsky.