Healing Through Music for the COVID-19 Situation

In the midst of the uncertain future of the COVID-19 situation, many of you may have been healed and cheered up by music. In this featured article, we asked 3 music-related groups, “Percussion Ensemble”, “Cyalume Dance Performers” and “Brass Academy” about what they are focusing on for the 72nd Komaba Festival and the appeals of music.

1. Please tell us what you are focusing on for the 72nd Komaba Festival.

The University of Tokyo Percussion Ensemble

Based on the experiences of the 3 live streaming concerts we have held so far, we have worked hard to enrich the program so that everyone who comes to our project can have an enjoyable time.

At last year's Komaba Festival, we didn’t have enough time to practice and had to reduce the program compared to previous years. This year, however, we tried to increase the opportunities for practice as much as possible within the limited environment and time frame by finding a better place to practice and introducing small-group practice. As a result, we were able to try playing various genres of music, such as high-level percussion ensembles and classical music, in addition to the arrangements by the group members and Do-Re-Mi-Pipes that we have been working on in our previous concerts.

We are sorry that you can't see our performance with your own eyes, but the program is as substantial as that of the face-to-face concerts, and we are sure that we will be able to deliver a more attractive online concert than ever before!

Cyalume Dance Performers

Not only for the 72nd Komaba Festival, we are particular about the quality of our works. Starting from deciding on the music, choreography, direction, location, and editing, we had many discussions and preparations for the 72nd Komaba Festival.

This time, we were particularly conscious of "creating the overall atmosphere of the work" based on our work "Kaikai Kitan" that was presented at the 94th May Festival held online in September this year. First of all, we chose "Dizzy Dizzy" for its vivid and stylish image, as opposed to "Kaikai Kitan," which had a vigorous tune. Next, we listened to the song over and over again and decided on the other elements based on the story we had imagined in our mind.

This storyline has never been done before, and we think it is the highlight of this project. In the past, the clothing was left random, but this time, we clearly distinguished the 2 main characters from the others in black and white. We also paid a lot of attention to the editing and other details to create the atmosphere, so we hope you will enjoy watching our video.

The University of Tokyo Brass Academy

At the 72nd Komaba Festival, we will have two projects: showing videos of the concert held by the group and live-streaming ensembles performed by volunteers. Although we had some difficulties in preparing for these unprecedented projects, we hope that you will enjoy a variety of compositions and genres, from large-scale ensembles to small-scale concerts.

We also took advantage of the strengths of video to devise the camera work. Please pay attention to the facial expressions of the members as they perform, which is difficult to see in a face-to-face concert, as well as the shifting perspectives as the scene changes.

2. In what ways do you think you can heal and cheer up the visitors through your music?

The University of Tokyo Percussion Ensemble

We hope that you can feel the energy and passion of us through our concerts. Our concerts consist of only percussion instruments, but they are enjoyable not only for those who know percussion instruments well and have played them before, but also for those who are not familiar with percussion instruments.

普段は吹奏楽やオーケストラで、伴奏として彩りを加えたりバンド全体を支えたりする役割を担うことが多い打楽器ですが、当団の演奏会ではそんな打楽器こそが主役です。聞き馴染みのある有名な曲であっても、打楽器特有の音色や表現により原曲とはまた違った一面が見られると思います。その他にも、一見楽器には見えない筒でメロディを奏でる曲や、打楽器ならではの音色や奏法を生かした本格的なアンサンブル曲もあり、打楽器の新たな可能性を感じていただけるのではないでしょうか。

Percussions are very familiar instruments in that anyone can easily make sounds, but at the same time, they are also profound instruments whose tone can change with a slight difference in the way we strike them. Through this concert, we hope that you will be able to feel and enjoy the appeal of percussion instruments.

Cyalume Dance Performers

We created this work with many thoughts and feelings. We hope that you will be able to feel our passion and that seeing our energetic performance of WOTAGEI will cheer you up as well!

The University of Tokyo Brass Academy

Music is full of attractiveness and power that cannot be conveyed by words alone. The sources of them are the enthusiasm we have for music, our determination to make the project a success even if we are in the COVID-19 situation, and above all, our strong desire to make you happy with our music. For the 72nd Komaba Festival, all of us worked hard for 2 months to devise new ways of performing and staging. Please enjoy our powerful music that is transmitted even online.

3. Finally, please give messages to the visitors.

The University of Tokyo Percussion Ensemble

Every year at the Komaba Festival, many music groups carry out their projects. Even in the online format, this is no different, and there are many projects filled with the ingenuity and characteristics of each group.

There is no doubt that performing in the same space as the audience and in front of them is one of the most important elements of music. However, because it is an online format, each concert or project can be accessed by simply moving 1 or 2 web pages, making it possible to enjoy more projects with ease. Even if you don't usually listen to music, or if you usually only listen to specific kinds of music, why not take the opportunity of the 72nd Komaba Festival to experience a variety of music?

Our concert will be shown on YouTube from 5 PM on the first day. Even those who are not familiar with percussion instruments will be able to enjoy the performance. All of us are looking forward to seeing you there.

Cyalume Dance Performers

Thank you for coming. We're sorry that we are not able to show you the live performance of WOTAGEI at the Komaba Campus. However, there are some unique strengths of online performances which live ones don’t have. This is because the editing process makes it possible to create effects and choreography that would not normally be possible. In this sense, we have prepared for this project with a special feeling.

We guess that many of you have never seen or heard of WOTAGEI. We would like to invite you to take a look at our work, especially if you are one of those people.

The University of Tokyo Brass Academy

Thank you very much for coming to the Komaba Festival and reading our article. Although the festival is held online again this year, all of us have been working hard to deliver performances that everyone can enjoy. We hope that you will be able to feel the passion of our nearly 100 members. We are looking forward to seeing you on YouTube.

The Projects We Interviewed for