The Hikarigaoka All Girls High School Wind Orchestra from Okazaki, Japan visited Sun Prairie High School on Dec. 17-19 in in preparation for their performance at the Midwest Clinic — an International Band and Orchestra convention held in Chicago. The students were hosted by families of the Sun Prairie Band Program during their stay.

The next morning the Japanese students observed the SPHS jazz I rehearsal. They were welcomed by Principal Nerby in the PAC and later toured Sun Prairie High School. After two more hours of rehearsal, the Japanese students enjoyed lunch at Sun Prairie High School. The visiting students were very appreciative of this “insider” view of an American high school.

The evening concert featured the Cardinal Heights Wind Symphony, SPHS Wind Ensemble and the Hikarigaoka All Girls High School Wind Orchestra. The near capacity audience really enjoyed the concert. Many were amazed at the wonderful sound, clean technique of our visitors. The second part of the Japanese performance was more like a concert that they would present in Japan and started with the Earth Wind and Fire tune, “September”, complete with clapping and choreography. Mr. Hino, the Hikarigaoka director, mentioned that although he had done several exchanges with foreign bands in the past, this was the largest and most enthusiastic audience they had ever played for.

The next morning, everyone arrived for another rehearsal. It was then time to say goodbye. It was very gratifying to see how close these students became to each other in just a couple days time. Music was in fact a universal language that helped break the language barrier and brought students from very different cultures to have a better understanding of each other. In the process many new friendships were formed and memories that will last a lifetime.

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