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Bounenkai at Takanawa Wakyokan

Friday, 21st December, 2001

This was, as far as we know, only the Society's second official bounenkai (year-end party), the first one having taken place on December 27th, 2000 at Hokkaido in Shinjuku. Both events were extremely successful, so it seems likely that a bounenkai will feature regularly in the Society's programmes in the future.

It is not easy to find a suitable venue at such a busy time of the year, and we are indebted to Professor Makoto Taniguchi (St John's, Cambridge) for securing Takanawa Wakyokan for us. This is a private club for employees of Hitachi Metals, but the atmosphere, while certainly exclusive, is by no means forbidding. We were treated to a splendid buffet meal in the club's main hall, and no pressure was put on us to leave even well after the official closing time of 8.30 p.m.

The sixty or so members and guests who attended were also treated to the company and singing of the 35 members (17 choristers aged 8 to 13, 17 clerks and the Director of Music) of The Choir of New College, Oxford, who took time out of their Japan Tour to attend the party. Mr Teruhisa Nakamura (Worcester, Oxford) welcomed them on behalf of the Society, and Dr Edward Higginbottom (the Organist and Director of Music) replied for the Choir. The latter made the interesting observation that as the boys of the choir are full members of the Foundation of New College, they should be eligible for membership of our Society regardless of whether they attend either Oxford or Cambridge University in the future. We'll be pleased to put this to the test!

The full choir delighted us with three Christmas Carols, and later in the evening the adults of the choir, most of whom are undergraduates at New College, made a more light-hearted contribution of several close-harmony arrangements. We realised once again how important it is for the Society to keep abreast of and participate as far as it can in Oxbridge-related visits to this country.

This was, surprisingly enough, New College Choir's first visit to Japan. Their tour took them to Kyoto (Kyoto Concert Hall on 19th) and Tokyo. In Tokyo they gave a private performance in Aoyama Gakuin's new chapel on 22nd, and two public performances at Suntory Hall on 23rd at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Both of these concerts sold out well in advance, which is no mean achievement in the current economic climate. Fortunately, many members of the Society had already taken advantage of Suntory Hall's kind offer of a 10% discount for C&O members on tickets to the concerts there.

The introduction during the party of four new members, all from Oxford, should not be forgotten: Ms Mari Momose (St Hilda's, Oxford); The Rev. Dr M. Antoni J. Ucerler (Campion Hall, Oxford); Mr Simon Woolhouse (Keble, Oxford); and Ms Miki Yamada (Wolfson, Oxford).

(TDM)

Posted in | Submitted by huw.williams on Thu, 2001-12-20 15:00.
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