I hear music in the air – オルガンリサイタルの案内

I have been absent from this blog for several weeks now.  To be honest, I haven’t done anything of note since the start of the year aside from practicing the organ and keeping up my normal work duties at Rikkyo.  (Well, I have snuck away for an hour or two of cycling, I must admit.)

I am performing in Kobe at Kobe International University on January 28, and many hours of each day are consumed in that preparation.  The concert is in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the installation of the fine Fisk organ in the university chapel, and the repertoire is all English.  Following the concert I’ll be leading an organ masterclass, as well as conducting a choir festival the next day at St Michael’s Anglican Cathedral in Kobe (the home of a fairly new Mander organ).  If you’re in the Kansai area the weekend of the 28th, I hope to see you!



In case you’re in the Tokyo area the weekend of the 28th, Rikkyo Gakuin is sponsoring a recital by Emmanuel Le Divellec from France at its Niiza campus chapel (which also houses a Fisk organ, by the way).  The information is below.  The recital starts at 2 pm and is free.

Posted in Organ ~ オルガン関係, Rikkyo ~ 立教 | Leave a comment

Happy New Year! 明けましておめでとうございます!

Greetings and apologies to readers for the scarcity of posts lately.  No excuses will be made today – it’s the time for resolutions to the effect of writing more often.  Stay tuned to see whether or not I manage to keep that resolution.  As we all know, 2016 was a year of transitions and surprises.  My hope is that the changes we all experienced lead to a stable and more peaceful world in 2017.  Realistic or not, that’s my wish for all of us in the coming year.

As for me, the holiday season was the usual mix of pedal-to-the-floor paced work, followed by the lazy post-Christmas season and “a bit” of over indulgence.  As I was out one evening trying to walk off some of that indulgence, I spotted this bottle in a drink machine.  To answer your question, no, I have not yet managed to produce a “miracle body.”  Perhaps today I’ll walk over and buy a bottle and see what it does to the figure.  Stay tuned for the results.

Christmas seems like a long way past, even though we are still in the Christmas season, liturgically.  If my calculations are correct, today is the Eighth Day of Christmas.  Did your true love give you a present today?  Rather than blather on any further, I’ll share some photos of the season in reverse chronological order.  Happy holidays!

“The Wife” and I wish you a very good 2017

New Year’s Eve traditional Japanese fare – “toshikoshi soba”

This year both of the Rikkyo chapel choirs sang for the Christmas Day High Mass, giving a combined choir of 80 singers.  The chapel handbell choir was in the balcony, so a total of 100 student musicians added great joy to the service.

The end of the Christmas day service also marks the changing of the guard in the choir.  The third-year staff, upon which I depend for the managing of this ultra-active choir, retires and is replaced by the class below.  2016 was the busiest season for the choir on record – an England tour, two CD recording projects, an away concert at Matsumoto’s Harmony Hall, a choir festival, the annual Messiah concert, and, finally, the normal Christmas duties.  This super staff is pictured below.

Christmas Day Service at Rikkyo University’s All Saints Chapel

pre-service rehearsal led by yours truly

post-service group photo of the chaplains, acolytes, and choirs

the 2016 choir staff

my final “lecture” to the retiring staff

I order them all to return to the choir the moment their job searches are concluded

Hirayama Junya helped out in the early music with his Renaissance drum (he is flanked by fourth-year members Oto Shuya and Uramoto Kohei, the photographer for many of these shots)

Between the two all-Rikkyo eve services (held on the Ikebukuro and Niiza campuses) and the midnight mass comes the choir’s annual Christmas party.  Gift exchanges, tables groaning with food, and a 40-minute performance by members of the choir were all part of the fun.  My role?  To give the opening toast (sorry – non-alcohol beverages only to preserve the sanity of the midnight mass!) and then fade into the woodwork.


Christmas eve – All Saints Chapel before the midnight mass

altar flowers

a calm Christmas eve campus

a calm Christmas eve campus

PS  Yes, a bit of cycling was accomplished as well

Posted in Choral ~ 聖歌隊関係, Church music ~ 教会音楽, Music - general ~ 音楽:一般, Rikkyo ~ 立教, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

Lessons & Carols @ Rikkyo 〜 9つの聖書日課とクリスマスキャロル@立教大学

Christmas is nearly upon us and I haven’t even announced the university-related Christmas services!  The first event you might be interested in is the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols.  This traditional English service is a chance to enjoy both of the university choirs as they sing carols of the season between the traditional readings.  The doors of the Ikebukuro campus chapel open at 5:30 pm on Saturday, December 17.

クリスマスまで2週間切りました。今週の土曜日にイギリスの伝統的なクリスマス音楽礼拝である Lessons & Carolsを行います。ご存知の方もおられると思いますが、立教大学のチャペルには女声聖歌隊と混声聖歌隊が存在します。普段、別々に活動しています。珍しい事ですが、今回の礼拝では両方の聖歌隊が一緒に歌います。歌う予定の曲目は以下の通りです。ご来場をお待ちしています。

This year’s repertoire comprises the following

  • Benjamin Britten: Deo gratias
  • Andrew Carter arr.: O come, o come, Emmanuel
  • John Rutter arr.: Sussex Carol
  • Benjamin Britten: There is no rose
  • Arvo Part: Bogoroditsye Dyevo
  • Philip Stopford: Lully, Lulla, Lullay
  • John Rutter arr.: Quem pastores laudavere
  • Max Reger: Maria Wiegenlied
  • Adrian Wall arr.: Gaudete


Posted in Choral ~ 聖歌隊関係, Church music ~ 教会音楽, Rikkyo ~ 立教 | Leave a comment

50 days later… 50日ぶりに

It has been exactly 50 days since I last rode a bike. This seemed like a good point to resume cycling, so this morning I hopped out of bed a 5 am and did a bit of pre-dawn riding. I seem to have lost quite a bit of strength, but still enjoyed being out in the fresh air with my Brompton bike. I'm sure the muscles will regain their pre-pneumonia condition quickly. Here are a few photos from this morning's 30 km Arakawa river ride.


I also had a longish walk on my day off. Skies were an intense blue that begged to be photographed. I didn't have a camera, but luckily, I've recently bought an iPhone 7 plus, which does an admirable job, considering it's a phone camera. The cycling photos above were also taken with this camera.

ところで、このページにある写真は全部 iPhone 7 Plus で写しました。携帯のカメラとして、かなりよいものだと思います。カメラを持っていない時も写真撮影を楽しむ事は可能となりました。


Finally, fruit of the season. Gifts from friends – thank you Ms H.Y. And Mrs S.E. 最後に季節の果物。頂いたみかんとりんごです。ありがとうございました、Hさん、Sさん!


Posted in Cycling, Nature ~ 自然, Photography ~写真, Tokyo ~ 東京 | Leave a comment

Sakiyama Yuko performs at Tokyo Cathedral 12/9 – 﨑山裕子氏@東京カテドラル:12月9日(金)

As I wrote recently on this blog, Rikkyo University organist Yuko Sakiyama is performing on the Tokyo Cathedral Organ Meditation series tomorrow evening (December 9) at 7:00 pm.  I went to the cathedral yesterday afternoon to hear her play.  Her’s is a program reflecting the season, with both Advent and Christmas organ music.  I think you will find it as enjoyable as I did.  Here she and the cathedral are (photo left), and below is her program.


If you haven’t heard the cathedral’s organ before, this will be a good chance to do so.  The acoustics are rolly-polly grand, and the organ is a very refined-sounding instrument by Mascione of Italy.  The church’s homepage declares proudly that this is the biggest church in Japan, but actually it is the second largest, as far as I know.  The 52-stop Mander organ at Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki is quite a bit larger, in fact.  That has nothing to do with the quality or beauty of the Mascione organ, of course.  I just like to correct the misconception that you will be hearing Japan’s largest church organ if you attend the Meditation.



Part 1

  • J. S. Bach: Chorale Prelude on Nun komm der Heiden Heiland BWV659
  • Anton Heiller: Variation fur Orgel: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

Part 2

  • Alexandre Guilamant: Offertoire dur Deux Noels
  • Craig Phillips: Carol
  • Kenneth Lowenberg: Advent (Tone Poem on Conditor alme siderum)
  • Rebecca Groom Te Velda: Besancon/Carol of the Advent

After hearing Ms Sakiyama play, she, Steven Dieck and I enjoyed good coffee across the street at an elegant cafe called Oto no ha – highly recommended.  It was sunset time, so the view over toward Shinjuku from Mejiro Dori was quite fine (photo).  Finally, a photo of the cathedral bell tower.

Ginko trees line the street outside the cathedral

Coffee at Oto no ha cafe

Sunset over Shinjuku

Cathedral bell tower

Posted in Pipe organ links  パイプオルガンリンク, Rikkyo ~ 立教, Tokyo ~ 東京 | 2 Comments