The sleeping blog awakes, or Christmas at Rikkyo – 眠っていたブログがよみがえた(クリスマスですの報告)

Merry Christmas!  Another year of music making has come and gone, and once again I am enjoying food, family, and wine.  The stress levels decrease in inverse proportion to the increase of my waistline.  But that is a project for the new year.  For now it is time to forget and celebrate.  I hope you had a good holiday, whatever your religious preference might be.


The editor of the blog apologizes for nearly two months of sloth!  It is time to start posting again – with a vengeance.  Today I will share the Christmas events at Rikkyo University that I had a hand in.  From tomorrow I think I’ll begin changing the focus of this blog more toward photography.  Time will tell.


Lessons and Carols (December 16, 2017) 9つの聖書朗読とクリスマスキャロル礼拝

The Rikkyo University All Saints Mixed and Women’s Choirs sang for the annual service of Lessons and Carols in the Ikebukuro Chapel.  With a 75 voice choir in a 300 seat chapel, the layout of the choirs is critical.  Following last year’s pattern the Women’s Choir sang from the balcony while the Mixed Choir took over the chancel area.  It worked beautifully for double choir music.  I was very pleased with the singing of both choirs.  Luckily for us, choir graduate Uramoto Kohei took excellent photos of the service from the balcony.

2017年12月16日立教学院諸聖徒礼拝堂で Lessons and Carolsという伝統的クリスマス音楽礼拝が行われました。混声聖歌隊と女声聖歌隊が歌いました。チャペルの収容人数が約300人に対して、75名の聖歌隊員の配置が重要な点です。去年の通り、女声聖歌隊はバロコニーに、混声聖歌隊が祭壇で歌い、ダブルクワイアの音楽には最高の配置でした。両聖歌隊の歌のレベルに満足しました。卒業生(と元代表)の浦本康平さんが下の写真を撮ってくれましたので、提供します。

Mixed choir performing 混声聖歌隊の演奏

Carol singing 全員でクリスマスキャロルを歌う場面

The student conductor’s job during this event is critical – she has to direct the Women’s Choir when it sings, as well as to watch my conducting during the double choir works so that the two choirs sing together.  Kitazawa Aoi did a wonderful job!


Student conductor of the Women’s Choir Kitazawa Aoi 女声聖歌隊の学生指揮者の北澤さん

Yet another excellent sermon by choir chaplain Kim Daewon 聖歌隊チャプレンの金先生は相変わらず素晴らしい話をされました

End of service recessional 礼拝最後の退堂

Christmas Eve followed the normal pattern at Rikkyo, with late afternoon services at the Ikebukuro and Niiza campuses.  This year I was in charge of Niiza, playing the organ for parts of the service and conducting the choir.  Student conductor of the Mixed Choir, Nagata Haruna, took charge of the university choir anthems at Ikebukuro (thanks, Haruna!) .  Here are a few photos from the Niiza campus chapel.


The creche at Niiza is a large and elaborate one.  Just the thing for photographers with a bit of time to kill.  I must admit always wonder why the carvers choose to portray Jesus as a blue-eyed blond, though!


After the 5:30 pm Niiza service I took the train back to Ikebukuro for rehearsals and the 11:45 pm Midnight Mass (I am usually the organist for this, so my student conductors do all of the conducting for this elaborate sung service).  The last event for this busy time is the Christmas Day high mass.  It went very well from both a liturgical and musical standpoint.  Both choirs were seated in the chancel, with the handbell choir using the balcony.  For reference, here is a list of the music sung by the two choirs for the above services:



1: Wiant/Shaw: Stars of Ice (a Chinese Christmas carol sung but he Women’s Choir in Chinese)
2: Andrew Carter: O come, o come, Emmanuel (Double Choir)
3: Roger Quilter: The cradle in Bethlemem (Women’s Choir)
4: Howells: A spotless rose (Mixed Choir)
5: Stanford: Magnificat in G (Mixed Choir)
6: Philip Stopford: Lully, Lulla, Lullay (Mixed Choir)
7: 14th Century German, arr. John Rutter: Quem pastores laudavere (Double Choir)
8: MacDowall: Gloria (Women’s Choir)
9: Willcocks: Resonemus laudibus (Double Choir)

Retiring Choir Staff 聖歌隊のスタッフ引退

The end of the Christmas high mass also marks the changing of the guard in the Rikkyo choir.  The third-year students who have managed all aspects of the choir for the year retire, and a group takes the reigns.  I always dislike this part of Christmas.  The wonderful staff on which I have relied totally for the smooth running of the choir melts away, and a new group starts to tests its skills.  I am happy to being work with the enthusiastic new group, but always miss the former staff.  The 2017 was a truly stellar group!  Thank you to all members, but especially the student leader Nagai Hiroshi, and student conductors Nagata Haruna and Kitazawa Aoi.  You made my job a lot easier in 2017!!!


2017 Choir Staff members

My wonderful (former) student conductors (Aoi on the left and Haruna on the right)

The Editor of the (sleeping) View from Tokyo wishes all of you the best of all possible holiday seasons.  Peace and joy to us all!

(the View will resume regular posting from tomorrow!)

This entry was 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. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.