Live performance of Kitauji High School Brass Band!
A live brass band concert, ‘Sound! Euphonium Official Brass Band Concert – The first regular concert by Kitauji High School Brass Band’, was held at the main hall of Uji City Cultural Center (宇治市文化センター) in Uji City, Kyoto Prefecture on October 1 and 2. The venue is the model that was used for the the music hall that appears in the anime, where Reina and Kaori competed for the solo part in episode 11.
The concert was performed by 62 members of ‘Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, Freshmen Wind Ensemble 2014’ under conductor Masahiro Oowada, who supervised the music for the anime. Chiaki Matsuzawa, a newscaster who loves anime, acted as the presenter and Shigeru Saitou, music producer for the Sound! Euphonium series, acted as a commentator. They also had Yuri Yamaoka who voiced Yuuko Yoshikawa as a guest speaker. She showed up on stage wearing a red ribbon in her hair, saying “I’m Yuuko, aka, giant ribbon senpai!”. TRUE, who performed the opening songs for both the first and second season, also appeared as a guest singer.
This live concert was held before the second season started in order to share the live experience of listening to the musical pieces played in the first season of anime Sound! Euphonium. The pieces were played in the chronological order of the story. Saitou explained in his commentary for Orpheus in the Underworld, commonly known to be used on school sports days in Japan, that it starts out rather flat and then it suddenly turns dramatic towards the end, ‘It has the same style of beauty as pro-wrestling!’ They played two versions of Marines’ Hymn, the one before and the one after Mr. Taki taught them as the advisory teacher of the brass band club. It is quite hard to play badly on purpose. The before version was played with crazily disorganized sound and tempo and caused waves of laughter among the audience. Yamaoka commented, ‘It was so horrible that it gave me goosebumps!’
Twelve Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman” and 愛を見つけた場所 (The Place Where Love Was Found) were met with cheers of delight. They reminded the audience of the thrilling story. The first piece was played when Hazuki was invited for a trio ensemble for the very first time by Kumiko and Sapphire who wanted to cheer her up and show her what it was like to play together instead of practicing solo. It was played by a trio of tuba, euphonium, and contrabass, and reproduced the sentiment and the friendship of the three characters, fostering a warm atmosphere in the hall. The latter was played by a duo of trumpet and euphonium just like when Reina and Kumiko played it after climbing up Mt. Daikichi, carrying the heavy instrument all the way up.
They also played RYDEEN, which was played at the Sunrise Festival, as well as Wind of Provence and 三日月の舞 (Crescent Moon Dance), the pieces played at the competition. In the anime, Reina played the solo part on trumpet for 三日月の舞(Crescent Moon Dance), but Tomioka Ayami, who played Kaori’s trumpet parts in the anime, played the solo in this concert and charmed the audience. As Yamaoka cornered her asking questions like, ‘How did you like it?’ and ‘Have you ever bragged to someone that you played the part in anime?’, Tomioka challenged her to a trumpet solo battle. Yamaoka got a little flustered. ‘What? I’m not Reina, you know? Yuuko only stayed at the audience seat the whole time for the audition!’ As a matter of fact, Yamaoka spent six years of her junior and senior high school days as a well-known brass band club’s member, and so the audience got excited with anticipation. After both of them had finished playing solo, Saito started copycatting the teacher Mr. Taki, ‘Would you play the solo?’, and Yamaoka replied, ‘I can’t. I think Ms Tomioka should play the solo’ just like Kaori in the anime. The audience applauded with cheers and laughter to this amazing ‘parody play’.
TRUE appeared at the end of the concert as a guest singer, and performed DREAM SOLISTER (Movie Version) and the second season opening song Soundscape in brass band version for an encore. It was the first time that Soundscape was performed in public and it was arranged differently. She revealed how nervous she got before the performance: she was shivering like a little puppy backstage, but once she started singing, her powerful voice blew our mind, overwhelming the instruments. Oowada, the conductor, praised her great voice.
After the concert, Saito commented, ‘I hope we managed to convey how much love and passion we have put into this’. The members of ‘Freshmen Wind Ensemble’ have also improved their performance just like Kumiko and her friends, after undergoing Mr. Oowada’s grueling instructions, instead of Mr. Taki’s. We can expect to listen the results in the second season, but it would be great if you could experience this live if you have a chance. They will hold another live concert at Kanagawa Prefectural Civic Hall on November 20, 2016.
(Reported by 榑林史章)
Interview with Yuri Yamaoka
What was your impression of the concert?
‘I think an event like this perfectly fits with a brass band anime. As a matter of fact, I myself belonged to a school brass band for six years in junior and senior high school, and we did regular concerts like this, and went to other schools’ concerts too. It reminded me of my student days and it was really fun.’
Which musical pieces played today do you feel attached to?
‘That would be 三日月の舞 (Crescent Moon Dance), of course! That solo part is actually very difficult to play. It uses a wide range of tones evenly from high to low, and you often have to change it by the position of your lips. It’s filled with various trumpet techniques. You have to be quite confident to play it at a competition.’
You were a guest speaker today.
‘I wanted to give my talk while reminding myself of what I had experienced. Sound! Euphonium has no fantasy element in the show and it is very realistic. I did the same practices Yuuko [Yoshikawa] and other brass band members did in the show, so I wanted to talk about it as someone who experienced that.’
Were there actual rivalries for solo parts like what happened in anime too?
‘Not in my school. Some freshmen were indeed great players, but most people considered the competition to be a culmination of what students had been aiming for all three years, and everyone yielded precedence for solo parts to senior students as a general rule. Brass band clubs at school generally have the traditional hierarchy of seniority like many sports-oriented clubs do, so I don’t think there are many first-year students who would insist to play the solo like Reina did in anime. So, if someone spoke up what most people didn’t say but might have had in mind secretly, then there would be a drama like the one at Kitauji high school. That’s probably the charm and fun part of Sound! Euphonium, I think.’
Can you give us some highlights of the second season with some notes about the first season?
‘The first season was about how the characters wished to become good at playing instruments and that as a result created the complex situations with others. The second season is more about their relationships and how their performance changes. So, I want you to check out how their relationship influences their music performance. Yuuko’s role in the first season might have appeared to be very mean, but she was being a bit too sympathetic for her senior friend, and not exactly out of selfishness alone. She does certain things for someone else in the second season too. It may change your impression of Yuuko if you see her like that.’
What is the hardest part when performing as her?
‘Yuuko is temperamental, and she is quite honest about her own feelings. She gets angry and she cries. She does not try to hide her emotions. It’s pretty hard to show direct emotions through voice acting, and I’m trying so hard every episode to follow her and not to be left behind. She is like that too in the second season, and I enjoy acting her role including that tough side, too.’
Do you have a message to those who are coming to the concert at Kanagawa Prefectural Civic Hall on November 20?
‘The concert is set up to show you how the music performance improved as the characters grew in the story in chronological order, and you can enjoy the growth process from the concert too. You can enjoy it even if you have never been to a brass band concert or any regular music concerts like this. Those who show up just because they like the anime series can also enjoy it, remembering the pieces played in the show. At the concert in Kanagawa, Minako Kotobuki for Asuka-senpai will be on stage as a guest speaker, so please look forward to her talk too!’
Interview with TRUE
What was your impression of the concert event?
‘I was very nervous. The audience was filled with those really in love with Sound! Euphonium, and I got nervous because of their passion. My part was in the last half, so it made me even more nervous.’
Any comments on Sound! Euphonium?
‘For me, the series reminds me that music is fun. As I have been singing as a job for quite a while, I had accumulated various thoughts. It really refreshed me and made me go back to the starting point. It taught me that all the good times and bad times are part of my music life. It gave me the opportunity of experiencing another music journey.’
Do you have any favorite characters?
‘Maybe Reina. I’m not the kind of person who can see things from a higher perspective like Kumiko. It’s not that I want to be special like Reina does, but I do seek for my own shining moment by singing, and I can relate to her. I understand well how she tries to convince herself that she wants to be special.’
What were you doing as a high school student?
‘I was already working as a singer. Watching Sound! Euphonium made me realize that I didn’t really know how harsh and fun it was to create something together with others back then as I was always challenging myself alone on the stage. I pause to realize this when, like today, I get to work on stage with many others. I do feel strong pressure from that of course, but I certainly feel way better, surpassing the strain I get.’
Your song was arranged in a brass band style.
‘Everyone looked like they were having fun playing it, and I hope the audience finds it refreshing. The conductor stands back to back with me, and I really feel we are sharing the feeling. When I start pouring my emotions into the song, the sound follows me. I see their breathing fitting perfectly and the air moves along with me singing. I managed to convey my emotion on a totally different scale dimension than usual, thanks to the brass band.’
What is the highlight of the second season?
‘The first season was about their earthiness and strength and the fun moments with music. On top of that, the second season adds deeper human relationships. What they want to share with others drive their motivation to continue playing music. Each character wants to share their feelings with various people, friends, seniors and juniors, girlfriends and boyfriends, families and all, so I’m sure you can easily relate to one or more characters. I made the opening song for the second season to nestle closely to their various emotions.’
I see that your second season opening song is titled Soundscape.
The basic theme of the last opening song DREAM SOLISTER was ‘Sound!’, and this time it’s ‘Reach there!’ I’m so pleased to see a lot of people enjoyed and loved DREAM SOLISTER, so I put many elements of Sound! Euphonium into the song to return the favor. I’ll be happy if I manage to cuddle up to it close together!’
Do you have a message to those who are coming to the concert at Kanagawa Prefectural Civic Hall on November 20?
‘The next concert will be held when the second season is already airing, so you can enjoy it even deeper, I believe. Experiencing the live concert to follow the music pieces together with the ongoing story must be a rather rare experience, besides, the musicians who actually played the pieces in the show are performing in the concert. If you are a fan of this series, please come!’
Details of the show
■Original author: Ayano Takeda (Takarajimasha bunko novel Sound! Euphonium series)
■Director: Tatsuya Ishihara
■Script writer: Jukki Hanada
■Character design: Shouko Ikeda
■Series Director: Naoko Yamada
■Art Director Mutsuo Shinohara
■Color design: Akiyo Takeda
■Instrument setting: Hiroyuki Takahashi
■Director of Photography: Kazuya Takao
■Sound Director: Youta Tsuruoka
■Music: Akito Matsuda
■Music Production: Lantis
■Music Production in cooperation with: Senzoku Gakuen College of Music
■Music performance in cooperation with: Freshmen Wind Ensemble
■Music Supervisor: Masahiro Oowada
■Animation Production: Kyoto Animation
■Production: “Sound!” Production Committee
■Kumiko Oumae: Tomoyo Kurosawa
■Hazuki Katou: Ayaka Asai
■Sapphire Kawashima: Moe Toyota
■Reina Kousaka: Chika Anzai
■Asuka Tanaka: Minako Kotobuki
■Haruka Ogasawara: Saori Hayami
■Kaori Nakaseko: Minori Chihara
■Shuuichi Tsukamoto: Haruki Ishiya
■Takuya Gotou: Kenjirou Tsuda
■Riko Nagase: Miyuki Kobori
■Natsuki Nakagawa: Konomi Fujimura
■Yuuko Yoshikawa: Yuri Yamaoka
■Mizore Yoroizuka: Atsumi Tanezaki
■Nozomi Kasaki: Nao Touyama
■Mamiko Oumae: Manami Numakura
■Michie Matsumoto: Aya Hisakawa
■Masahiro Hashimoto: Yuuichi Nakamura
■Satomi Niiyama: Houko Kuwajima
■Noboru Taki: Takahiro Sakurai
Sound! Euphonium 2 Story
Kitauji High School Brass Band won the Gold award at the Kyoto prefectural preliminary competition. They are now qualified and will be advancing to the next stage to participate in the Kansai regional tournament, competing with many other great bands…!
■TOKYO MX1 Starting on October 5, on Wednesdays 24：00 ～
■ABC Asahi Starting on October 5, on Wednesdays 26：14 ～
■KBS Kyoto Starting on October 6, on Thursdays 25：30 ～
■TV Aichi Starting on October 5, on Wednesdays 26：05 ～
■TVK Starting on October 5, on Wednesdays 25：00 ～(The first episode at 24:30～)
■BS11 Starting on October 6, on Thursdays 24：00 ～(The first episode at 26:00～)
※The first episode is a one-hour-frame special
◼︎Blu-ray & DVD Volume 1
◼︎Release date: December 21, 2016
◼︎Including: “Mid-summer Fanfare” 48 minutes
◼︎Price: Blu-ray：6,500 yen + tax DVD: 5,700 yen + tax
◼︎Publisher: Kyoto Animation / “Sound!” Production Committee
◼︎Distributer: Pony Canyon
【Limited edition enclosed gifts】
・A special box in Digipak with Character Designer Shouko Ikeda’s illustrations (キャラクターデザイン池田晶子描き下ろし三方背特製ケース／デジパック仕様)
・A special booklet (16 pages)
・A special card with Character Designer Shouko Ikeda’s illustrations of Natsuki Nakagawa (キャラクターデザイン池田晶子描き下ろしイラストカード［中川夏紀］)
・Unaired short movie “Hanabi Taikai Kiss e Youkoso!/Welcome to the Fireworks Festival Kiss!”
・Preview trailer WEB version
・Raw Opening and Ending without credit texts
・Previews and Commercial ads
・Commentary by the Cast
・Commentary by the Staff
■Opening song: Soundscape by TRUE
■Ending song: Vivace! by Kitauji Quartet