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Carthage Wind Orchestra Brings Home a Piece of Japan

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Returning home from their fifth Japan J-Term tour, the Carthage Wind Orchestra shared their trip with the Carthage community through “Mythical Japan” – a performance attributing to the Japanese culture and the students’ experiences abroad. Recognizing both the Japanese and American cultures, the performance brought together each musician and instrument for a synchronized purpose demonstrating mystical rhythms and flowing melodies.

Japan was the perfect location for the orchestra to experience the unifying element of music within a different culture because not only does Japan have similar cultural elements in regards to wind bands, but also because of existing connections established by James Ripley, Director of Instrumental Music Activities and Conductor of the Wind Orchestra. On top of this, nobody can deny the enjoyment of warm weather while thinking about Kenosha freezing over.

Karl Stefans, ’17, Tuba Performance major notes his favorite part of the Japan trip was visiting Hiroshima, where they had the chance to put on a dual-performance with the club band from Hiroshima University. The music performed represented popular culture and traditions from both cultures – allowing immense collaboration between different people.

“Most every kind of music will affect people in certain ways it’s hard not to listen to music and not get some type of reaction as a person. What’s interesting about playing music together is that it allows people to feel and experience their own emotions in a collective way – which isn’t possible for most other interactions,” said Ripley.

Traveling to Japan was not just something to do to gain experience abroad. Contrastingly, the latter was used as a way to bring the orchestra closer together, develop stronger relationships and build better understandings of each other.

“I always loved to do tours like this because everybody in the ensemble gets a lot closer. I think that helps the music making a lot too. That definitely held true for this trip,” said Stefans.

As one of the oldest college bands in America, the Carthage Wind Orchestra along with the other music departments have become a home away from home for students for over 140 years. The universality of music, the power to make connections across different cultures, allows anybody to be able to enjoy music, despite lack of skill or musical knowledge.

The Wind Orchestra invites the community to their upcoming performances on April 2 and again, later in May. In April, the concert will be a joint performance with The Racine Brass Band. This collaboration will be fun and excitable, encouraging audience participation and enjoyment. In May, the music selection is based on dark poetry, but using the uniqueness of each instrument, it will be presented with a sense of hopefulness.

No matter your involvement at Carthage, these performances are a great opportunity for anybody to experience the unique talent and knowledge that is found across campus.

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