Honban is Japanese for the actual day of an occurence, in this case, our concert. It was a huge success, one of the best I've ever been in. The conductor, Michiyoshi Inoue (whom you see in the photograph with me), was incredible. In rehearsals he had just the right images to get what he wanted from us. Since he has studied ballet, he also uses a great deal of body language. In fact, during the concert, there were places where he was kind of dancing, and others where he'd be rolling his arms to indicate the movement in the music.
The tenor, in his solo about being a roasted swan, if you know Carmina Burana, sang from the balcony behind us. He staggered like a drunk from the organ down to the railing and kind of hung over it. The conductor was also reeling during the piece, in a kind of imitation. In another comical solo, the baritone took off his jacket and, at the end, through it at the conductor (which was rehearsed), who stuck out his arms from under the coat to conduct the very last notes. Both solos got spontaneous applause.
Naturally, that had all of us enjoying the performance as much as the audience. One of the biggest criticisms of my chorus is that we always look so serious. Not this time! I was concerned that we might end up losing our focus on the music and make mistakes, but, instead, the heightened state that it produced resulted in a heightened focus. Our timing was great, and, for once, we were on pitch. (My ears actually hurt when we're not.) The silence at the end of each number was very telling. The audience was truly caught up in the intensity of it all.
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