After graduating from elementary school, I entered Nachi Junior High School. In junior high school, after-school clubs started, and I decided to join a chorus club. I enjoyed singing alto in the choir in elementary school. However, halfway through my freshman year, I heard that a new brass band club had been established, and I decided to move to the new club, so I quit the chorus club, even though I felt guilty about it.
One year earlier, the Meiji University band club had performed at a concert in our town and I had heard wonderful performances of jazz and pop music. Among them, it was the drums that fascinated me the most. I don't remember the song, but there was a drum solo, and I was overwhelmed by the power of the drum solo, and I got excited.
We had to audition to become a member of the brass band. They tested our singing ability and also tested our instrumental skills. I really wanted to try out for percussion. But then something shocking happened.
Miss Fujiwara from a small mountain elementary school, who had been in the drum and fife corps since elementary school, did an incredible drum solo on the march. I was overwhelmed and shocked.
I tried to join the brass band because I wanted to play the drums, but I was hopeless.
My music teacher, Mr. Hirano told me, “Ohta, I understand your desire to play the drums, and anyone can do it with practice, but since the brass band just started, I will ask Fujiwara who can do it now." He comforted and encouraged me to try playing the clarinet, flute, or piccolo, but I had no desire to do so and could not make any sound.
I came home disappointed. I said to my grandma. “I was not chosen to be a drummer. I don’t want to play any other instrument but drums.”
She said, "Oh, I see. I'm very sorry to hear that. But, Megumi, why don't you pray to God? She said boldly. "What? You think I should still pray? It's already decided. I have zero chance." I cried out in my heart.
But then I reconsidered.
The Bible says that if you believe, you can move mountains.Matthew 17:20He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
After supper, with disposable chopsticks, I practiced that march that Fujiwara tapped on, over and over, until late at night in the stainless steel kitchen.
"Okay, I got it! Let's try this tomorrow in front of Mr. Hirano.
If I can play drum well, he might even make me a substitute!
If it doesn't work, then I'll give up.
I prayed "Dear Father, please help me."
On the next morning I went to school. Then, an unexpected turn of events occurred.
Fujiwara told me this story.
"Ohta, I've played the drum in the fife band for a long time. I don't want to play the drum again. I want to play the clarinet. So I'll ask Mr. Hirano if it’s OK that you play the drum instead of me.
"No way! Are you sure?"
She took my hand and we went to Mr.Hirano and she told him about it.
Mr. Hirano said, "Hmmm. I see. But..." His face had a look of disappointment.
Soon, after school, all students entered the club room.
My heart was beating and I prayed, "God, please give me strength. Please help me to make it through the march that I practiced yesterday without failure. "
Finally, the time came.
I started the marching solo.
Mr. Hirano and all the students were astonished when they heard my solo and asked, "How did you manage to do this march solo in one day?”
I was able to be in charge of the drums.
Everyone! Could you believe this happened?
Mr. Hirano allowed me to play all the drums except for the snare drum.
We marched outdoors. Another girl was in charge of the bass drum.
She and I were the best combinations.
I practiced so hard that I got a blister that popped and bled. I even punched a hole in the tom twice due to excessive force.
During the concert, I had a mishap. One of my drum stick flew into the air and fell to the floor.
I felt bad for the teacher and the bandmates because of my error.
But fortunately, I was able to pick up the drumsticks in time.
As a result, the audience laughed and applauded more than usual.
God helped and protected us and protected our performance.
I was not good at the swing used for jazz, so I stayed after club activities to practice. When I finally mastered it, I turned back and saw Mr.Hirano was watching over me.
He was also an advisor when I was vice president of the student council, so we were a perfect team.
He was a social studies teacher, but he was in charge of music because he was amazingly good at the piano.
His talent for arranging music was also remarkable.
His wife told me that he kept a piece of 5 line sheet music and a pencil by his bedside when he went to sleep, and when an idea came to him in a dream, he would wake up and jot down the notes.
He also worked as a monk at a temple during his off-time.
He also used a wooden fish(Buddhist Monks use this when they pray.) as a percussion instrument, and its sound was unique and made people laugh.
For the "Bullfighter's Mambo," he arranged a drum solo in between the trumpet and saxophone solos, and it became the band's highlight. At that time, female drummers were rare, and the local newspaper always wrote favorable reviews.
Our popular music was “Little Brown Jug" and "American Patrol" by Glenn Miller Orchestra, the theme song of "Mrs. Hana" which was a TV novel at the time. The theme song of the puppet show "Gourd Island”, and "Light cavalry by Franz von Suppé" won the bronze prize at the Wakayama Prefecture Brass Band Contest.
We played the “National Anthem" at the annual opening ceremony of the New Year,
Our repertoire gradually grew and we became known as the first brass band in Higashimuro County.
God never neglects our earnest desires. God is merciful. I have received God's care and love through these small incidents in my daily lives. God has never once broken my trust in Him, either when He opens a door or when He closes it. God is not some distant being on a cloud. I want to tell you that God is close to us, involved in our lives, and encourages us. (To be continued)
TV drama “Mrs.Hana"
Light cavalry by Franz von Suppé"
Individuals, those who left donation boxes, and street donations by 3 times were closed on May 11. The total is as follows
Totally :228,564 yen
We will also be placing donation boxes at the second Disaster Prevention Forum and Music Concert on May 28, so we will report the final total to you again. We would like to thank all of you for your cooperation and prayers.