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These are the year 2003 entries to:CA'S LATEST NEWS.
On December 17th my chorus participated in the world premiere of an orchestral/choral piece, Kita no Daichi. The poem for the lyrics was by Hokkaido-born poet Bunichiro Kawamura, and a young composer, Kazuki Kuriyama set it to contemporary music.
The piece expresses the many aspects of Hokkaido, the "frontier" prefecture or state where I live. Although only about 20 minutes long, it was one of the most challenging I've ever sung with its modern harmonics, syncopated rhythms, and poetic Japanese lyrics. There were even some Ainu words included. The soloists--soprano Yoshimi Tasuno and baritone Toshimitsu Kimura--did a remarkable job, as did Tadaaki Otaka in conducting the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra and a special Kita no Daichi chorus. Sponsored by the Hokkaido International Music Exchange Society, or HIMES, this was one of the most exciting performances I've ever participated in.
From September 1st to 16th I visited France for the second time. Among my experiences there were making friends with a Benedictine nun in at an abbey, Abbaye Sainte Marie de Maumont, in SW France and visiting a school in a suburb of Paris where a friend teaches 6th~9th grade. Also, with my friends in SW France, I took a tour of the Chateau de Azay le Rideau. For a full report of my experiences, see France, 2003.
On Sunday, June 1st, my chorus sang the Verdi Requiem at Kitara Hall. We had the opportunity of working with guest conductor, Michiyoshi Inoue. One of my students who attended the concert described him as "fantastic, fabulous, splendid, marvelous, magnificent, and cool !!!" with which I agree. (See his photo at the Kajimoto Concert Management Co.,Ltd. web site. Also see a partial bibliography by the Kyoto Shimbun [Newspaper].) With his help and rehearsing nearly a year, it was the most professional performance we've ever given.
In May I began ballroom dance lessons at a studio just one block from my apartment. First I took private lessons in the rumba, then joined a group lesson with three other women who are currently doing the waltz, tango, and cha cha. Despite their years of experience they welcomed a beginner who more or less stumbles through the steps.
The teacher is extremely kind and has an excellent understanding of how to pace the lessons. One of the most valuable lessons I've learned is how to hold myself and move not just my feet but my whole body differently with each dance. My posture is improving as well!
In April I began a local support group for those recovering from alcohol and drug abuse called SOAR (Sapporo Organization for Addiction Recovery). I also started an email group called SOARmates. So far two others have joined the regular Sunday evening meetings. Since they're held at my office, across the hall from my apartment, we don't have to pay rent, and I can be there whenever people arrive, whether early or late. One of my SOARmates introduced me to the book, The Power of Now, by Eckhardt Tolle, so we often discuss that at the meetings.
On February 27th, I was in the U.S. for my mother's 85th birthday. She lives at Tudor Oaks in Wisconsin. I participated in a T'ai Chi Chu'an class with her as well as going nearly every day to the exercise room where we worked out on machines.
I was also able to visit my sister, Mary Elizabeth Raines, otherwise known as Lady Rainey, at the family "homestead" in Weyauwega, Wisconsin, to which she returned last November from Hollywood. She still travels frequently to the Los Angeles area to give training in hypnotherapy, and I was able to have a couple of sessions with her during our visit. In addition to being a hypnotherapist and writer (not counting musician, actress, and director), she has recently purchased some beehives and taken up beekeeping. She lives with her dog, Patty, who is happy to be back in the country after two years of city life, and a cockatiel, Bobby, who is the most gregarious bird I've ever met.
The last weekend in March I traveled to Tampa, Florida, near where I attended the 3rd annual Congress for LifeRing Secular Recovery. Although a great deal of our time was spent in meetings, the greatest accomplishment being the startup of a newsletter, LifeLines, it was great meeting face-to-face long-term friends from email support groups.
Stopping in Denver, I visited long-term friends, Jack and Sue Harding, who took me out for a buffalo meat dinner. Sue also introduced me to her favorite clothing store, Chico's, where I spent an exhorbitant amount on new clothes that are light, wrinkle-free, and great for traveling.
I spent several days in Los Angeles, staying with former University of Hawaii friend, Ron Lapp. On the eve of the American attack on Iraq, we attended the Los Angeles premiere of John Ward's chorale, El Nino, choreographed by Peter Sellars. Being able to attend a pre-concert discussion with the composer and choreographer enabled us to enjoy even more thoroughly the multimedia performance which included dance and video as well as music.
In Los Angeles, I also visited my sister's former bungalow complex, having dinner with her landlord Robert Gary, former conservatory roommate Marta Brennan, and a famed stripper, Francis. Marta showed me the remarkable newsletter, Production Alert, she has established for those working in the film industry to keep them up to date with the latest on films in production or about to be produced.
I wound up my trip with a stop in San Francisco where I again visited with LSRians. I was able to stay with Gillian, an architect who had rennovated a loft that looked as though it had been lifted right out of an architectural magazine. There was a in San Francisco while I was there, so I was able to participate with Marjorie, her daughter, and Chet. I also attended a real live LSR meeting moderated by Marty.
On January 19th, I participated in the in-house recital for my chorus, Sapporo Academy Chorus. I sang "Lou Coucut" ("The Cuckoo") from Chants d"Auvergne (Songs of the Auvergne). Because it was in old French, the pronunciation was difficult for me, but I had practiced at least 4 months so enjoyed the performance, as did the audience judging from the applause and comments I received afterwards.
I shared the countdown for the New Year with sober friends in the chatroom for Lifering Secular Recovery. Several hours later, actually between 2-3 p.m. Japan time, I was able to participate in the countdown with friends from the East Coast and Midwest of the U.S. The online hoopla was an interesting contrast to the serenity of the people walking in the snow to the shrine, across the street from my apartment.
See more news from 2002.
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