St. Olaf Band will travel to Japan in first cost-free international tour for students
This June the St. Olaf Band and conductor Timothy Mahr ’78 will return to Japan for their first international tour since 2018. This marks not only the return to international touring for St. Olaf music ensembles, but the first trip abroad that will be completely cost-free for St. Olaf musicians thanks to a newly established endowment.
In 2019 St. Olaf received a $4.2 million gift from Louis and Mary Kay Smith to create an endowed fund to support student travel costs for international music ensemble tours, and the college provided matching funds. Their gift built on an endowed need-based scholarship established by anonymous donors. With these new funds, all students in the St. Olaf Band will travel on tour throughout Japan cost-free, further reducing financial barriers for many students and increasing access to international opportunities.
TIMOTHY MAHR, ST. OLAF BAND CONDUCTOROur band members realize that they’re in for an amazing experience, and they are full of gratitude for the generous endowment that is covering their travel costs. Louis and Mary Kay Smith established this fund so that the ambassador ensembles from St. Olaf would be able to tour internationally at no personal cost. The learning will be intense, visceral, and for some life-changing. Sharing our music in such welcoming settings will be quite memorable as well.
“Our band members realize that they’re in for an amazing experience, and they are full of gratitude for the generous endowment that is covering their travel costs,” says Mahr. “Louis and Mary Kay Smith established this fund so that the ambassador ensembles from St. Olaf would be able to tour internationally at no personal cost. The learning will be intense, visceral, and for some life-changing. Sharing our music in such welcoming settings will be quite memorable as well.”
The St. Olaf Band previously toured Japan in 2010, and it is remembered as one of the most successful and impactful tours the ensemble has undertaken. The 2023 tour will consist of five concerts from Hiroshima to Tokyo, and will feature collaborations with many local Japanese concert bands and wind ensembles.
While in Japan, the St. Olaf Band will present five concerts, and tickets for the concert are now on sale. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door for all concerts. Coming off the heels of a successful concert on May 5 at Orchestra Hall, the St. Olaf Band will perform a robust repertoire of music for Japanese audiences across the country, and will have the opportunity to learn more about Japan and its people through several cultural experiences.
“The St. Olaf Band has had many wonderful international tours over the years. One that was quite impactful was our 2010 tour to Japan,” says Mahr. “What we experienced culturally was exciting and new, while the very strong support for concert band music in Japan magnified the intensity of the tour. We performed in stunning concert halls for full-capacity audiences who lined up around the block over an hour before the concert, and then stayed after to get autographs from the Bandies. I fully anticipate a similarly strong experience for us this coming summer. We’re sharing programs with some of the top ensembles in Japan, and we have been able to schedule a number of cultural experiences that are very similar to those that were so special in 2010.”
Watch a preview of the St. Olaf Band’s tour to Japan and find a full itinerary below.
The 2023 St. Olaf Band Japan Tour Itinerary:
June 3 – Hiroshima
Concert at at Phoenix Concert Hall in Hiroshima with the Hijiyama Girls Junior and Senior High School Band and the Shudo Junior and Senior High School Band.
June 4 – Okayama
Concert at the Okayama Civic Hall in Okayama with the Okayama Gakugeikan High School Symphonic Band.
June 6 – Osaka
Concert at the Hirikata Performing & Visual Arts Center in Osaka with the Tokai University Osaka Gyosei High School Band.
June 9 – Tokorozawa
Concert at the Tokorozawa Muse Concert Hall in Tokorozawa with the Saitama Sakae Wind Orchestra and the Inagakuen Sogo High School Wind Orchestra.
June 10 – Tokyo
Concert at Maeda Hall, Senzoku Gakuen College of Music in Tokyo with the Senzoku Wind Symphony.