College Choir Travels to Tokyo for an International Tour
Following Commencement 2023, the Westmont College Choir and Chamber Singers embark on a nine-day tour to Tokyo, Japan — the first international choir tour since the COVID-19 pandemic. Led by Daniel Gee ’13, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities, the choirs’ itinerary includes joint concerts with Japanese collegiate ensembles, including those from Waseda University and the Tokyo College of Music, as well as performances at Tokyo Union Church, Tokyo Christian University and the Christian Academy of Japan.
As part of its tour repertoire, the choir will perform pieces by Japanese composers such as Ko Matsushita, Maki Ueda and Takatomi Nobunaga, as well as what Gee describes as “a multifaceted representation of American choral music.” This mix of pieces ranges from Western Classical, the Black American spiritual and gospel tradition, and Latin American traditions.
Many of this year’s seniors on the tour experienced their first year in College Choir in 2020-21, when Gee joined the faculty. It was a challenging start to his time at Westmont due to COVID-19 restrictions. These students first rehearsed with him by Zoom, making this year’s international tour together an especially meaningful way to conclude their choral experience at Westmont.
Thanks to experienced tour management by music department staff Keith Erickson ’12 and Mandy Kellogg ’15, the students will see historical, cultural and natural sights such as Mt. Fuji as they travel in Japan and perform. Gee emphasized the tour’s main purpose: “It’s building relationships with Japanese students and singers,” he says. “That’s why you go.” On his first international tour since becoming choir director, Gee says he looks forward to connecting with musicians and Christians in Japan as well as to introducing many Westmont students to this part of Asia for the first time. He also anticipates seeing the ensemble’s friendships grow even stronger. “I feel a kinship with the students as we get to share music together,” he said. “It will be a fun culmination of that.”