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  • Writer's picturePhillip Radcliffe

Sapporo University Wind Orchestra

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

By Kyohei Fukayama

The Asahi Shimbun Company and the All Japan Band Association hold many contests every year in Japan. elementary school bands and above can enter the contests. In most contests, the best performing bands get the right to participate in the prefectural contest or national contest.

The Sapporo University Wind Orchestra (SUWO) entered the district contest on Aug. 8th, 2021. SUWO participated with 20 people and played The Lyre of Orpheus composed by Hayato Hirose. The Tokai Sapporo Campus Wind Orchestra (TSCWO) also participated in the Small University Division. SUWO took first place, and TSCWO took second place. SUWO earned the right to participate in the prefectural contest in the Small University Division. As a result of the district contest throughout Hokkaido, the three groups that qualified for the prefectural contest were SUWO, the Nayoro City University Symphonic Band (NCUSB), and the Kushiro National College of Technology Brass Band (KNCTBB).

About a month later, SUWO entered the prefectural contest on Aug. 29th, 2021. SUWO was again awarded the Gold and placed first in Hokkaido. NCUSB won the Silver, and the KNCTBB won the Bronze. However, no further competition results exist because no national contests are held in the Small University Division.

Last year, due to the COVID-19, they were forced to suspend their activities at the direction of the university. However, at that time, they continued to plan their practice sessions, unlike other university bands. At one time, the band was so prestigious that it even competed in national competitions in the university section. And even though the number of members in the group has decreased, the band is still going strong.

SUWO performed The Lyre of Orpheus, which won the first prize in Hokkaido in the Small University Division, at the 40th Regular Concert on Oct. 30th, 2021. Refined after about three months of practice, it attracted a large audience. In a questionnaire at the end of the Regular Concert, most of the audience members considered The Lyre of Orpheus as the best performance.

SUWO is scheduled to hold its regular concert on Nov. 6th again this year, and instead of last year’s The Lyre of Orpheus, the piece they will perform at this year’s competition is Musca Arvers for Wind Orchestra, making it the highlight of this year’s regular concert.


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