Background – Band


Band name:

Band parading at streets of Osaka in 2015

Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School Band, commonly abbreviated to Kyoto Tachibana S.H.S. Band (in Japanese: 京都橘高等高校 吹奏楽部) (see more about Kyoto Tachibana high school here).

They are fondly nicknamed as “Orange Devils” (in Japanese: オレンジの悪魔) due to their trademark full-orange uniform and tendency of winning band competitions.

band

Orange Devils in Disneyland Park, Anaheim with their trademark orange uniform

When working under the auspices of Green Band Association during their trips to US in 2005, 2011-12 and 2017-18 they use the name “Kyoto Tachibana High School Green Band” (see more of the 2011-12 trip here, and of the 2017-18 trip here).

Band motto is: “Full of Energy, Smiles and Dreams” (=”Genki Ippai, Egao Ippai, Yume Ippai”).

In addition the band creates also annual motto:
2007: Line of DANCE
2008: Swing With Us!
2009: Let’s Dance All
2010: Catch Your Heart
2011: Share Best Smile
2012: We Are Entertainer
2013: Hit Like Sunshine
2014: Dreams Come True
2015: Hearts Are One
2016: Trust Way
2017: Do My Best
2018: Make Magic
2019: Wish in Bloom

Battle cry: “Tachibana tension!”

(see more of “Tachibana tension!” from the interview here, scroll down to “Battle Cry”)


Band Synopsis:

Band in very early years

Kyoto Tachibana High School Concert Band was founded by legendary professor Hisashi Hiramatsu in 1961 and it soon evolved to one of the oldest female Marching Bands in Japan (see info on their 50th Anniversary Concert in 2012 here, in Japanese).

Band is formed out of students in the school Wind Music Club and has 107 members (2018) from which typically only handful are boys. Wind Club activities are traditionally preferred by girls in Japan (boys tend to go to baseball or soccer clubs). They train before and after school hours as well as in weekends, holidays included, and are regular participant in All-Japan Marching Contest (3 National Gold Awards in 2008, 2009 and 2015, 3 National Silver Awards in 2007, 2011, 2014). First overseas trip took place in 1975 to Harrogate, UK, and later the band has visited Hawai’i every three years from 1981 (first to Maui and from 1998 to Kaua’i). They participated at the 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena, California in 2012 (see more here) and at the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade in 2018 (see more here).

For more detailed information of band history and current activities please see the “Tachibana Interview” -article series (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5).


Leadership:

– Band Director Yutaka Kaneshiro (2018-):

Yutaka Kaneshiro (photo by Masayuki Arakawa (GENROQ))

Music Teacher, Band Director and Wind Club Advisor (2018-): Yutaka Kaneshiro (兼城 裕). Born in 1979. Worked as a music teacher and the director of wind music clubs at public senior high schools in Kyoto for ten years. For the recent six years, he taught music and directed the wind music club at Kyoto Prefectural Hokuryō Senior High School (website, Wikipedia, band introduction is here).

See news article of his appointment here, and interview here.

– Band Director Hiroyuki Tanaka (1995-2018):

Band Director and Wind Club Advisor (1995-2018): Hiroyuki Tanaka. Born August 16, 1958 in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, alumnus of Osaka College of Music.

After resigning Tachibana in March 2018 he went working at Toyonaka Municipal First Junior High School (see more of that here).

Social media:
facebook (old, Tachibana-era),
facebook (new, after moving to Toyonaka Municipal First Junior School),
Twitter (for confirmed followers only),
Blog.

Tanaka-sensei speech makes the audience roaring with laughter (in Japanese way) (video by 慶次郎前田, starts at 0:10):

Click picture to watch video

– Founding Director Hisashi Hiramatsu (1961-1995):

Professor Hisashi Hiramatsu (photo by Masayuki Arakawa (GENROQ))

Founding Director (1961-1995): Hisashi Hiramatsu (平松久司). Born January 1, 1935 in Aichi Prefecture. Alumnus of Kunitachi College of Music, trumpetist at Kyoto Symphony Orchestra. Former chairman of All-Japan Band Association, honorary Chairman of Green Band Association and Special Advisor of the Wind Music Club.

See his interview here, and Wikipedia entry (in Japanese) is here.

Professor Hiramatsu addressing audience in 2012 in La Palma, California when band attended the 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade (video by Music123, introductions starts at 30:38):

Click picture to watch video


– Assistant Band Director Akemi Hayami:

Akemi Hayami (photo by Masayuki Arakawa (GENROQ))

Assistant Band Director and Assistant Wind Club Advisor: Akemi Hayami (早見 明美). Japanese Teacher. Chief of Guidance and Counselling. She is responsible for general affairs of the Wind Music Club.

See her interview here and her introduction at school site here (in Japanese)..

– Band Coach Hirofumi Yokoyama:

Hirofumi Yokoyama (photo by Masayuki Arakawa (GENROQ))

Band coach Hirofumi Yokoyama (横山弘文): Born in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture in 1962. Studied in US and took part in the competition of Drum Corps International (DCI). Alumnus of Osaka College of Music. Freelance marching instructor for about 30 senior high school bands in Japan. Music Director of the Green Band Association (GBA).

See his interview here.


– Drum Majors:

The band votes the future drum major from the freshmen in October of their first school year. She will serve as an assistant to Drum Major during her 2nd year, and will finally be promoted to full Drum Major for her 3rd (senior) year. Main responsibility of the Drum Major is to arrange and supervise all training of the band. When using the orange uniform Drum Major can be recognized by her silver-lined shawl.

Band Drum Majors in recent years:
2020: Aoyama-san, “Makko” (まっこ), plays trombone
2019: Kurisu-san, “Palinpu” (パりんぷ), plays flute
2018: Kusaka-san, “Okazel” (🙂かツェル★彡), plays clarinet
2017+Rose Parade 2018: Nagao-san, “Ron”, plays clarinet
2016: Okada-san, “Pimo”, plays flute
2015: Okamoto-san, “Cony”, plays trombone
2014: Fujiwara-san, “Maazef” plays French horn
2013: Saitō-san, “Ion”, plays saxophone
2012: Yamaguchi-san, “Maiya”, plays flute
2011+Rose Parade 2012: Asada-san, “Horacha”, plays clarinet

Pictures of Tachibana Drum Majors from 1996 (lower right) to 2018 (upper right) by Tachibana SHS Band Fan Brasil (see also his facebook post here):

See more details of the Wind Music Club organization from the interview here.


Music and style:

The music the band plays is almost entirely Western, starting from gospel and big band era classics, and ending to evergreen pop songs and recent chart hits with heavy dose of Disney tunes interspersed. Music is chosen bearing in mind the expected preferences of the audience and how easy it is to adapt to the band dancing style. The regular parade program is about 15 minutes long and if needed it will be rolled over.

Based on encouragement of Yokoyama-coach the band trademark dancing style was invented in 2005 by snare drummer band member Kōhei Shiba (芝公平) who was inspired by “Burn the Floor” ballroom dance show, and since then all dance moves are choreographed by band members themselves resulting to the unique Kyoto Tachibana -style of marching which has made the band adored in Japan and overseas. Band has also granted permission to other schools to adopt similar approach to their brass bands, such bands are Izumo Business High School Wind Orchestra and Ōnishi Gakuen Junior and Senior High School Brass Band.

See also interview here fore more details on band music and style.

(large collection of original versions of music Tachibana plays can be found in this playlist)

The trademark song of the band which is practically always performed is “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)” made famous by Benny Goodman in 1937. The physically demanding choreography is credited to Class 102 euphonist Seiji Nakao (中尾征爾) (see here). This wild dance is sometimes performed in parades as a standstill number but usually it is the last song (or encore) of any stage/field show and ends with traditional “Tachibana Plow” -formation and “Ey!”-shout (video by I LOVE BRASS; starts at 6:30):

Click picture to watch video

Tachibana parade nearly always starts with century old gospel tune “Down By the Riverside” which tells you to throw your aggression away and assume more peaceful way of life – what better message to set up proper mood for the band performance (video by 慶次郎前田, starts at 1:15)!

Click picture to watch video

Instead stage/field shows often start with “Winter Games”, 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics theme song by David Foster (video by 慶次郎前田; starts at 0:25):

Click picture to watch video

As an example of newer music here is Pharrell Williams 2013 chart hit “Happy” from animated movie Despicable Me 2 (video by sttaketo, starts at 16:04, and the ending pose at 17:50 is really really good!):

Click picture to watch video

Oldie hit songs of the program are represented here by “The Loco-Motion” made famous in 1988 by Kylie Minogue (video by I LOVE BRASS; starts at 3:06):

Click picture to watch video

Disney Medley is integral part of any event and they play the catchiest tunes about 30s each and you can have fun listening e.g: “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” (from movie Cinderella), “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” (from movie Pinocchio), “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf” (from sequels of movie Three Little Pigs) or “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (from movie Mary Poppins) (video by Marschtanz63; medley is between 5:18-10:57, and again 20:23-25:28, see detailed set list here):

Click picture to watch video

Movie music has not been forgotten either, here band takes on Star Wars with few bars of “Main Theme” followed by “Cantina Theme” (video by I LOVE BRASS, starts at 10:40)… ooh no! don’t fall down!! (at 11:24):

Click picture to watch video

There is certain preference to South American music in the choices of the band and here they go exploring mambo and what better way to do that than playing “¡Qué rico el mambo!” by Pérez Prado, the King of the Mambo! (video by I LOVE BRASS, starts at 5:48):

Click picture to watch video

Japanese-origin music is a rarity in the band events but here is “Moonlight Densetsu” from the famous magical girl anime series of the 90s, Bishōjo Senshi Sailor Moon (video by st.taketo; starts at 0:30):

Click picture to watch video

Stage/field shows in general are events where band performs larger selection of music, here as an example Glenn MillerIn The Mood” (starts at 7:31, video by I LOVE BRASS):

Click picture to watch video


Uniforms:

Over the decades the band uniform has of course been changed several times (see more details in this interview). The band current trademark orange uniform was designed in 1981 by band alumna Yamashita-san and is considered a symbol of luck and therefore worn in all conpetitions the band participates in. Color comes from Citrus tachibana -fruit (mandarine-like fruit growing native in south-western Japan) and the white hair ribbon represents the petals of the flower of the fruit (video by おーじろー2):

Click picture to watch video

Blue-gold uniform has been the other main uniform but the band has not been seen wearing it since the end of 2016 (video by 慶次郎前田):

Click picture to watch video

Blue happi-coat/white skirt combination (“Hawai’i uniform”) is used only rarely as band does not have enough of them for the whole band any more (video by MIKAN):

Click picture to watch video

For winter-time cheering duties to support school soccer and volleyball teams band uses strikingly red jackets with tracksuit pants (video by stakketo):

Click picture to watch video

In some occasions black tracksuit pants and white T-shirts are used too (e.g. at Brass Expo -event) (video by 慶次郎前田):

Click picture to watch video

In some events the members of percussion wear also black tabard on top of their uniforms (video by きりのんch):

Click picture to watch video


Regular events of the band over the year:

(see also this interview for more detailed account of the band activities over the year)

The first outdoor parade after winter break (and the last event of the school year) is typically Kyoto Sakura Parade late March. This is exciting for the fans as it is the first time we can see the new Drum Major and what changes are made to the routine for the year (video by I LOVE BRASS):

Click picture to watch video

School year starts in April and late that month freshmen join parade in Blumen Hügel Farm in their school uniforms marching behing the band clapping hands (video by 慶次郎前田):

Click picture to watch video

Freshmen playing debut takes usually place couple of weeks later in early May in Brass Expo. You can recognize them by their shiny white T-shirts… (video by 慶次郎前田):

Click picture to watch video

In June the band typically participates in “Brass Band of 3000” Event at Kyocera Dome, Osaka (video by I LOVE BRASS):

Click picture to watch video

Fall is dedicated for All-Japan Band Competition (August) and All-Japan Marching Contest Qualifications in September and National Final in November (see more of AJBA Competitions here) (video by Marschtanz63):

Click picture to watch video

There are rarely outdoor events December-February but the band has usually several indoor stage shows, as an example the very popular Regular Concert at Christmas time which is also the last performance of the 3rd year students who then retire from the band in a ceremony in January.


References:

Wind club introduction at school website (in Japanese) is here.

Band Twitter (in Japanese, unfortunately looks like it is defunct) is here.

Kyoto Tachibana High School email: nk (at) tachibana-hs (dot) jp.

School telephone switchboard:
+81-75-623-0066

Band postal address:

京都橘高等高校 吹奏楽部
〒612-8026 京都市伏見区桃山町伊賀50
JAPAN

Telefax number to the band:

+81-75-623-0070
addressed to: 京都橘高等高校 吹奏楽部

Please note that the school does not pass on messages to the individual band members.


172 thoughts on “Background – Band

  1. I first saw the KT band when I was checking YouTube for any videos on quality for my student council (seitokai) officers. I am their advisor. A 2018 KT Tournament of Roses Parade video randomly popped up and, as a former marching band student and as teacher at a school with an awesome marching band, I decided to check it out, thinking I was going to watch a couple of minutes and move on. I ended up watching the entire hour plus long video, then went to related videos and watched the field performance at the band festival a couple of days before the parade. Wow! Thoroughly impressed! I mean, I think my school has an awesome marching band that has been called the best in the state but if I had to compare, I’d have to say KT beats us. By far. Obviously, the impressive part is that they can play well and dance well at the same time which, if anyone who has ever been in band knows, that’s difficult to do. But to do each well is amazing. Every note is perfect, every step is perfect. And of course, coming from high school kids makes it even more amazing. The other thing is their huge repertoire of songs and they have different dance step for each songs, all of which are MEMORIZED. I remember we had enough trouble trying to march regular steps together and memorize only ONE song. If it was any more songs, like in Christmas parades, we’d all be carrying music on a lyre.

    Well, I decided to use KT as my quality example to my officers because of another video I saw on how KT prepares and practices. The video is from a Japanese TV show and, even though there are no English subtitles, translation is not really necessary as you watch the sweat and tears during the rehearsals, some of them falling down at times, and the grueling things they go through. I am most impressed with the EFFORT, and the fact that much of the rehearsals is run by fellow students, which is what I am trying to get across to my officers. I told them that I thought we were doing OK, but is OK good enough? Are they satisfied with just OK? Obviously, the KT band tries to be better than just OK and strives for perfection. So, to the teachers who guide and support them, the parents who obviously must be helping behind the scenes, but mostly to the KT students themselves, hats off to them all for the outstanding product they put out on the field, stage and parade route and I am positive that in the end, this will produce excellent adults as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like many of us, you too will become addicted. There is no cure. LOL I ran out of words to say, but I’m hooked like a fish. Everyday, I dutifully go to YouTube and Watch 1-2 hours of Tachibana High School Band performances. What’s worse, I purchased Two DVD of their performances, Sing! Sing! Sing! 2007-2015 and Stage Selection 2015-2017. So even If I lose the internet, I have an excellent supply as backup. I can no longer work, I don’t have time for that!
      PS. Tachibana has made me enjoy listening to music and watching bands perform. I just love it! Enjoy your addiction.

      Like

      • Exactly right! I must have viewed dozens of alternate videos of the parade, field show and stage shows and, even though I’ve seen them do “Sing, Sing Sing” in each video, it never gets old. The funny thing in my observation in the videos though, is that Japanese audiences do not seem as enthusiastic about KT performances. I’m not sure if it is because Japanese tend not to show emotions outwardly so their responses are muted, or if it is because all Japanese marching bands are good, so KT, while they might be extra good, does not seem as special. When you watch the parade and field show in Pasadena, KT is OBVIOUSLY the most outstanding. I love hearing the comments like: “Amazing!” or, “They’re ALL girls (erroneously)!” or one guys who says, “That’s bad a**!” Not to mention all the cheers and shout outs! With Japanese crowds, there’s only polite applause, maybe a little bit of cheering. I also love the stage competitions when KT is on stage and the other competing bands are in the audience. Most of the faces of the other band members look serious or even bored, although a few smile. Personally, I think the “Orange Devils” nickname came from other envious Japanese bands.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, you are correct! I’ve already viewed many other videos of the parade, field show, stage show, and pretty much anything related, mostly from the 2017-2018 performances in Pasadena but also from performances in Japan. The one curious thing I notice is that audience reaction is somewhat muted in Japan. Not sure if it is because Japanese tend not to show emotions as outwardly as Americans or maybe because all Japanese bands are good so even if KT is extra good, they don’t seem as exceptionally amazing as they do in the US. Most American bands simply march straight lines, almost walking more than marching, and they might throw in a couple of “dance” moves here and there, but nothing like KT! When I watch KT in the Tournament of Roses Parade or the band festival at Pasadena College, I especially like hearing the comments in the back ground like: “Amazing!” or “They’re ALL girls (erroneously)!” or one guy who exclaims, “That’s bad a**!” Or, when you hear the laughter when KT does “It’s a Small World” and when the T-Rex comes onto the field and falls down. I also like to see the stage shows when KT is on stage and other competing bands are sitting in the audience. Some of the other students look so serious or even bored, though some do smile. I think the “Orange Devils” nickname was given to them by envious competing bands, probably said scornfully like…”There’s those Orange Devils again! How I hate them!” Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that insight Sherwin and Anonymous, I too love hearing the comments. I’m glad that they are aware of how much they’re are loved here in the good ole USA. I like hearing from people like Sherwin that been down that road or are currently. I started band-drums-,but I wanted to beat them like Tippy / Chippy./ Little Drummer Girl, not the way it started, so I quit.

      Due to this fantastic, hard working, dedicated-determined group, I bought a Sax, which I mentioned in an earlier comment and just day before I bought a violin, wow, what’s happening to me, LOL. I’m not a prideful man, but that’s hard to stop when I watch KT play. I hope the 2018 group come together again for an encore of some kind. I’m sure they were missed this year. I heard some may have been here, not sure.

      KT-rocks, they’re Killer!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, Gary! Anonymous is me, too. I forgot to type in my name and that’s how it appeared. Anyway, here’s a huge coincidence. I also started off in percussion in middle school but got bored and envied the wind players. So, summer after 8th grade, my buddy, a sax player, gave me a crash course in alto sax. I managed to get good enough on my own to join the freshman band. I never got higher than middle of the pack of 15 altos, but I was much happier. In ajy case, there is no way we coukd have done what KT does!

        As a parent, my kids also joined marching band, though I never pushed them. It was more peer pressure, though both played saxophone since they could use my old one. My son became DM his last two years. The benefit is that we never had to search for him in the 230 piece band. The band, Moanalua High School, has been called the best in the state of Hawaii, and they are good. But if they competed head to head with KT, even I would have to give the nod to KT. After watching that first KT video, I’m still picking up my jaw off the floor.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the explanation Sherwin, appreciate it sir. Wow, large band. Yeap, I once heard a local radio station her in Texas talk about the band that was behind them in the Rose parade, they are from San Antonio. They went on to perform in the Macy parade. She mentioned how difficult it is to march and play simultaneously. I wanted to call in and tell her ask those members about he band ahead of them in the Rose parade and encourage to watch KT perform, WOW!!! I have to watch them daily. I go through as many videos that I can, just love them. Take care, Gary, aka Killer, out.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I only recently discovered the Orange Devils on YouTube. The group is FANTASTIC! Bets band I have EVER HEARD! Tremendous performances! Kudos to the band members for all of their hard work. Also, hats off to every director, coach and supporter of the band. It takes many people working very hard to achieve the success this band has reached! Continued success!

    Richard Musquez
    Bakersfield California

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Educación en Japón: uno de los mejores sistemas del mundo | Asia Dónde

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