Band Official Website is here.
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.
When working under the auspices of Green Band Association during their trips to US in 2005, 2011-12 and 2017-18 they used 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” = “元気いっぱい！笑顔いっぱい！夢いっぱい！”).
In addition the band creates also annual motto:
1997 (94th Class): SOL DE MEXICO
1998 (95th Class): DUKE DE STOMP
1999 (96th Class): Sparkling Swing
2000 (97th Class): Enjoy! “Tijuana Brass” with TACHIBANA
2001 (98th Class): Love Dreams
2002 (99th Class): New Sounds of TACHIBANA
2003 (100th Class): Swing! Swing! Swing!
2004 (101st Class): COLA LATINO!!
2005 (102nd Class): Shall We Dance?
2006 (103rd Class): LAST DANCE!
2007 (104th Class): Line of DANCE
2008 (105th Class): Swing With Us!
2009 (106th Class): Let’s Dance All
2010 (107th Class): Catch Your Heart
2011 (108th Class): Share Best Smile
2012 (109th Class): We Are Entertainer
2013 (110th Class): Hit Like Sunshine
2014 (111th Class): Dreams Come True
2015 (112th Class): Hearts Are One
2016 (113th Class): Trust Way
2017 (114th Class): Do My Best
2018 (115th Class): Make Magic
2019 (116th Class): Wish in Bloom
2020 (117th Class): Power of Charm
2021 (118th Class): ?
Battle Cry: “Tachibana tension!”
(see more of “Tachibana tension!” from the interview here, scroll down to “Battle Cry”)
Kyoto Tachibana High School Concert Band was founded by legendary professor Hisashi Hiramatsu (1935-2021) 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 of the school Wind Music Club and has usually around 100 members 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 (see more here), and later the band has visited Hawai’i every three years from 1981 (first to Maui and from 1998 to Kaua’i) to 2016. 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).
– Band Director Yutaka Kaneshiro (兼城 裕) (Director: 2018-):
Music Teacher, Band Director and Wind Club Advisor (2018-): Yutaka Kaneshiro. Born August 19, 1979. Plays trumpet and worked as a music teacher and the director of wind music clubs at public senior high schools in Kyoto for ten years. Before Tachibana he taught six years music and directed the wind music club at Kyoto Prefectural Hokuryō Senior High School (website, Wikipedia, their band introduction is here).
His interview at band official site is here (in Japanese).
– Former Band Director Hiroyuki Tanaka (田中宏幸) (Director: 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, plays trumpet.
See more of his book on Tachibana here.
His Wikipedia-entry (in Japanese) is here.
Tanaka-sensei speech makes the audience roaring with laughter (in Japanese way) (video by 慶次郎前田, starts at 0:10):
– Founding Director Hisashi Hiramatsu (平松久司) (Director: 1961-1995):
Founding Director (1961-1995): Hisashi Hiramatsu. Born January 1, 1935 in Aichi Prefecture, died March 13, 2021 (click here for news about his death). Alumnus of Kunitachi College of Music, trumpetist at Kyoto Symphony Orchestra. Music teacher and Deputy Principal, Chairman of All-Japan Band Association 2006-2013, honorary Chairman of Green Band Association, conductor at Tachibana Family Band and Special Advisor of the Tachibana Wind Music Club.
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):
– Deputy Band Director Kazumi Itani (井谷一美):
Deputy Band Director Kazumi Itani. Born March 12. Professional clarinetist.
Her interview at band official site is here (in Japanese).
– Assistant Band Director Akemi Hayami (早見 明美):
Assistant Band Director and Assistant Wind Club Advisor: Akemi Hayami. Japanese Teacher. Chief of Guidance and Counselling. She is responsible for general affairs of the Wind Music Club.
– Band Coach Hirofumi Yokoyama (横山弘文):
Band coach Hirofumi Yokoyama: Born in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture in 1962. Studied in US and took part in the competitions 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. In the video below Drum Major “Ron” climbs up to podium and leads the band through two first songs at the 38th Annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Bandfest in 2017:
Band Drum Majors in recent years:
2021 (118th Class): Uda-san, “Racho” (らちょ), clarinet
2020 (117th Class): Aoyama-san, “Makko” (まっこ), trombone
2019 (116th Class): Kurisu-san, “Palinpu” (パりんぷ), flute (interview)
2018 (115th Class): Kusaka-san, “Okazel” (🙂かツェル★彡), clarinet (interview)
2017 (114th Class)+Rose Parade 2018: Nagao-san, “Ron”, clarinet
2016 (113th Class): Okada-san, “Piimo”, flute
2015 (112th Class): Okamoto-san, “Cony”, trombone
2014 (111th Class): Fujiwara-san, “Maazef” French horn
2013 (110th Class): Saitō-san, “Ion”, saxophone
2012 (109th Class): Yamaguchi-san, “Maiya”, flute
2011 (108th Class)+Rose Parade 2012: Asada-san, “Horacha”, clarinet
2010 (107th Class): Ōhara-san
2009 (106th Class): Taniguchi-san
2008 (105th Class): Sanada-san
2007 (104th Class): Kubota-san
2006 (103rd Class): not known
2005 (102nd Class): Umehara-san
2004 (101st Class): Ikeda-san
2003 (100th Class): Nakajima-san
2002 (99th Class): Kinan-san
2001 (98th Class): Kawaguchi-san
2000 (97th Class): Ikeda-san
1999 (96th Class): Iwamoto-san
1998 (95th Class): Koyama-san
1997 (94th Class): Ueda-san
Pictures of Tachibana Drum Majors from 1996 (lower right) to 2020 (upper right) by Tachibana SHS Band Fan Brasil modified by Freud Alb:
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.
As originally suggested by Yokoyama-coach the band trademark dancing style was developed in 2005 based on the 1997 “Burn the Floor” ballroom dance show by 102nd Class Marching Composition Team, including euphonist Seiji Nakao (中尾征爾) and percussionist Kōhei Shiba (芝公平). All dance moves are choreographed by the 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 part of the program is “Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)” made famous by Benny Goodman in 1937. 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. Several bandmembers have said that the reason they applied to Tachibana and joined the band was to be able to play and dance this song (video by I LOVE BRASS; starts at 6:30):
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)!
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!):
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):
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):
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):
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):
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 competitions 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):
Blue-gold uniform has been the other main uniform but the band has stopped wearing it in public events since the end of 2016 (video below by 慶次郎前田). It is still worn e.g. in Regular Concerts:
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):
For sit-down concerts the band has used the combination of red jacket/white skirt and socks until the end of 2020 (see video below by Kazumi* Itani*):
New uniform was introduced at the beginning of the band 57th Regular Concert on December 24, 2020 and the band now plays in white tuxedo with orange handkerchief or tie and black trousers:
Occasionally the band also performs in their school uniforms. Here is the band in November 2018 playing in their new school uniforms introduced in 2017 with checkered skirt and light-grey jacket (video by Môde in The Japan):
For winter-time cheering duties to support school soccer and volleyball teams band uses strikingly red jackets with tracksuit pants (video by stakketo):
Although mainly used in practice, black tracksuit pants and white T-shirts are used in some events (e.g. Brass Expo like video below). Drum Major is recognized by the red “T” in her shirt (video by 慶次郎前田):
Members of the percussion wear also sometimes white or black tabard to protect their uniforms (video with black tabards by きりのんch):
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):
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):
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):
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):
The highlight of the year is the Band Regular Concert in Christmas time which is the last concert band 3rd year members play in. The concert is usually split in three parts: first part is “Classical Stage” with classical music, second part is “Pops Stage” with lighter music, and the third and last part is the wild Tachibana-style Stage Marching Show which culminates in the emotional farewell of the retiring 3rd year band members. It is very difficult to attend this Concert in person as the tickets sell out in seconds, but the band sells discs featuring the third part (stage marching show) of the Concerts in recent years (click here and here).
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:
Band postal address:
Telefax number to the band:
addressed to: 京都橘高等高校 吹奏楽部
Please do NOT send cards, letters, gifts and the like to the band or the band members as the school policy is NOT to deliver them to the students.