Now is the time to turn "change" into "great power"!! - EU・ジャパンフェスト日本委員会

Now is the time to turn “change” into “great power”!!

Sachiko Mager|Tokorozawa Fény Children's Choir

On March 26, 2022 we held our 24th annual concert at Tokorozawa Muse Culture Center. This was the third year we had to wear masks during the concert. In the finale, we had about 100 people from ages 3 to university students. It was a great feeling to have all of the children smiling and lined up on the stage, with warm feelings coming from the audience. Although it used to be such a normal event, this year I was overwhelmed with appreciation and thanks for the chance for us to all gather again.

Fény ©2022 Tokorozawa Fény Children’s Choir

Over the past few years everyone has been saying that choirs are having a difficult time because of Corona. Of course the most important thing is to make sure the children are safe, but whether that meant we had to stop all practice or not was very difficult to decide. For a long time our motto has been, “Be generous, don’t give up, keep going!” Before Corona we all tried to follow this, but since Corona the meaning became much stronger, and all of the children try hard to not miss practice. Even when we could not gather to practice together, the children would practice at home and their parents would support them as much as possible.

I have been so grateful to the parents in their support of the children and Fény. Even when I had doubts about whether to stop practices or not, everyone believed in our choir and knew that we would pull through.

In March this year we were finally able to come together and practice, but the children were stressed. It had been a difficult year of ups and down because of Corona and although we were able to gather there were fears of Omicron, which was more dangerous to children. Also the situation in Ukraine made us all feel bad. In this situation we tried to practice, but the children were not as excited as they used to be and I didn’t know what to do.

Donation box ©2022 Tokorozawa Fény Children’s Choir

Around that time I saw activities on Facebook of our friend in Bulgaria, Manol. In 2019 we visited Plovdiv for the International Youth Music Festival. We partnered with The Detska Kitka Choir, which hosted us during our visit. Manol is related to that choir and also helped take care of us while we were in Bulgaria. On Facebook I saw that he was working to support Ukrainian refugees and I wanted to help too.

The children in Fény already felt that they wanted to somehow help Ukraine, but didn’t know how. They didn’t want to put money into some charity box where they didn’t know where it would end up. But since we all know Manol we felt we could contribute to his efforts and feel secure our contributions would really go to help.

We decided to prepare a donation box and have it at the reception of our concert. Many children, parents, and guests donated, and we sent the funds to Manol. He was able to use the funds to help support two different kindergartens that were setup for Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria. We were were all very happy to be able to help in a way that makes a difference. Thank you, Manol♡

Full choir©2022 Tokorozawa Fény Children’s Choir

During this Corona disaster we’ve all had to face situations we could never imagine before. I’ve learned that Japan is not good at responding to these sudden changes. But I’ve also seen that the children are much more flexible and do their best to accept these strange circumstances and do what must be done. Since the beginning when we created Fény I always felt that it is not a one-way relationship with the children. Although, of course, I am there to teach them about music, I also find I learn from them everyday. We adults should learn to be more flexible and respond better to difficult situations in the future.

EU Japan has supported us since 2010 and helped us have many great experiences. We’ve visited many great places in Europe and had many visitors come here. I would like to express my appreciation for this unchanging passion and warm support and I hope that such wonderful activities will continue in the future.

Thank you so much as always♡