What of the
帰還宣教師よりーFrom Returned Missionaries
Pat Bersie (Burkholder)
Elder Fillmore: When the choir sang O My Father this morning for the opening hymn my thoughts went back to Tokyo and the day we recorded The Japanese Saints Sing. My missionary journal entry is provided below and several associated observations and thoughts. I hope this meets your needs and expectations. Sister B, April 5, 2009
I. Direct Quote from Missionary Journal
October 22, 1963. Yesterday was one of the most thrilling days of my mission. Sister Wilkins and I have been practicing for the past three weeks with a mixed Japanese chorusCand on Monday we recorded a 33 2 R.P.M. stereo record in a studio here in the Tokyo area. The profit from the sales of these records will be the main source of revenue for AProject Temple.@
We left at about 10:00 [a.m.] and arrived at the studio at about 11:00 [a.m.] and warmed up. Before we were ready to cut the first record [song] President and sister Andersen arrived at the studio with President Andersen=s mother from Utah (she was AMother of the Year@ in Utah last year). Just before we cut the first song, AOh My Father,@ President Andersen offered a beautiful prayer, and when we did make the first recording I felt goose bumps up and down my spine.
We finished recording at 7:30 p.m.Cand though we were all exhausted and hoarse, we were genki and we felt real brotherly and sisterly [love] among the entire group. We concluded the evening by going to dinner with Matsui and Sasaki ShimaitachiCtopped off by a trip to the Francais [a french pastry eatery in Shibuyu].@
II. Other Observations
Before President and Sister arrived, we were warming up, or rehearsing, and the results weren=t pleasing. So we feel apprehension. We would have only hours in which to record 10 hymns and folk songs, accompanied by a professional orchestra that was donating their services. Our poor start was due in large part, I=m sure, to the physical setting in which we found ourselves as well as the manner in which the choir was arranged. The room, perhaps 50 feet wide, was much larger than the small parlor at Chuo Shibu in which we=d practicedC where we=d sat right next to one another. The voices of the choir, soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, were isolated from each, with about a 12' wide space separating each group of 5 or six singers. The combined groups formed a semi circle, facing the orchestra and conductor. Each group had its own microphone. Being isolated from the others made it difficult to know if one group to know if it was in tune with the others. Each was sort of on its own, dependent upon the orchestra for pitch, and directions from the conductor. It was then that president Andersen arrived and offered a prayer. Improvement was remarkable!
Four missionaries sang with the chorus: Elder Kikuchi and his companion, __________, and Sister Wilkins and her companion, Sister Burkholder. How the missionaries came to be part of the chorus I don=t know. President Andersen had instructed us that our daily
Practice time for the three weeks was considered to be personal time and would not count toward proselyting hours. Those were long days..
Listening closely to AO My Father,@ it is likely that only a highly trained musician would be able to detect that the solo was actually sung, simultaneously, by two sopranos who did an incredible job of blending their voices.
At about 6:00 p.m., it was time for the orchestra to go home and for the choir members to have a quick dinner, but two songs remained to be recorded. It was decided that the orchestra would record the music and the choir would later record their voices to the orchestra=s recording. That was a challenge because the orchestra recorded ACome, Come Ye Saints@ at a slower tempo than rehearsed by the choir, and each beat was emphasized.
It seems that AHotaru Kari@ was the last piece to be recorded. The sopranos begin softly and on a high note, difficult to do at the end of the day with a tired voice. I didn=t manage to even come in on the first few notes. Towards the end of the day, and especially during the post-dinner recording session, the majority of the singers were keeping small, hard candies in their mouths to stimulate enough saliva to lubricate the vocal chords [or whatever].
I can=t speak for the others, but it was good fortune for me that I had the privilege of singing probably due in large part to the fact that my companion, Wilkins Shimai, could sight read and had a well-trained voice. By comparison, I=d had minimal training. The choir conductor patiently reminded me to focus on properly using the diaphragm and blending my voice with the others. He must=ve been successful because fortunately you can=t hear my voice standing out in the crowdCI least I can=t. Hard work, blessed by the Lord, made the difference.
The Label says, Teichiku Stereo, All Right of the Record Manufacturer and Owner for the Work Recorded ,Copying, Public Performance, Broadcasting of These Records Are Forbidden. Original Recording By, Trade Mark Registered By and Made by Teichiku Records Co., LTD, Japan