On May 6, Tenrikyo Institute of Music and Kanagawa Diocese sponsored the O-uta Concert at Yokohama Minato Mirai Hall to pay a tribute to the memory of Mr. Ikuma Dan. Mr. Dan was a world-renowned music composer in Japan, who passed away for rebirth on May 17, 2001, during his visit to the People’s Republic of China. He had composed many pieces of music for Tenrikyo, including two grand cantatas, namely, “O-uta 9–Cantata: The Truth of Origin” and “O-uta 12–Cantata: Path of the Divine Model.” He also had conducted at numerous O-uta concerts held not only in the Home of the Parent but also in other places in Japan.
An O-uta piece consists of Ofudesaki verses set to music, and it helps people acquire a closer acquaintance with the Ofudesaki and deepen their understanding of the teachings. Fourteen O-uta pieces have been written so far, including “O-uta 9” and “O-uta 12,” which were composed by Mr. Dan in 1975 and 1985, respectively.
The concert, drawing an audience of more than 2,000, commenced at 1:30 p.m. More than 300 singers from the choirs of Tenrikyo Institute of Music and various dioceses, as well as the orchestra of Tenrikyo Institute of Music, performed under the direction of Mr. Yasuo Watanabe. The former Shinbashira, who is president of Tenrikyo Institute of Music and a member of its choir, also performed in the concert, which consisted of two parts: “O-uta 9” and “O-uta 12.” After the performance of those cantatas, bouquets were presented to the former Shinbashira, conductor Watanabe, and the four soloists for “O-uta 12.” After the presentation, the performers and the audience all sang another of Mr. Dan’s compositions, “O-uta 7: The Seeds of Single-hearted Devotion,” to complete the whole program of the concert.
Conductor Watanabe said: “I believe that those O-uta pieces can also make a deep impression on people who are not Tenrikyo followers. I strongly hope that not only Tenrikyo musical groups but also others outside Tenrikyo will perform them.”