YOLA in (Little) Tokyo

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Today, 15 talented young musicians—ages 13 to 17—from the LA Phil’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) program will arrive in Tokyo, Japan. The students are traveling in conjunction with the LA Phil’s own Asian tour…and will be meeting up with their youth orchestra counterparts in El Sistema Japan to rehearse and perform together before playing for Gustavo Dudamel and a big audience in Tokyo in a few days.

The students who were selected for this trip had to endure a rigorous application process, which included an audition and a written essay. There were fun parts of the travel preparation process too, though. Like a few days ago, when they headed Little Tokyo  for a taste of Japanese culture and history at the Japanese American National Museum…and then a literal taste of some Japanese food at a nearby noodle shop.

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Megumi Smith, one of YOLA’s teaching artists, taught the students how to say bon appétit…and the proper way to slurp their noodles. Then, back to the classroom for more language practice, a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and an origami folding lesson.

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When they meet later this week, the YOLA musicians will present a curtain of 500 origami cranes to the El Sistema Japan youth orchestra.

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