Student Concert Will Celebrate the Music of Anime

Songs from popular movies and shows like Pokemon and Spirited Away will be performed this weekend. / Courtesy of The Hippodrome Theatre

When Santa Ana College music professor and composer John Marr visited Japan in June, he picked up Japanese sheet music books for anime films and shows. He spent hours transcribing the Japanese notations into terms his students would be able to understand and play.

The resulting 13 tracks, entirely arranged by Marr, will be performed by SAC music students at Choirs in Concert: Anime Spectacular! this Saturday, Nov. 18.

The concert marks not only the first time anime music will be performed as part of a student concert, but it’s also the first time that SAC’s orchestra and choir ensemble will collaborate on a combined event. 

Marr worked with Director of Choral Music Elliot Jones to bring anime music to SAC.

“It’s nice to switch things up from classical. We’ve received more attention to this one and hopefully we’ll have a bigger crowd,” Marr said.

Pieces such as the Pokemon Theme Song and the Spirited Away soundtrack are just some of the more familiar pieces that will be played. Other songs, such as Sakura no Ame, have been more popular in Japan; the song explains how life is short and always moving forward. The remaining works pull from shows and films popular in Japanese and American anime culture.

Putting together a concert that hasn’t been done before was no easy task. The music had to be something that appealed to members of the orchestra, the choir and the audience as well.

“We didn’t want something we wouldn’t enjoy for the next 12 weeks,” Marr said. “I wanted to do something that wasn’t too obscure to where nobody knew the piece but something everyone knew and liked.”

The Music Department will do more anime related concerts in the coming year, including another performance next semester. The orchestra was also asked to perform at Anime Los Angeles in Ontario in January.

“One thing I love about this school is the whole school acknowledges anime and loves it,”said Marr. “There’s so much support for the anime community.”

Choirs in Concert: Anime Spectacular will take place on Nov. 18 at 7:30 P.M. at Phillips Hall Theatre. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for students, and $5 for children. To purchase, click here.