It was the day of YPC’s first concert of the Japan Tour 2010.
YPC was staying at the Hotel Kurashiki and getting ready to depart for Kurashiki Shiminkaikan, the concert hall for the first concert. Since the hall was only about a 10 minute drive, taxis were the chosen mode of transportation. Everyone met in the hotel lobby, took attendance, and headed out to the sidewalk to pile into the taxis, which were ready and waiting, all lined up on the street outside the hotel.
Sophia, Jocelyn, Hadley and Jared all got in one taxi together. They settled back and relaxed, content and ready to enjoy a short cab ride through the streets of Kurashiki.
Now, this taxi was one of the last ones to leave the hotel – third to last, to be exact. But when these two senior choristers, one alum, and one conductor rode through the incredibly narrow street to the stage door of the concert hall, the parking lot was completely empty.
Sophia: “Okay…either we’re REALLY late or REALLY early.”
Neither choice made any sense. They could have been late, sure, but theoretically there were still two taxis behind them. And there was really no way they could have made it to the hall before the seven other taxis that left the hotel before them.
Nonetheless, they shrugged, got out of the car, took their backpacks out of the trunk, and went into the building through the stage door – which the security man was holding wide open, with a smile, emphatically welcoming them!
With Sophia leading the way, they confidently went through another door. Then, a sign, giving them two choices: Up the stairs for the “Practice Rooms,” or through another door for the “Stage.”
Usually at the concert halls, there are signs pointing YPC to their dressing room locations. This hall didn’t have those, so they had to guess. It was the first concert of the tour – maybe things were different this year and they decided to get rid of the signs. They didn’t think too much about it, and Sophia decided: “Well everyone must have put their stuff down first.” So they chose the stairs to the “Practice Rooms.”
They got to the top of the stairs. It was very dimly lit. And there was no sign of anybody.
Sophia: “Shhh. Follow the sound of voices.
Everyone froze. But there was complete silence.
Sophia: “Okay…maybe we should have gone to the stage after all.”
Back down the stairs they went. Through the door marked “Stage.” But it just led to another labyrinth, and Sophia didn’t want to play the guessing game anymore.
So, she turned around and went back to the stage door, motioning to Jocelyn, Hadley, and Jared to follow. She asked the security man, “where did the chorus go?” He did not speak a word of English. She started gesturing to her royal blue YPC polo, saying things like “Many people!” and “Children!” and “All matching shirts!” and waving her arms around frantically and making sounds and gestures of singing.
The security man, completely confused but maintaining a big, happy smile on his face, sort of gestured “wait” and he went through the door to the stage.Instead of waiting, though, the YPC-ers followed. Another man joined them, who also didn’t speak a word of English. Finally, Hadley said, “STAGE, wa doko desuka?!” But the two men continued to look at them quizzically.
Finally, Sophia called Naoko-san (the translator traveling with YPC for the entire month).
Sophia: “Naoko! Where IS everybody?”
Naoko-san: “Sophia! We are just pulling into the parking lot now!”
Sophia: “WHAT?! I’m already at the concert hall. How did we beat you? I think my taxi driver took a shortcut! Is everyone else just coming now, too?I’ll go outside and wait for you!”
Naoko-san: “Don’t worry! We are just coming in the driveway in our taxi.”
Sophia walked outside to a parking lot that was still completely empty, with not one car coming up the driveway.
Sophia: “Naoko, I don’t see you!”
Naoko-san: “Where are you?”
Sophia: “I’m at the stage door! I’m right here! Waving my arms! Do you see me? Where are you coming from?” Sophia nearly fell over trying to look in every direction at once to find any sign of a vehicle.
Naoko: “I’m here! We’re here! We’re getting out of the car!”
Sophia: “WHAT?! I don’t get it! Are you at a different entrance? There’s nobody here!”
Sophia felt like she was in the twilight zone. She was just outside the stage door, looking at an empty parking lot, and Naoko was telling her she was getting out of the car right at the stage door. Something wasn’t right.
Meanwhile, the taxi driver (who was miraculously still in the parking lot, leaning against his car) saw the four emerge from the building, and immediately opened his trunk. He gestured toward the trunk and kept repeating, “Please! Please! Please!”
Jared: “Um…..I think he wants us to get back in the car…”
Sophia: (still on the phone with Naoko) “Uhhhmmm…..”
Naoko-san: “Ummm…..Sophia? Your taxi driver is being re-directed right now. Just get back in the car and everything is going to be okay.”
So they put their stuff back in the trunk and got back in the car. With Sophia in the front seat, and Jocelyn, Hadley, and Jared in the back, the taxi driver drove away from the hall. Sophia turned around and looked back. The other three looked back at her. Everyone was very confused.
Sophia was still holding the phone up to her ear.
Naoko: “It’s okay Sophia. I think your driver just went to the wrong concert hall. But it’s very close. Don’t worry about a thing. We’ll see you very soon.”
Sophia: (worried about how late they must be) “Okay…but please tell Francisco what happened!”
Naoko: “Don’t worry! See you soon!”
After another 7-minute drive (through gorgeous countryside, by the way), the four made it to the concert hall, where Naoko-san, Nicole, and the entire backstage staff were all awaiting their arrival. They were met with applause, hugs, and laughs about the mishap, as the taxi driver apologized for his mistake in going to the wrong concert hall. They hurried to the stage to join the rehearsal and chalked up the experience to gaining a fun story to tell!