Rie Furuta
Cantor/Church musician in Wurzen, Saxony (Germany)
Kaoru Oyamada Graduated 2006, Faculty of Letters, Department of Art Studies

Music connects people with people. The joy of playing for someone

When Japanese people ask me "What is your job?” and I reply “I’m a cantor”. Few know what that is. Not surprising, considering it’s an occupation that doesn’t exist in Japan. A cantor is someone who manages the musical activities in a German Christian Church, such as conducting the choir or playing the organ during worship services.

The church in Wurzen, Saxony where I started serving two years ago has nine musical groups, including a choir, a children’s choir, a brass ensemble, and a string orchestra, comprising believers and nonbelievers, all amateurs aged five to eighty. In addition to leadership, my job includes tasks such as supervising the planning and management of over twenty concerts per year, accounting, and stage construction, while always working to revitalize the church through people and music.

During my time at Meiji Gakuin, alongside my studies in the Department of Art Studies I immersed myself in music, including the orchestra, a pipe organ course, and Bach Akademie Meiji Gakuin Tokyo. Although I didn’t spend much time in the Meiji Gakuin Chapel, I took the University’s motto “Do for Others” to heart. This motto, the knowledge and experience that I accumulated at Meiji Gakuin supported me ever since my first student life in Germany through a Meiji Gakuin Exchange Program at the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar, and later during my days as a cantor. Every day is a new challenge, as I consider what I can do for others through music.

My message to students

Your time in University is your greatest opportunity for building the mental and physical strength required to overcome difficult times. Depending on how you broaden your horizons and enrich your imagination, you can shape your future any way you like. Knowledge and experience are your greatest assets and weapons. Please try whatever you can, no matter how small. But don’t forget to rest, too!

A Concert Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in 2019 at St. Marien Cathedral in Wurzen, enjoyed by a full Audience!