Thanksgiving is a very American holiday: sharing abundance as a community. The first Thanksgiving also acknowledged the importance of interdependence and benefits of diversity: values that Americans continue to seek and support.
It should be noted that giving thanks is a universal value, one that Tomoko appreciates and practices. Throughout her life, she has been helped to realize her dreams, and she has helped others to realize their own dreams. Not surprisingly, a central theme is music.
Tomoko was thankful that her family home was filled with music, especially their regard for the classics. Music enabled Tomoko to be accepted into the prestigious Ferris School in Yokohama. The school’s singing ensembles, in turn, were thankful that Tomoko accompanied them on the piano. Likewise, Tomoko’s musical gifts and her years of practice led to her successful competition to enter the University of Tokyo; she was both thankful for her own efforts and for her opportunity to learn at the nation’s best university for music.
Tomoko was thankful for Professor Jan Popper, who found a way for her to emigrate to the United States – as part of his opera program. Dr. Popper also advised her to apply to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, which resulted in her successful studying and teaching there for fifty years. Tomoko was thankful for the widow who let Tomoko share her home, and the homeowner was thankful in turn for Tomoko’s assistance. Tomoko was also thankful for James H. Schwabacher. At one point in her college career, Tomoko didn’t have enough money to pay for her tuition. At this critical time James Schwabacher, a board member of the school, provided Tomoko with the scholarship money so she could continue at the conservatory. Tomoko showed her thankfulness in her hard work and musical success.
And Tomoko has given of herself and her music throughout her life, for which thousands have been thankful to her. Her concert performances have touched so many audiences. Her expert and caring teaching has helped so many students grow in their knowledge and love of music, and helped their own personal and professional growth.
We can all be thankful for music.