about Happy Hour

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A Christian music duo by two New York Japanese Church members who initially had no musical connection to each other. One of them is a professional opera singer while the other is a computer geek who happens to enjoy (attempting) to play non-classical music such as rock, blues, and gospel on piano. In the spring of 2004, the two started hanging out at a White Plains bar during happy hour, and they've enjoyed talking about faith and church since then. Eventually, they decided to play music together for Jesus.

Aya Shimada, vocal
Born in Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan. While attending Otaru Choryo High School, won a gold prize in the High School division of the First Hokkaido Mainichi Vocal Competition. Majored in Voice Study at Tokyo National University of Fine Art & Music, where she performed in numerous operas and concerts. After receiving B.A. in Music, she returned to Hokkaido and continued performing including the Young Musicians Concert at the Sapporo Civic Art Festival and Opera Le Nozze di Figaro. In 1999, she came to the United States where she studied at Mannes College of Music Extension Division and received a diploma with honors in 2003. While expanding her repertoire from Baroque to gospel music, she has been directing Japanese women chorus groups such as Harmony Basket in New Jersey and Hanamizuki in Westchester County and is a voice trainer for the New York Mixed Chorus. In addition, she has been a song leader at New York Japanese Church in Tuckahoe. She is also a proposer and music director of the "Choral Festival of Japan", the first joint event by various Japanese chorus groups in the New York Metropolitan Area held annually for five years since June 2009. She is highly acclaimed for her performance at the United Nations Population Award ceremony in New York since 2000. Outside Japan and the New York metropolitan area, she has performed in Mexico and Canada as well.

Hisaharu Tanabe, piano
Born and baptized in Tojo, Hiroshima, Japan. Currently active as a pianist and worship leader at New York Japanese Church in Tuckahoe while working full-time as an IT consultant on weekdays. Also operates a numerous web sites including Jaspella Gospel Guide, a gospel music information site in English and Japanese. See also his personal site.
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