Originally from Sapporo, Japan, Miho Terachi has always dreamed about being a part of the bright lights and urban sounds of New York City. Now a sophomore at SUNY New Paltz, she is learning that the Hudson Valley has a sound of its own.
At least once a week, Miho goes to venues in New Paltz to hear her professors and local musicians play.
In Her Own Words
"As an international student I am trying to be involved in many kinds of activities to make as many friends as possible. I came here from Japan by myself and knew that it would depend on me to make as many friends as possible… Sometimes I realize that I am Japanese and different from American students. Sometimes (many times!) I have culture shock. When I feel that way, international friends are always able to understand how I am feeling, because they feel the same way.
Honestly, it is not easy to be an international student. I have to study two or three times more than American students, because of my English. I sometimes feel uncomfortable and alone while other students are laughing at the jokes students and teachers make in class, but I never get it.
Above all, it was my wish to come to the United States. I had been longing to be an international student in the U.S. since I was in high school. Being an international student is my dream and I live in dreams."
"I believe seeing and listening to them aroused my interest in jazz," said Miho.
But Miho is not just listening, she's playing as well. An alto saxophonist, Miho plays with jazz chamber ensembles at SUNY New Paltz and is teaching herself jazz piano.
During the semester, she also goes to New York City to hear live jazz.
"I saw Wallace Rooney, McCoy Tyner and Hiromi Uehara playing at Blue Note," said Miho. "I would love to go to Manhattan more often to hear music."
Now home for the summer in Japan, Miho is playing as much as she can.
In June, she played with "The Fusic," a group of more than 200 people that has a traditional Japanese percussion section, at the opening ceremony of the Yosakoi Soran Festival.
"Over two-million people came to see the festival over 5 days," said Miho. "Next to the Snow Festival, it's the biggest festival in Sapporo."
She has also recently become the saxophonist in a house band at a bar in Sapporo, where she plays and sings almost twice a week.
"We mostly play 50s and 60s American pop music," said Miho.
Miho's Japanese origin is important to her and at New Paltz she's found a way to fuse it with her passion for music. Before leaving New Paltz for the summer, Miho produced a backup band for international singers for the International Student Union's culture fair.
Why New Paltz? Miho liked what she heard about the music program and wanted to be close to New York City.
Hobbies: Going to the nearby Mohonk Mountain and cooking
Inspired by: Her father, who in 2002 established his own company as a consultant and David Castiglione, her first saxophone teacher at New Paltz, who now tours with the Dave Matthew Band
Goals: To become more involved in the production side of the music world