EDMOND — A surprise musical recital for your mother isn't the typical gift under the tree, but it's exactly what five adult children gave their mom, Hiromi Hood, for Christmas this year.
About 40 family and friends were treated to a one-hour classical musical recital at the Y Chapel of Song at the University of Central Oklahoma on Wednesday. It was in honor of what the children said was the “Hiromi Hood School of Music” and Hood's decades of “instruction, patience and persistence.” Daughter Ami Mariko Hood Frost also called her mother's tutelage “forceful encouragement.”
When it was over, it was one of the more appreciated presents ever received by Hood, she said.
“I am so proud,” she told the gathering, while on the verge of tears.
The recital had been planned since the fall. Performing were Kenta Thomas Hood, 30, piano; Frost, 29, violin; Rika Renee Hood Burr, 27, flute; Kenji Scott Hood, 25, horn; and Mika Marie Hood, 24, cello. Sallie Pollack provided accompaniment on piano.
Family friend Maureen Vick was typical of those in attendance.
“This is great,” Vick said. “It's really unusual to have all five children at the orchestra level. They are all so talented.”
Hiromi Hood was surprised by the gift after being a bit baffled by the Christmas gift exchange, which was anything but normal.
“I kept seeing them (the children) exchange presents, but I noticed there was nothing for me,” she said. “Finally they gave me one gift, and it was a framed copy of today's program.”
All the children performed, although Kenta Hood's piano contribution of Chopin's “Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9, No. 2” was on tape. He was back home in New Hampshire with family, including his expecting wife. Frost said he did 97 takes on the tape until he got one he liked.
After the performances, Frost said she, along with her brothers and sisters, were all so grateful to their mother and happy with the turnout for the recital. She said it was more people than they expected.
Burr said her mother taught each child to play piano and then encouraged each to learn another instrument as well. Burr, as well as her brothers and sisters, attended Sequoyah Middle School and graduated from Edmond North High School. Kenji Hood had learned horn and is now a member of the Utah Symphony Orchestra.
Burr is a geophysicist for Chesapeake Energy Corp. and noted that a project she did reminded her of her musical training.
“It's all kind of related in a nerdy kind of way,” she laughed.
Afterward, Hiromi Hood was elated, greeting family and hugging her offspring performers.
“They did such a wonderful job today,” she said. The mother said she remembers the long sessions teaching each child to play piano.
“One thing they were never allowed to do,” she recalled. “They could not quit. I would not let them quit.”