10:00 a.m. Welcome Speeches10:30 a.m. Rajio Taiso10:45 a.m. TBA11:00 a.m. SFVJACC Meiji Ondo Group (Dancing) 11:30 a.m. LA Men’s Glee Club (Choir)12:00 p.m. Kinnara Taiko (Taiko Drumming)12:30 p.m. U4LT (Ukulele)1:00 p.m. Asian Persuasian (Singing)1:30 p.m. Rajio Taiso1:45 p.m. TBA2:00 p.m. OCBC Jammers (Ukulele)2:30 p.m. Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko (Taiko Drumming)3:00 p.m. Fujima Kansuma (Japanese Dancing)3:30 p.m. Sakura Gardens (Ukulele/Shigin/Karaoke)
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L.A. Men’s Glee Club is an all men’s chorus group. They celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. At the time of the inauguration, there were only five people. During this time, through the performance of male chorus started at various Japanese senior facilities and various events. The group has a wide range of age groups from lower 50s to the upper 80s of varying degree of experience.
Kinnara Taiko is considered the oldest Japanese American Buddhist Taiko group in North America and were credited in developing the wine barrel taiko.
Asian Persuasion is a four member Asian American vocal harmony group. They sing favorite songs from doo-wop, Motown, and pop songs of the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. Kenny Itagaki and Gary Asamura started the group over 40 years ago with Sharleen Inouye and Jeff Louie completing the group today. They invite their audiences to join them in bringing back the classic sights, sounds and memories of those “oldies but goodies” of their youth.
The OCBC Jammers is a group of Orange County Buddhist Church members who meet weekly, brought together by the camaraderie of playing the ukulele and singing songs. The group was founded in 2007 (about 12 years ago). They had about 8 players, and met on Wednesday mornings. Currently, the group numbers about 25 players with half meeting on Wednesday mornings and half meeting on Friday nights. Membership is open to all OCBC sustaining members. Most of the players are retired seniors but membership is not limited to seniors. In fact, the Friday group grew from a request by some working members who wanted to learn to play the ukulele, but were only available in the evenings.
Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko (RMD) was originally formed in Okinawa in 1982 to introduce young people to the passion of taiko drumming and the beauty of Okinawan culture. Since its formation, branches have been established throughout Japan, South America, and the U.S. The Los Angeles branch was originally formed in 1995 and is the only branch on the west coast. Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko’s taiko style is based on the old Okinawan tradition of obon taiko dancing, called eisa, in which dancers carry large odaiko drums suspended by shoulder straps or smaller hand-held drums. Performers emphasize karate style movements to create a visually exciting and energetic dance while drumming to a blend or traditional and contemporary Okinawan, and Japanese music.
Joining the festivities for this year’s Keiro no Hi festival are the students of the legendary dance master madame Fujima Kansuma. Madame Kansuma is a pioneer in bringing Japanese classical dance to hte United States. She has been recognized by the Japanese government for her cultural contributions and is a national heritage fellowship recipient. Last year she was honored by the Smithsonian, The National Endowment for the Arts and The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center celebrating her 100th birthday. This century old teacher, dancer, choreographer, and cultural icon has headed the Soke Fujima Dance School in Little Tokyo Los Angeles for over 80 years and is excited to participate in this year’s festival.
Established in 1975, Sakura Gardens was formerly known as Keiro Retirement Home, is a full-service Japanese retirement community offering independent and assisted living in prime Los Angeles area. At Sakura Gardens, residents partake in plenty of activities with volunteers such as the shigin, karaoke, and ukulele music performances.
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