Since the Winnipeg Free Press has their continued fascination (ass-kissing) with celebrities, giving washed up actor/wannabee rocker, Dennis Quaid yet more front page exposure in Sunday’s paper, of course they failed to mention anything about the Kibo concert. Not that I was really expecting much, but since the Free Press was one of their major corporate sponsors, I thought they might write a review or at least publish a photo from the show.
The audience was told before the show, “no photos will be allowed during the performance!”, so any quality pictures from the show will be rare and hard to come by (let me know if you have any good photos from the show, especially during the Brent/Geoff/Shayna song). I remembered to bring my camera, so I attempted to take as many photos as possible. After performing my piece with Shayna and Brent, I snuck up to the front row of the balcony and snapped away… sans flash, the result was some very blurry shots. The zoom on my camera doesn’t really have much zoom, so the least blurry shots are the more distant looking. Earlier in the day during dress rehearsal, I took the opportunity to take some closer-up photos as well as some casual candids. My regret is that I didn’t get any decent shots of the out of town performers, Kaoru Watanabe, Shoji Kameda and Chieko Kojima. All the other performers in the show had to make their way backstage for the finale piece, so I missed virtually all of their dance, drum and flute performance, I was told their piece was incredible, and I managed to get a glimpse of Chieko’s dance from the side of the stage.
Overall I think the show was a success, I’m not sure how much money was raised or how many seats were sold. The middle section on the floor was full, but the left and right sections were only full half way up, then there was several rows of empty seats, but the last couple of rows ($35 tickets) were occupied. The balcony was closed to the public, but many of the performers found their way up from backstage. Rumor has it the show was being video recorded (from the balcony beside the sound/lighting table) and may be distributed to the performers which I’m surely looking forward to.
There were many highlights, as previously mentioned Chieko, Shoji and Kaoru were great, Hinode Taiko were busy with their own numbers (including one I haven’t seen before, Stress, which even drew some laughs) as well as a collaboration with the Aurora Dancers on V.
The Aurora Dancers probably had the most stage time from beginning to end. The beauty of their pieces and the calm gentleness of their movements always finds a soft spot in my heart.
Musically, the show was solid, Michael Oike is truly gifted, a professional pianist who performed some Schumann as well as accompanying his niece, Alex Allen, who danced to a piece called, Hitori Botchi, Yuugata no uta.
Singer Shayna Paulicelli belted out First Love, a song in Japanese and English, she has an amazing voice and look for big things from her in the very near future (can we say Canadian Idol?). Shayna also joined Brent and myself for Okaasan no uta, which is a fairly haunting, yet quite lovely song. It was a pleasure to play guitar for these two talented singers, I think it sounded okay, except for when the sound cut out at the beginning of the guitar intro. I had accidentally pulled the cord out of the DI (direct input) box at the side of the stage when it snagged on one of the layers of curtains. Special thanks to Pam Okano for thinking of me for the guitar part.
An interesting element to the evening was the readings that members of the community gave in honor of a grandparent or relative. As Wayne Sato, Karleen Manchanda, Russell Kunz, and Kristen and Stacey Matsumoto each read their relative’s profile, images flashed behind them to give some insight and perspective to the audience. The use of the images on screen were most effective in the first piece of the night, Hajime ni (“in the beginning”)- “out of hardship and dislocation, a community is born and thrives. The roots of Manitoba’s Japanese-Canadian community are outlined in this multi-artist, multimedia creation developed for the concert” (as quoted from the program book).
The photos posted today are from the actual show (again I apologize for the blurriness), in the next posting I’ll display some group shots and some behind the scene rehearsal photos.