Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Final Word- Folklorama '06

It's been a week since Folklorama finished and a full two weeks since the Japanese Pavilion wrapped up. Though my memory is cloudy about the details of the week of August 6th to 13th, so I'll try to summarize the week from an entertainment point of view...well, as briefly as possible.

The week was highlighted by many fabulous performances, all from local performers. Hinode Taiko ,which was founded in 1981 has been the cornerstone of the Pavilion's main stage show. I'm not sure how many years they have performed at Folklorama, but it's been a long time since they didn't. They played 3 shows a night for all 7 days, and in each show they opened and closed the show, as well as a collaborative piece with Martial Arts and the entire entertainment cast for finale number, Ejanaika.

Special thanks to our hard working Adult Ambassador's Megan and Stacy and the Youth Ambassador Alex. They were kept busy every night greeting our visitor's to the Pavilion as well as touring other Ambassadors' and the many many tour buses. As well as their Ambassador duties, the girls also danced 3 or 4 nights each and their tireless enthusiasm was evident in how they proudly presented themselves as the Pavilion representatives.

As I mentioned throughout the week, a pleasant surprise this year was the performance of our singers, Shayna and Brent. With little experience in the Japanese language, they both learned the Japanese lyrics and songs with very little preparation time. Keep an eye out for upcoming performances by both singers, as it would be interesting to hear them perform some of their other songs.

The Aurora and Kaede Dance groups split the week, adding much colour and flair to the stage show. It might be interesting to have members of both groups perform on the same nights, it would add some variety for the visitor's that attend only one night. Thanks to both Lucy (Aurora) and Carol (Kaede) for preparing the groups with a few new pieces this year.

The Martial Arts portion of the show went well, as members of Kendo and Judo presented action packed fighting to the heart thumping beats of Hinode Taiko. Due to scheduling conflicts there wasn't as many performances as originally planned. To fill in, Sumi, Shig and Mitsuko performed a spirited dance with Taiko.

I didn't have a chance to visit many other Pavilion's during the second week of Folklorama, but I did check out the Krakow-Poland Pavilion and met Adult Ambassador Jesika Nagamori. Jesika who is also part of our Japanese-Canadian community, performed at their Pavilion as part of their Polish Dance group. I know when she visited the Japanese pavilion she was greeted by many family friends and was made to feel right at home.

All in all the week was without any major problems. Throughout the week there was talk about what may or may not happen next year. Rumors of no Pavilion and the possibility of Hinode's absence were all based on assumptions and jumping to conclusions, obviously the Folklorama committee has lots to discuss before any plans for next year are finalized. The new venue seemed to have many advantages such as air conditioning and food/entertainment in one room. The display and cultural display room always seemed busy and having them all in one larger room (jr. gym) guaranteed more visitors. The gym never seemed uncomfortably crowded nor did the ambiance seem unattractive and I never heard any negative comments from any of the visitors. The gym will never compare to the theatre at Tec Voc for sound or lighting quality, but Folklorama is more than the show and the overall package, food, show and comfort must be considered.

Special thanks to my Entertainment co-coordinator Sumi! Without her the show wouldn't have run as smoothly as it did and her enthusiasm kept me interested and committed to produce a quality show. I would be interested in doing this again, only if I was able to work again with Sumi. Hope to you see next year!

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