Two Singers Say Their Farewells at Recital

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Voice teacher Lisa Joe (fourth from left) sings the praises of voice students and assistants the Morihara Sisters (Masako Nakane and Sumi Yata, seated). At left are photos of Joe’s late mother, Sue Okabe. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

GARDENA — “A Farewell to Sumi and Masako” was the theme of the annual recital by voice students of Lisa Joe on Aug. 11 at the Ken Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena.

The Morihara Sisters — Sumi Yata and Masako Nakane — started working with Joe’s mother, music teacher Sue Okabe, around 2000 and have been helping Joe since her mother passed away in 2002. The pair, who served as the evening’s program coordinators, said they just felt it was time to quit.

For their final performance, they sang “A Journey to the Past” from “Anastasia”; Yata sang “So Big, So Small” (“Dear Evan Hansen”) and “I Am What I Am” (“La Cage Aux Folles”); and Nakane sang “The Rain, It Falls” and “All I See.”

At the end of the evening, Joe and students Holly Griffin and Kristin Yata paid tribute to the sisters with “So Long, Farewell” from “The Sound of Music,” with altered lyrics.

During the program, Kristin Yata sang “Breathe” (“In the Heights”) and “This Is Me” (“The Greatest Showman”) and Griffin sang “The Light in the Piazza” (from the musical of the same name) and “Dyin’ Ain’t So Bad (“Bonnie and Clyde”).

With Joe providing piano accompaniment, the following students performed:

Katherine Koyanagi (flutist), “In Time”

Waty Wiredja, “It’s Impossible/Somos Novios”

Ted Abo, “On the Street Where You Live” (“My Fair Lady”), “More” (“Mondo Cane”)

Linh Dang, “Woman in Love”

Nancy Quan, “Too Young”/“Moonglow,” “A Sunday Kind of Love”

Allan Shigemitsu, “I Took a Pill in Ibiza,” “All of Me”

Tom Ishimine, “The Wonder of You,” “Sweet Caroline”

Lisa Abe Furutani, “Killing Me Softly,” “One Less Bell to Answer”

Michael Murata (who just received his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering), “Waving Through a Window” (“Dear Evan Hansen”), “You’ll Be Back” (“Hamilton”)

Francis San Agustin, “Proud of Your Boy” (“Aladdin”), “Why, God, Why?” (“Miss Saigon”)

The crew included Kurt Kuniyoshi, sound engineer; Vickie Tani, page turner (and pianist on the final song); Keri Kaba-Dien, photographer; and Howard Yata, videographer.

Students unable to participate: Caro Abo, Marilyn Garibaldi (pianist), Michael C. Palma, Josefina Penning, Helen Ota, Jun Uehara. Palma and Ota were performing at the Nisei Week Coronation that evening.

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