Monterey Park Hosts Cherry Blossom Festival This Weekend


Taiko drummers perform at the Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival.

The 2011 Cherry Blossom Festival Committee and the City of Monterey Park present the 14th annual Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17, at Barnes Park, located at 350 S. McPherrin Ave., Monterey Park. Entry to the festival is free.

Planned and coordinated by community volunteers, the Cherry Blossom Festival strives to provide a cultural arts event that offers a forum for learning, entertainment, fun, and support of community.

So take the time to see, hear, and taste a bit of the Japanese and Japanese American culture through a first-hand experience of watching traditional Japanese dancing, hearing the resounding beats of the taiko drums, observing the mastery and various skills of martial arts, participating in the ancient art of the tea ceremony, or buying hand-made crafts or food with an Asian flair. Other highlights include games and crafts for children, and numerous cultural displays.

Special guests and emcees:

KYO NO KAI – Kabuki performance group, founded and headed by kabuki actor Nakamura Gankyo (aka Bando Hiroshichiro). The mission of Kyo no Kai is to teach and promote various aspects of traditional Japanese culture with the emphasis on the performance art of kabuki. As a professional actor, Gankyo has performed in all of the major kabuki theaters throughout Japan.

TAIKO PROJECT – This ensemble of premier taiko drummers is dedicated to promoting and advancing the art of taiko. Through public performances, education, and outreach activities, TAIKOPROJECT is committed to preserving taiko as a dynamic element of Japanese American culture and heritage. In addition to maintaining taiko as a community-based tradition, TAIKOPROJECT also incorporates unconventional and innovative concepts to expand artistic boundaries. The group appeared at the 2009 Academy Awards, performing “O-Saya” and “Jai Ho” from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire.”

RODNEY KAGEYAMA – An accomplished actor, Kageyama has appeared in such films as “The Next Karate Kid” and “Pretty Woman” and on television shows such as “Home Improvement,” “Quantum Leap,” “Married with Children,” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” The festival is honored to have him return as emcee.

Groups scheduled to perform (subject to change without notice)
Saturday, April 16
Main Stage:

11:00 am Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko

11:30 am Mark Keppel High School Aztec Singers

12:00 pm Opening Ceremony

12:30 pm Nippon Minyo Kenkyukai Hoshun Kai

1:00 pm Halau Hula ‘A’ Ala Anuhea

1:30 pm David Torres Kenpo Karate

2:00 pm Fujima Kansei Odori Kai

2:30 pm June Kuramoto

3:15 pm TAIKOPROJECT/ Bombu / Kitsune Taiko

4:00 pm Kuntau Martial Arts

4:30 pm U.S. Chinese Martial Arts Wu Shu Team

5:00 pm Phyllis Chang

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Main Stage:

11:00 am MKHS Aztec Pep Band

11:30 am Kodama Taiko

12:00 pm Industry Sheriff’s Judo

12:30 pm Koshin Taiko

1:00 pm California Sumo Association

1:30 pm Industry Sheriff’s Kendo Dojo

2:00 pm Shinbuyo Kodama Kai

2:30 pm Ohana Polynesian Dancers

3:00 pm California Sumo Association

3:45 pm Azuma Kotobuki Kai

4:15 pm Local Mojo

5:00 pm Taiko Center of Los Angeles