The Return of Baachan and Santa


Baachan (Mary Kageyama Nomura) and Santa.

TORRANCE — Holiday cheer will be in abundance at the Grateful Crane Ensemble’s (GCE) second annual holiday concert on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center’s Toyota Meeting Hall.

Entitled “I Saw Baachan Kissing Santa Claus,” the concert will feature 17 Grateful Crane holiday singers who will be performing favorite songs from GCE’s holiday CD.

“Our concert is a celebration of the Japanese American family coming together during the holidays,” said Soji Kashiwagi, executive producer of GCE. “Like many JA families, we gather together at Baachan’s house for the annual family party. But before the presents are opened, everyone in our GCE family — including our new youth members — will get up and sing.”

Directed by Keiko Kawashima with musical direction by Scott Nagatani, this year’s concert will include songs such as “White Christmas,” “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “O Holy Night,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” “Silent Night,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “I Saw Baachan Kissing Santa Claus,” “The Christmas Song,” “Grown Up Christmas List,” and more.

Performers in the show include: Kerry Keiko Carnahan, Jason Fong, Loryce Hashimoto, Lisa Horikawa, Haruye Ioka, Keiko Kawashima, Hideo Kimura, Darrell Kunitomi, Kurt Kuniyoshi, Aimee Machida, Alyssa Nakamoto, Merv Maruyama, Helen Ota, Michael Palma, Fusako Shiotani, and a special guest appearance by the “Songbird of Manzanar,” Mary Kageyama Nomura.

The GCE Holiday Band includes Scott Nagatani on piano, Miles Senzaki on drums/percussion, Gordon Bash on bass, and Lisa Joe on keyboards.

After the concert, attendees will have an opportunity to purchase the CD and meet the cast and musicians.

The Toyota Meeting Hall is located at 3330 Civic Center Dr. in Torrance. Plenty of free parking is available. Tickets for the concert are $40 general, $35 for seniors (65+), students and groups of 10 or more.

For reservations, call the Grateful Crane ticket line at (310) 995-5841. For more information, visit


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