Sunday, October 24, 2010

Awaya-Kai Koto Concert 2010

Yesterday Sandy, Megan and Ethan took part in the 35th Anniversary Awaya-Kai Koto Charity Concert. It is a celebration honoring the beautiful music, song and dance of traditional Japanese culture. Sandy belongs to the Awaya-Kai Koto Conservatory and has been playing the koto since she was 5 years old. This year was the first time that our kids, Megan and Ethan got to participate in the concert. Needless to say, we were all quite excited. The concert was held at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

1) Chloe, Kenji, Ethan and Megan would be performing a song together.

2) It takes Sandy 45 minutes to get dressed in her traditional kimono and that's with the help of an assistant.

3) Sandy tunes her koto.

4) Ethan watches the rehearsal from the auditorium.

5) Chloe and Megan are now bff, but Chloe doesn't know it yet...

6) Awaya Sensei runs the ladies through a last minute rehearsal.

7) There's my Sandy.

8) Megan and Ethan put on their concert outfits.

9) Kenji is so cute with his captain hat.

10) Megan has started hanging out with sailors. Not sure if daddy approves of this...

11) Megan has her Ponyo plush toy.

12) Chloe will be the main singer for the kids' performance.

13) Ethan tries on his hat.

14) Patti mugs with the kiddies and Ponyo.

15) Jim Thompson plays the shakuhachi.

16) Ken Dekitani and Christopher Oba play the sangen.

17) Awaya sensei tunes her koto.

18) The concert begins!

19) The kids sing the theme song from Hayao Miyazaki's Film, Ponyo. I apologize for the shaky video. I shot this hand held with my camera while sitting in the audience.

20) Sandy performs A Maiden's Prayer.

21) Sandy performs Csikos Post.

22) Janet gets ready to perform her piece.

23) Bando Hidesomi performs a beautiful dance.

24) A traditional Japanese dance performance by the Bando Hidesomi Dance Group.

25) The Okinawa Dance by the Yonamine Keiko Dance Group.

26) Awaya Sensei leads her group in this piece.

27) Bill Crowley is the Master of Ceremony and also performs his own Rakugo which is the traditional art of Japanese comic storytelling.

28) Miyoko Hataye is the conductor of the Sakura Chorus.

29) The koto music and the Sakura Chorus perform beautifully together.

30) Ethan steps out on stage to present a bouquet to an honored guest musician.

31) Ethan makes the crowd laugh as he repeatedly bows to the honored guest musician and forgets to walk off the stage.

32) Megan presents Miyoko Hataye with a bouquet.

32) Cute little Kenji presents his grandmother (Awaya sensei) with a bouquet.

33) Finale!

34) Sandy mugs with her coworkers.

35) There's my little boy.

36) Sandy's friend Charmaine flew in from a business trip just that morning to catch the performance.

37) Janet greets friends and family backstage.

38) Ethan charms the ladies.

39) Sandy and Maria.

40) Janet and Ed.

41) The beautiful ladies.

42) Sandy and her mom.

43) My beautiful family. Daddy was so proud of you all today.


  1. Crazy great shots! So sharp for what I'm sure was super low lighting!

  2. I'm absolutely blown away by Sandy's performance...OK, your photography too :)

  3. All your posted pics look fabulous! That 85mm is a really sharp lens. Looks like everyone had a lotta fun.

  4. Wow... how close to the stage were you? Great pictures.

    Faves: 4, 9, 23, 24

    The kids singing the Ponyo song is really cute. That little mysterious little Ethan with this cap shadowing his eyes. And it's always a pleasure to hear Sandy play the koto.

  5. re: Kenneth - Even though I was sitting in a darkened auditorium, the stage was very well lit so I did have enough light to work with. However the challenging part was that the light constantly changed. Parts of the stage will be under a bright spotlight and other parts of the stage will be dimmer. They changed lighting with each performance. This made getting a correct exposure very difficult. I was constantly either blowing out the highlights or underexposing. I just kept on reviewing my shots and adjusting on the fly.

    re: David - Thanks man. Hehe. We will figure out a date to get together for a photo shoot.

    re: Gloomknight - The 85mm f1.8 lens works very well for theater/stage photography. Fast enough for the low light but also gives a good amount of focal length. The trick was that I practiced while they rehearsed on stage. I had to figure out where I should sit in order to work with my fixed focal length. Obviously during the concert, I would not be able to get up and move around or zoom in/out so I had 1 shot to position myself to get the best pics for the entire concert. I spoke with the stage manager and he showed me the diagrams of where the performers would be position. I figured out that sitting 4 rows from the front would give me the shots I wanted.

    re: Mayumi - I sat 4 rows from the front.

    Thanks all for the comments.

    - Hung

  6. Awesome pictures as always. I know you're proud of your family (they are great!) I am pretty sure they are proud of you, too. Your talent with the camera gives you the ability to capture precious moments of your life, your family and your surroundings. Priceless.


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