On Sunday, Nov. 30th Tonari Gumi’s 9th Annual Christmas Concert took place at the St. Matthias & St. Luke Anglican Church at 680 West 49th Ave. in Vancouver.
With more than 200 guests and participants filling the beautiful Christmas themed chapel, everyone was treated to an afternoon of joyful Christmas music. Headlined by the Maeda family musical quartet, with Tak Maeda on keyboard, Monta Maeda on euphonium and Kinta Maeda on trombone, plus a special guest, Robert Buckley on clarinet, everyone was carried away with the professional sounds of this talented family. The first half of the program with the Maeda family ranged from old traditional numbers such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, to jazz-themed pieces and on to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”.
When they came to their last piece, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, they had everyone asking for more and they ended with “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
The second half of the program started out with VSO pianist, Keiko Alexander, playing a piano solo of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Variations” from Mozart. Then the community choir singers, drawn from the Sakura Singers, Cattlega Chorus, Winds Chorus and NAV Chorus, directed by Ruth Reiko Suzuki, carried the audience with them on a wonderful sleigh ride of Christmas numbers. The choral numbers were augmented with soprano solos by Stephanie Nakagawa, a UBC classical music major. The audience was also encouraged to join in with the choral groups for the many familiar Christmas carols.
All of this musical joy was accompanied by a festive raffle with literally more than a hundred prizes. This was a fun evening for everyone as each guest left, not only with their raffle prizes, but also received gifts courtesy of Glico Canada and Sato Pharmaceutical Canada.
Thanks go to the Christmas Concert Committee with Chuichi Nakahori, Midori Seo, Yasuko Yamazaki, and a host of other volunteers. MC duties were ably handled by Adam Stokes and Yukari Takahashi. Thanks also to our media sponsor, the Vancouver Shinpo.
Raffle Prize Donors:
Kikko Tasaka, Mieko Amano, Ruth Hasman, Machiko Nakahori, Yoko Lin, Sally Iwasaki-Gibson, Glico Canada corporation, Kim’s Mart, Nishimoto Trading, Sato Seiyaku, Angel Seafoods, Seaborn Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Tonari Gumi Craft Club.