BonFest 2014 Celebrated in Pensacola

Saturday morning doors opened at the Legion Fields Recreation Center to celebrate Obon, a tradition of welcoming the deceased souls of the community back home during the month of August.

Doors opened at 9 am to the public and Dr. Trelfa gave the opening remarks.

Consul Masao Takagi, Consulate General of Japan in Miami was here to give the welcome speech and Joe Vinson of Japan-American Society of Northeast Florida greeted everyone warmly.

The Matsuriza, opened the activities with a Taiko Drum Show. Taiko is an ancient Japanese form of percussion using large drums. The drums range in size from roughly a snare drum (“shime,, to drums as large as a car (the “o-daiko”). The most common drum size in taiko is the “chu-daiko” which is the size of a wine barrel.

During the 1900’s, Taiko drumming became a musical art form that involved a music ensemble and tightly choreographed movements. This is taiko as we know it today.

One of taiko’s most defining aspects is it’s dynamic playing style. Taiko playing is loud, hard, and fast, and involves a lot of choreographed movement which many identify with Japanese martial arts.

There are more than 8,000 taiko groups in Japan, but it is only over the last 30 years that taiko drumming has taken root in the western world.

Appearances were made by the UWF Japan Club, Regina and her students who performed Zumba Gold, and also a Taiko Show performed by The Matsuriza, from Orlando.

The auspicious event included a silent auction and Japanese merchandise available for sale to interested community members.

Sponsors included The City of Pensacola Parks and Recreation Division, Consulate General of Japan in Miami, Hilton Garden Inn, Matsuriza-The Ishikura Family, Japan House at the University of West Florida, Japan-American Society of Northwest Pensacola friends of Bon Fest.


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