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New Collaborative Gatha Videos Created for NCM

The Coast District Planning Committee for this year’s BCA National Council Meeting envisioned including music offerings for the virtual Eitaikyo service held on Feb. 26.


After Sambujo and Sanbutsuge, San Jose Taiko presented “Ei Ja Nai Ka” as a tribute in memory of the late Rev. Hiroshi Abiko, who was a founding member of taiko in San Jose during his first ministerial assignment at the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin.


PJ Hirabayashi composed “Ei Ja Nai Ka” and was inspired to name the song after long and deep conversations with Rev. Abiko about its meaning and significance to taiko. The piece has evolved to become a Bon Odori dance.


June Kuramoto and Kimo Cornwell of the legendary band Hiroshima followed with “Heritage” on koto and electric keyboard.


After San Jose Betsuin Rinban Rev. Gerald Sakamoto’s Dharma message, Ko-Ha (Miharu Okamura and Miko Shudo) presented a new composition “Golden,” performed with Buddhist Church of Oakland Resident Minister Rev. Harry Bridge on bass guitar.


As chairperson of the BCA Music Committee, however, I wish to communicate appreciation for the request for collaborative gatha videos for the BCA National Council Meeting opening service and Eitaikyo service.


The BCA Service Music Subcommittee convened on Jan. 4 with short notice to discuss how we could record and produce two new gatha videos representing all eight districts of the BCA. How grateful and proud I am that the team of many contributors rose to the occasion! Some vocalists and instrumentalists had already learned during the pandemic to record and transmit tracks for collaborative recordings. Others were willing to learn.


“We Are One,” a Northwest District favorite gatha composed by Donna Sasaki of Tacoma Buddhist Temple, was chosen as an upbeat opening service musical offering, in part because the Ekoji Buddhist Temple Sangha and Ekoji’s former Resident Minister Rev. Nariaki Hayashi, now at Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple, were also familiar with it.


Others agreed to learn the gatha melody or the new harmony part. The four-part harmony arrangement of “Ondokusan II” by the late Yumiko Hojo was proposed for the Eitaikyo service. In addition to the archived virtual Eitaikyo service on the BCA YouTube channel, the gatha video of “Ondokusan II” has been posted along with “We Are One” on the BCA Music Committee YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/@buddhistchurchesofamericam9267


Elaine Jones from the San Jose Betsuin accepted the challenge and accomplished the audio mixing of both gathas. Alex Sakamoto (Seattle Betsuin) with Clarynne Blanchard (Tri-State/Denver) produced the video of “We Are One.” Paul Endo (San Jose Betsuin) with Clarynne Blanchard produced the video of “Ondokusan II.”


In gassho with appreciation also to all the recording artists:


“We Are One”


Singers

Clarynne Blanchard, Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple

Audrey Charness, Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple

Jackie Davenport, Vista Buddhist Temple

Paul Endo, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

Alice Fukushima, Palo Alto Buddhist Temple

Tony Hale, Berkeley Buddhist Temple

Rev. Nariaki Hayashi, Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple

Allan Hikoyeda, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

Nancy Hikoyeda, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

Sue Ann Kashiwagi, Buddhist Church of Sacramento

Julie Kawaye, Buddhist Church of Sacramento

Irene Mano, Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple

Merv Maruyama, Buddhist Church of Sacramento

Rene Maruyama, Orange County Buddhist Church

Paul Mori, Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple

Karen Mukai, Buddhist Church of Fowler

Rod Nishikawa, Buddhist Church of Sacramento

Pilar Uelmen, Ekoji Buddhist Temple

Dennis Yamashita, Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple

Richard Yoshida, Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple


Piano

Donna Sasaki, Tacoma Buddhist Temple


Flute

Annette Inouye, Vista Buddhist Temple


Guitar

Rev. Nariaki Hayashi, Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple


Bass Guitar

Rev. Harry Bridge, Buddhist Church of Oakland


“Ondokusan II”


Singers

Clarynne Blanchard, Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple

Audrey Charness, Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple

Jackie Davenport, Vista Buddhist Temple

Rev. Michael Endo, Buddhist Church of Oakland

Paul Endo, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

Alice Fukushima, Palo Alto Buddhist Temple

Tony Hale, Berkeley Buddhist Temple

Rev. Nariaki Hayashi, Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple

Allan Hikoyeda, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

Nancy Hikoyeda, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin

Sue Ann Kashiwagi, Buddhist Church of Sacramento

Julie Kawaye, Buddhist Church of Sacramento

Elaine Marume, Vista Buddhist Temple

Merv Maruyama, Buddhist Church of Sacramento

Paul Mori, Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple

Karen Mukai, Buddhist Church of Fowler

Rod Nishikawa, Buddhist Church of Sacramento

Naomi Takemura, Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple

Pilar Uelmen, Ekoji Buddhist Temple

Dennis Yamashita, Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple

Richard Yoshida, Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple

Michael Yoshihara, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin


Piano

Elaine Jones, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin


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