WCBT's Lotus Band Performs at the Higashi Honganji's Obon

On the warm weekend of July 28-29, 2001, West Covina Buddhist Temple's talented teen Lotus Band again "took their show on the road" and performed a memorable set at the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple's Obon Fetstival in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles.

Of course, this performance followed close on the heels of several recent performances that were each very good, such as their performance at the East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center's gala 50th Anniversary Banquet and course, West Covina Buddhist Temple's own Obon Festival. However, by any standard of judgment, Lotus really outdid itself at this performance. One of the highlights had to be the new song they performed, S Club 7's pop hit, "Never Had a Dream Come True." On this song, it isn't an overstatement to say that both Lindsay and Allison really became singers, as opposed to just performers who happen to sing. They put everything they had into the song and were absolutely convincing. There were many whistles and shouts of words like "Wow!," "Whew!," and "Yeah!" after this song.

But then, those kinds of reactions were heard after other songs as well. For example, another highlight in the set was the outstanding instrumental performance of Kevin on flute and Amy on alto sax on the funk-jazz tune "Always There." Kevin played a Grover Washington solo note-for-note and Amy played Ronnie Laws' original solo on this tune note-for-note. Perfectly. It was an impressive display of musicianship, but not just by teen musician standards; it's quite probable that there are some professional jazz musicians who would not be able to perform these solos this well.

The musicians of the Lotus Band are of course, all active members of West Covina Buddhist Temple, and of course they get a lot of "press" both here on the Living Dharma Website and in our temple's Gateway Newsletter. Interestingly however, they are starting to get coverage in other papers as well. Recently, there was an article on Lotus in the Rafu Shimpo Newspaper, the most widely read paper in the Japanese-American community. And, at the Betsuin Obon, photographers from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and the Covina Highlander were there just to take pictures of the band! Earlier in the week, a reporter from the Highlander had also conducted phone interviews with various members of the band.

The Lotus Band just keeps getting better and better!

left to right, Amy Sakaue, Allison Haraguchi and Lindsay Ogino pose for Rev. Ken Kawawata's camera just after their very successful performance

One of the highlights was Allison's and Lindsay's outstanding performance on "Never Had a Dream Come True"...all you young singers out there should take note of their excellent mic technique!

Shown here during their performance on Ronnie Laws funk-jazz classic, "Always There," Kevin and Amy blew the audience away with their astounding "chops" (musician-speak for technique)

Kyle played a strong funk groove in the ever-popular r&b tune "Sukiyaki," while also taking a melodic lead guitar solo in the Rippington's "Dream of the Sirens"

Left to right, Kevin, Lindsay, Allison, Kiyoshi, Kyle and Amy make the Lotus Band a really unique and wonderful band of talented teens!