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One More Day to "Kyoto"
By Silvia Heredia / Saturday, July 15th, 2006 / O'Henry High School

With a little more than 24 hours to go, the last rehearsal at O'Henry High School was already buzzing by 9 a.m. It began like those before it, with Gajokai greeting you at the corner of 17th and 8th, Byakuren smiling brightly as they helped you find your way, and youth bustling through the halls. But then, all too quickly, it really hit you that the last day of rehearsals was here, and happening fast.

A strong gongyo and words of encouragement from youth leaders John Kasahara and Ebony Roundtree sealed the morning's gathering in the auditorium. "Today is what matters! To really challenge ourselves today!" urged John. "Let's keep it together, now is the time to be determined!" added Ebony. In accord, everyone took off for their respective groups and busied their way through the hustle of the day.

Final run-throughs and dress rehearsals took place in the school gym all day long. "Let's do this one more time!" "This is it you guys!" "Remember this is Lincoln Center, right now!" said the group leaders to pump their youth with spirit as they walked in. And one by one, each performance truly felt like Lincoln Center material, proving everyone's determination, talent, and gusto.

The Youth Chorus sang powerfully, setting a promising tone with lines such as, "burn the flame of peace eternally."

The Brazilian Capoeira dancers and drummers again rhythmically swayed their bodies in motions, telling dancing tales of battle.

The Latin dance group was sensational and catchy - it was hot, it was salsa!

The African drummers and dancers made it thunder and quake in the gym and for split seconds brought things to a still as dancers froze in a pose on one foot, both arms up and out, akin to a bird in mid-flight.

The Youth Band jammed to their unique rendition of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and made us all tap in melody.

The hip-hop groups battled their way through with fly moves, freaky poses and fervent and reverent rapping about Shakyamuni, the Daishonin's courage and persecution, and the great spirit of many in body one in mind.

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Journal 1 (April 23)
Journal 2 (May 14)
Journal 3 (May 21)
Journal 4 (June 11)
Journal 5 (June 18)
Journal 6 (June 25)
Journal 7 (July 1st)
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