Akebono and cherry jam at Burrard skytrain station

It was a gorgeous sunny day for the opening of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival at the Burrard skytrain station today.  The Akebono cherry trees are 2-3 weeks late this year, due to a cold winter. The Akebono cherry buds were about to open, and there were some blossoms at the top of the trees.

Leaving the station, I saw a woman taking pictures of the smaller tree planted in front of the station and realized this was probably my best chance for me to get a close-up  of the blossoms. The tree is in the sunlight. It was perfect.

For more information about the opening concert, check out my blog post for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival about the 2017 cherry jam.

Sakura Illuminations 2016

Sakura Illuminations took place in Stanley Park, at the Japanese Memorial, on the evening of April 1 2016. This activity was presented by the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and HFour Design and was attended by over 1,000 people. Lanterns were lit in the Shirotae cherry trees and lights were projected onto the tree canopy. It was a beautiful evening.

 

Photos: Jessica Tremblay

Cherry Jam at Burrard skytrain

 

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival kicked off today with the Cherry Jam, a free concert held at the Burrard skytrain station in downtown Vancouver.

This year, several artists teamed up to offer a multidisciplinary experience: The Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra performed  first, then stayed on stage to accompany two dancers and a Japanese singer.

Chinese musician Ji Rong Huang played the er-hu while Dayna Szyndrowski performed tap dancing. I was blown away that someone had thought of mixing these two different art forms together. And they worked perfectly!

Japanese artist Yayoi Hirano from Yayoi Theatre Movement performed haiku in mime while accompanied by the flute music of Holly Burke. (I took a video.)

Vancouver Okinawa Taiko group closed the show with powerful drumming and dancing.

All performances were wonderful and memorable!

 

Sakura Illumination 2015 at Charleston Park

The Sakura Illumination that took place at Charleston Park tonight was a truly magical experience.

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When I got there shortly before 8:00pm, it wasn’t dark yet. The lanterns were turned on and the two Tree Fairies performers were rehearsing their dance routine celebrating the arrival of spring.

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When the sun was set, the Tree Fairies, Cherri and Blossom, began their beautiful dance accompanied by mesmerizing music. Lights were projected over the white Ukon cherry blossoms.

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When the 10 minute dance routine was over, people were invited to wander around the cherry trees and take pictures of the lanterns.

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The light inside the lanterns changed from white, yellow, blue, green, red.  It was beautiful.

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The lanterns offered a unique view of Ukon cherry blossoms at night.

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After 20 minutes of admiring the lanterns and wandering under cherry blossoms, spectators were asked to return to the viewing area for the next dance performance by Cherri and Blossom.

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I moved to get a wide shot.  From the back row, even though you couldn’t see the dance performance, you could see the beautiful lanterns, the light show, and hear the music.

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The crowd at the performance was composed of families having picnics, friends, and lots of photographers.  The atmosphere was very friendly. There was about 200 spectators.

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Charleston Park is right next to the seawall. You could see the Granville bridge in the distance.

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Sakura Illumination was created by Stuart James W. from HFour.  I really liked how they allowed spectators to get up and wander under the trees between performances, making this a truly immersive experience.

‘Yozakura’ (cherry blossom viewing at night) has been done in Japan for many centuries. Seeing our beautiful Vancouver cherry blossom illuminated was a unique experience — made even more special by the fact that this year, Sakura Illumination was a ‘one-night only’ event.

Photo credit: Jessica Tremblay