The Silver Lake-based “Pay it Forward Band” played at the Keiro Retirement Home in Boyle Heights and a sister facility in Lincoln Heights on Sunday to help celebrate Keiro No Hi, a Japanese holiday that honors the elderly. The Boyle Heights performance found Keiro residents Fumiko Shido, 82, and George Matsui, 95, (pictured above) dancing in the aisle. The band, composed of volunteer musicians who perform at nursing homes, have entertained audiences at more than 60 Los Angeles County nursing homes since early March, including eight performances on National Grandparents Day. Musical director Gary Gamponia said the band strayed a bit from its focus on nursing homes to play at the Keiro retirement home in part to draw attention to the differences in how the Japanese and Americans honor the elderly. Gamponia said that “the people of Japan have made elderly people more important … much more important and that is evident in the fact that Keiro No HI is national holiday.”
“Recognizing the disparity between Keiro No Hi and National Grandparents Day in the U.S.,(a day that has gone unnoticed by most Americans for more
than 30 years) should serve as a wakeup call. What does it say about a country that doesn’t honor their elders in any real way?”
Musicians who want to volunteer their time for future performances should call Gamponia at (213) 213 388-8500.
Photo courtesy Keiro Senior HealthCare