The centennial celebration of the National Cherry Blossom Festival was ushered in with much fanfare at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Sunday. Nearly 6,000 attendees, awash in hues of pink, were greeted by real-life Ents (for the uninitiated: Tolkien's tree people), with women on stilts sprouting elaborately arranged cherry blossoms and neon-lit flashing butterflies that rose above the crowd on poles.
Renowned opera singer and DC native Denyce Graves-Montgomery followed the Children's Chorus of Washington with her larger-than-life voice imbuing new power to the US national anthem.
The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and pianist Sara Bareilles headlined the event, performing her catchy hit "Love Song" and others. But perhaps the biggest crowd pleaser was Japan's popular R&B singer Misia, whose five-octave range had most out of their seats cheering loudly. For her first performance in the States, she ended her set with an uptempo version of Frankie Valli's "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," which showcased her incredible voice.
"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You"