FIRST TIME - Annual Christmas Luncheon

Elvis Appearance Steals Primetimer’s Christmas Party Thunder!

By Barbara Hiura      
       SAN JOSE— With a sigh of relief, finally the Wesley Primetimers were able to have a face-to-face gathering after three years of COVID restrictions.  Being a senior group with imuno-compromising conditions, it took a little longer to move past that fear of socializing.
       Fortunately, it was the infinite wisdom of Warren Hayashi and the group’s leaders to implement ZOOM meetings during that hiatus to keep the group in relationship with one another. And finally, and I mean finally, the holiday party gathering happened on Dec. 7 at 4th St Bowl.
       There was excitement, joy, an, laughter, as the 50 or so seniors got together and ohhhh the story-telling that went on.  Even with ZOOM meetings, there was still a lot to talk about and catch up on people’s lives. And new members who used to be part of the “Not Quite Ready For Primetime” have since retired in those three years and are now Primetimers themselves.
Thanks to Warren and Jane Hayashi, and a huge push by the Wesley Church staff, mostly Rev. John and Kelli Martines, to help the Primetimers break out of their social isolation.  This party was huge and important to reaffirm community among the seniors.
       One glitch was having to move the party our of the church Fellowship Hall to 4th St. Bowl, but it proved a minor one.  The church took care of the meal and the cake with a huge thank you to Kelli for organizing and arranging the venue and the event.
       There were competitive games played which were developed and run by Jane Hayashi.  It pitted tables of 7 or 8 against one another. The most points amassed in those five games by a table, was declared the winner. And sheesh, these folks can be super-competitive and each group fought hard and gave it there all.  Coming out on top was the table composed of Warren and Rosie Shimonishi, Beverly Lovass, Jim Mar, and Jan and Jim Yamaguchi.  They are the champions of Christmas trivia.
       Rushing in from another gig was the Wesley Ukulele Band who helped put the party goers into the holiday spirit with Christmas both mainland and island songs.  This year they had Hula dancers, which added brightness and eye appeal to the show.  But nothing, absolutely nothing could compare to our resident Elvis impersonator, Gary Utsumi, coming out in full Elvis regalia singing “Blue Christmas,” to an appreciative audience. He had them eating out of his hand and literally stole the show. The accolades were off the charts.
       There are many to thank for putting this party together. Along with Warren and Kelli, the co-planners, there were Kelli’s kids, Lela, Keana and her friend, Richard.  Assistance came from Rose Kitagawa, Janet Kaku, Jim Mar, Jan Nakatsu of 4th St. Bowl, Tina Urata  and the WUB players, and her Hula sisters.  Special thanks goes to Smiley Kai who provided and set-up the band’s sound system.
       The vision of the church is to put our church members into community.  Assisting the Primetimers to re-engage in this fashion moves the church in that direction to not just fulfill the need to combat loneliness, but with God through Jesus Christ, our community is full…full of God’s love for us because we know we’re not alone, and we being filled with Jesus spirit, reaching out, engaging and enveloping all we come into contact with to be a part of our welcoming family.  Yes, this was an important step. Let’s do more.
Wesley Ukulele Band performed Christmas music above  and had Hula dancers to liven spirits.
Elivis made an appearance to the delight of the party-goers.
Kelli Martines and Richard, who sat on the sidelines were key personnel in putting this party together along with Rev. John Oda, standing with Jodie and Kelvin Kamachi.
Contest winners holding up their prize were from left: Rosie Shimonishi, Beverly Lovass, Warren Shimonishi, Jim Mar, and Jan and Jim Yamaguchi.
Some of the leaders of the party were from right, Warren and Jane Hayashi, and Rose Kitagawa.  They sat with Nora and Ray Yamashiro and Bill and Shirley Manor.