DOWNEY — When the featured musician stepped forward during a brief performance Dec. 27 at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, everyone could see she was unique, but few knew just how special she is.

The Kyoto Tachibana High School marching band made a brief appearance, ahead of their scheduled performance in Monday’s Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. As the band tore into a thunderous rendition of Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing,” flutist Hitomi Kanamaru stepped up and launched herself into a Lindy Hop dance, all while continuing to play.

Her acrobatic moves were all the more inspiring considering the fact that Kanamaru was born without the lower portion of her left leg.

“At first, it was difficult to try marching and dancing, since I don’t have the left, so it was suggested that I exaggerate the movements on my right leg, and it’s worked out,” she said.

On Jan. 2, the band performed a charity concert in La Palma at the Kennedy High School Performance Arts Center, with donations set to benefit schools in the Houston area severely affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Photos by MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo

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  1. I believe Hitomi is a woman of great destiny. I pray one day to get a chance to chat with her. I have collected her band photos and all her video performances. Please one day we can talk.

  2. Inspirational, beautiful and so talented – Hitomi Kanamaru – you are everything

  3. I want to know all names of band members of 2017 . Especially drummer girls. And wonderful xylophone player