Glendale YMCA Celebrates YOUniqueness

Glendale City Councilmember and former Mayor Paula Devine offers a City Welcome to the over 500 visitors at the YMCA International Festival on Saturday. Photos by Ruth SOWBY


A festival of international food, songs, dances, and arts & crafts were presented with panache for the second year in a row on Saturday, March 16.  It was standing room only for late comers as over 500 people took up every chair in the auditorium of the Glendale YMCA on Louise Street.     

The program began with a short mix and mingle. Representing Armenia were performances from the Rose and Alex Philibos School Choir and the Ararat Dance Studio.  

YMCA Board Member Nora Yacoubian leads a line performers at the International Festival on Saturday.


Armenian members of the Ararat Dance Studio perform at the YMCA’s International Festival.

Following were “Greetings from the City” by Glendale City Council member and former mayor Paula Devine.  She welcomed all, saying, “This is a chance to bring the community together.” 

International Festival co-chair Edith Fuentes, left, joins, Glendale City Councilmember and former Mayor Paula Devine, YMCA Board Members Elizabeth Manassarian, and Nora Yacoubian.

Then Filipino folk dances by the MoTHER FY Dance Group and the Incarnation School Fil-Am Children Dance Group.   

Korea was well represented by a spirited performance by the Jung Im Lee Korean Dance Academy.  

Bowing at the end of their performance are Filipino members of the MoTHER FY Dance Group at the YMCA International Festival.

From Mexico was the Azteca and Folklorico Dances by the Tonantzin Dance Group.  

In the wings, ready to perform at the YMCA International Festival are, left, Juan Santos, Mimi Romero, and Jose Magallanes. They are Azteca and Folklorico dancers representing Mexico.

The program ended with Japanese drums from Peaceful Forest featuring Takumi Kato. Kato, a Japanese taiko drummer, wants people to experience real, live taiko through the warm tones unique to taiko. Peaceful Forest started in October 2022 and have performed 330 times covering 17 states.

Open Dance Sounds by “DJ John” provided a rousing end to the evening. 

Event co-chairs were Edith M. Fuentes and George Saikali. Also hardworking behind the scenes was Catherine Yesayan.