A mall crowd of stage moms and dads watch on the eve of opening ceremonies. Their children rehearsed for the last time, among 1,000 others who will take part. Among them is North Carolina native, Anthony Dean Griffey, an opera singer who came from High Point, NC to the Metropolitan Opera to Nagano, Japan.
Griffey was asked to come to Nagano by a conductor he met through his performances at the Met. It's his third trip to Japan, a country known for its passion and dedication to the arts.
"It's a wonderful country," Griffey says, "very friendly and very appreciative to the arts. So they have been very supportive and very helpful."
Help was needed to coordinate the movements of people from five continents into one smooth rhythm. Worries of weather, warmth and a lack of snow disappeared in a stadium designed to look like a flower.
Over 3,000 athletes and officials from 83 countries are competing in 7 sports over 16 days. Griffey is one man with a big voice, proud to play a small role.