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These past few weeks have been pretty busy for KWTC, with more to come, so sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice lengthy blog post.
On the 26th, we did a workshop at Juilliard for students. A good number of students came out to see us perform a few pieces and talk a little bit about taiko and the history of the music we played. The students got to try out the drums as well, and everyone had fun, even though a bit of the ceiling fell on us as we played odaiko solos. It definitely added to the performance.
This past Friday was the final concert for Kaoru’s students at Wesleyan University. All three classes, beginning, intermediate, and advanced, performed to a large crowd. The advanced class had performed on local television earlier in the week, which drew people from outside of Wesleyan, as well. The concert even included Kaoru, Patty, and I (Evan, Wesleyan alum) performing Chakuto. The students have started posting a few videos, and we will update this post as they come in, for all to see the hard work everyone put in this semester.
Here is the intermediate class’s performances of Miyake and Hiraki (courtesy of Nam Anh Ta).
It was a fun evening, bookended by rousing renditions of Yose Daiko performed by all three classes together.
On Saturday, we traveled with the great Barbara Merjan down to Stony Brook, Long Island for the Stony Brook Sakura Matsuri hosted by Ryu Shu Kan. It was the inaugural performance for Barbara’s new drum (!), and we had a great time sharing a bill with many other great performers. After the concert, we went with Ryu Shu Kan to their studio for dinner. We talked and learned about the history of their karate and taiko studio and heard the fantastic stories of their fearless leader, Gerry Senese.
The fun doesn’t stop though, because this coming week is our participation in BLEED, Alicia Hall Moran and Jason Moran’s residency at the Whitney Museum. We will be performing with Alicia on Thursday and Saturday, and it will be an event not to be missed. You will be serenaded, possibly surprised, and definitely entertained. On Thursday, there will be two performances involving KWTC. At 11, Kaoru and Ayako Watanabe, his mother, will be performing while Alicia receives acupuncture. Then at 1, the taiko comes out and we will be playing while Alicia sings. We will be performing the taiko portion with Alicia again on Saturday at 5. Besides Kaoru, Patty, and I, we will be joined by such taiko luminaries as Barbara Merjan, Mari Nakano, Yumiko Higaki, Jade Ogoshi, and Aya Ino. Also, please check out the rest of the BLEED program, which can be found here. It’s full of really exciting performances.
Final note, in practice today we did some intensive miyake work, and followed it up with a little shime age. A big day. great succes was had, though as Patty wove the rope into a beautiful knot on her first try. If you see her, give her a high five.