Our first school show in April was at Beattie Middle School in Highland, CA.  It was an early morning (read: “didn’t sleep”), but that’s typical for me for school shows.  I got the Big Coffee® and hit the road in the van with the equipment, picking up Maz along the way.

We met the rest of the cast (Bryan, Doug, and Janelle) there.  The students were great and the shows went extremely well…with the exception of one minor technical difficulty.  During our Nidan arrangement, a light fell from the ceiling and nearly landed on one of the students!  Fortunately, everyone was safe and the show went on.

Thanks to the Beattie Middle School PTSA and Staff for having us!  We had a blast and hope you enjoyed it, too.

Beattie Middle Cast Pic

As usual, the cast photo is pathetically banal.

Where's Doug

I know he’s out there somewhere…


The instruments pause to gather their composure before putting on a great show!




DSC_0149Hello TP blog followers! Audrey here reporting about the End of Asano Debt Celebration that took place April 5, 2014. After 12 years of making payments to the Asano Taiko company for our *awesome* set of taiko drums, TAIKOPROJECT made our final payment this month! To celebrate the occasion,  we had a small gathering comprised of our close friends, family, TP alumni, and TP supporters to look back on TP’s 14 years of creative work.

TP members met early to set up the tables, prepare all the delicious foods and beverages, and decorate the Higashi Honganji social hall with photo boards and memorabilia.
 An hour later, our practice space was transformed into a beautiful venue for our reception!


Ready for the guests!


Mmmmmm, get into mah belly.


Photoboard filled with TP memories

Hello Blaine. o_o

Hello Blaine. o_o


Making spam musubi


The guests began filing in soon after we finished setting up.  After a period of mingling and catching up with old friends, Jen started off the evening’s program by giving a warm welcome speech and recalled her memories of when she first joined 10 years ago. After her talk, we performed two songs: Obvious Designs and Kodama. So fun!


Sharing is caring!


A room full of family and friends


Obvious Designs















After our performance, speeches were given by Maz, Katsuji Asano, Rinban Ito, and Lisa. Each recounted their own unique experience and relationship with TAIKOPROJECT. Katsuji Asano congratulated us on paying off the debt and on all of TP’s success and looks forward to having future invoices with us in the future– of which there will be plenty more, I’m sure! We then made our way outside into the playground area where Courtney gave a sake toast which set the mood for what was to come next– the burning of the last invoice! Bryan then shared his gratitude to Asano Taiko and all of TP’s friends, family, and alumni for all the support they have given TP over the years. Without their support, this feat would not have been possible!


The guests listening to Courtney’s toast


Liz and her cute apron, and Kelvin… being Kelvin







But, alas, all good things must come to an end. After Bryan’s final speech, the guests began to say their goodbyes and started filing out while TP stayed after to clean up. Such a fun night filled with fond memories, laughs, and a lot of love. I feel very honored to have been able to be apart of such a momentous event in TP’s history. Congratulations, TAIKOPROJECT!


Yumi took some dessert goodness to-go hehe


TP hug! Until next time!


Good times!


David and Doug’s two-liter bottle showdown


Keiko sweeping up the competition


o hay kelvin


om nom nom bottle


And this concludes my account of the End of Asano Debt Celebration! Hope you enjoyed this photoful blog post!


Like the title suggests, TAIKOPROJECT has spent the past months preparing for our LifeRhythm Concert that will feature special guest Ryutaro Kaneko, former artistic director for Kodo.  We are about 17 days out from the show and things have been starting to get very real especially because we started using our risers that we will use for the show during practice.  It has been particularly difficult with our highest riser with a low ceiling, but we have been managing and luckily no one has suffered from any bonks of the head yet… knock on wood.  To get everyone excited for the LifeRhythm Concert on April 19th at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), we wanted to share some pictures from our last practice with you! We hope to see you there and if you haven’t bought your tickets there are only a few left so be sure to get your tickets today!! http://www.lacma.org/event/taikoproject




Setting up the kotos for Seiza


The usual Seiza set up…



Our full LACMA Seiza setup!!





Hi friends,

Sorry for the late blog post. I’m writing about a performance did for the Japanese American Bar Association. They invited us to perform at their Installation and Awards Gala on March 7th at the LA Omni Hotel. Violinist Ryu Goto was honored at the dinner and United States Congressman Mark Takano was a Keynote Speaker! Our job was to lead all the guests into the ballroom and get everyone excited about their fancy dinner!

Load-in was an adventure.We had to navigate our equipment through a labyrinth of hallways beneath the Omni hotel (Interesting stuff goes on underneath hotels….) Several wrong turns and an elevator that wanted to kill me later, we arrived. We set up on stage, got dressed, and inconspicuously made our way over to a corner overlooking the silent auction.

We yelled, we smiled, and we maneuvered our sling okedo around many successful lawyers. As we neared the stage, I started seeing lots of familiar faces: college friends, taiko friends, all kinds of friends!  It’s always nice to unexpectedly have loved ones in the audience. :) A couple sweaty songs later, we were done!

We packed up, retraced our steps through the underground maze, and drove the van back to Higashi. In the parking lot, Doug realized he may have left his camera at the hotel. :( We looked for a good 20 minutes before giving up to go eat and drink away our sadness at Oiwake in Little Tokyo. We came back, looked a little more, and found Doug’s camera! Yay. Then we took shadow pictures with Doug’s camera and someone used their arm to make it look like I have a giant tongue. The end.



image (1)



What’s good TAIKOPROJECT blog followers!  It is hard to believe that we are already 1/4 of the way through 2014!  Time is just flying by and we have been keeping very busy with practices and performances for these first few months.  Even though we are closing in on our LifeRhythm Concert with Ryutaro Kaneko, we still managed to make time to see and hangout with some of our taiko friends from the collegiate circuit, Stanford Taiko!!

Some of the members from Stanford Taiko made the trip down to Southern California for their spring break and this past Thursday they stopped by our TAIKOPROJECT rehearsal.  As many taiko groups know, eating and sharing food is probably the best way to break the ice and catch up with each other.  We had to show our guests some of the yummiest places to get food in Little Tokyo so we took them to a TP favorite, Kouraku!  Here are some photos from dinner courtesy of Darren!


Kouraku Dinner Time!


David says, “NOM NOM NOM!”

After dinner, TP and Stanford Taiko made their way back to Higashi to do a short master class and practice observance.  Stanford played two songs from their repertoire “Tatsumaki” and “Amaterasu” and then Bryan, Maz, and David gave a few notes for each of the songs.  It was fun to watch Tatsumaki because TAIKOPROJECT played an arrangement of Tatsumaki in our 2012 Rhythmic Relations show, so we understood the endurance (and the pain) that goes into that song.  Great work Stanford Taiko, it was fun watching you guys perform!


Setting up for “Tatsumaki”


A little more setting up…


Tatsumaki pt 1


Tatsumaki photo finish!!




Amaterasu, great extension!


David giving some notes on Amaterasu

After our short master class, Stanford Taiko got a little sneak peak of some of the songs we are working on for our LifeRhythm show.  It was great meeting you guys and we hope you enjoyed your time with TP!  Have a safe trip back up to Northern California and we look forward to seeing you at the Intercollegiate Taiko Invitational!


Stanford Taiko!!


Taikoproject and Stanford Taiko!

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