News & Performance page Archive pre-2008

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Updated Dec.29, 2007

While most of our group is learning new drills and polishing songs, two of our leaders are in Pasadena, getting ready for the Jan. 1 Rose Parade. Karen and Rome drove out Friday with a van full of drums. Read the new Odaiko Sonora blog and keep up to date on those happenings. Today, they got a sneak peak at the Venetian float!

Our next big gig is the Jan. 13 Family Arts Festival, where we'll be the finale group on the El Presidio Stage. We'll see you there!


Updated Dec. 15, 2007

From load-in, to setting and spiking the drum positions, to lighting tech and the cue-to-cue run through... this year's Southern AZ Taiko Showcase set a standard of professionalism for all the participants.

Left: Jacob & Nicole direct the massive equipment move.

Right:Odaiko Sonora & Suzuyuki-Kai MoGan Daiko rehearse Soran Bushi.

Below: OS performs one of two new
compositions about life in the desert.

The photos here are by OS member Tracy Baynes.

We want to thank all of you who braved the weather, the I-10 construction, and, for some, the long drive from Phoenix. You really do make it all happen!

Our founders now turn their sights to the Up With People opening sequence for the Jan. 1 Rose Parade in Pasadena, and other members will focus on the Jan. 13 Family Arts Festival. We'll see you there!


Updated Dec. 11, 2007

We're taking a much-needed rest this week in the wake of the Showcase concert. The hall was nearly filled despite damp, rainy weather and an untimely closing of the Speedway underpass. We want to thank everyone who helped make it happen, our many sponsors, contributors and volunteers, a hardworking crew of Odaiko Sonora member and member spouse volunteers, and, of course, our fellow performers from Fushicho Daiko, Phoenix Taiko Kai and Suzuyuki-Kai MoGan Daiko! Arigatou Gozaimashita and we'll see you in the New Year!


Updated Dec. 3, 2007

It's with a great "Whew! We made it through that!," we look back over the record-breaking schedule of fall activities and see the 4th Southern AZ Taiko Showcase is the last of 2007. This concert is our flagship event, however, and we've pulled out all stops to make it a night to remember! This Showcase's line-up reveals an unprecedented level of creativity and artistic quality for Odaiko Sonora. Two completely new songs, two new arrangements, and a new episode in the ongoing saga of "Ore No Da Be!" ("It's Mine!") will debut. All that in only 6 months!

[Tickets sale info]

Tucson Marathon 2007:

Dawn in the Catalina foothills was a chilly time to start drumming,but we know from past years that the runners appreciate the support. Five hours later, tired, but fulfilled,
we knew there is nobetter way to spend a day than creating
community and supporting people in their goals.


Updated Nov. 30, 2007

As much fun was had backstage at Thursday's World Percussion Night as in the audience. Nearly 80 drummers and dancers—from UA World Music Gang, Batucaxé, and Odaiko Sonora—gathered in the wings for their turn to thrill the packed house at Crowder Hall. A triumphant first concert of this kind! We thank Mike Vercelli of the UA Music Dept. for reaching out to and having faith in Tucson's community based percussion groups.

4th Southern AZ Taiko Showcase Dec. 9!

Tickets are now on sale at Antigone Books, 411 N. 4th Ave; Plaza Liquors, 2642 N. Campbell; Enchanted Earthworks, Plaza Palomino, Swan & Ft Lowell, or by calling toll-free 1-800-594-8499. Tickets are also available online at www.rhythmandroots.org. Or drop by our studio tonight (Friday) from 3:30–7:30pm, or tomorrow, Saturday, from 9am–2:30pm for tickets. Link to right has map/directions.

Members and understudies of
Fushicho Daiko, our older sister g
roup in Phoenix, work with Rome and
Karen on this year's Showcase finale.


Updated Nov. 28

We finished a wonderful two-day residency at Marana Middle School today. The program was sponsored by the Our Family Services School-Based Prevention Program and funded by a Tucson Pima Arts Council Rural Arts Project Grant. We worked with 8 classes of 7th & 8th graders, using our highly successful team-building curriculum, then gave a short performance in the school's courtyard.

Get a free sampler of Tucson's world percussion practitioners this Thursday at UA's Crowder Hall. The show will feature the UA World Music Gang, Batucaxé, and Odaiko Sonora. Download the flyer (357KB pdf).


Updated Nov.22, 2007

We wrapped-up a 5-week residency at DeGrazia Elementary with two presentations of the original taiko play, "Asako, The Girl Who Saved Her Village." Channel 13 did a nice little spot for us, helping fill the auditorium for the free evening show. The kids were fantastic! We're grateful to the incredible staff at DeGrazia and the Arizona Commission on the Arts for helping your tax dollars help us touch so many childrens' (and parents') lives.

Our most recent e-newsletter went out a couple of days ago. Read it if you didn't receive it. Make sure we have your correct contact info by clicking on the "join our mailing list" link to the right.

4th Southern AZ Taiko Showcase Dec. 9!

Tickets are now on sale at Antigone Books, 411 N. 4th Ave; Plaza Liquors, 2642 N. Campbell; Enchanted Earthworks, Plaza Palomino, Swan & Ft Lowell, or by calling toll-free 1-800-594-8499. Tickets are also available online at www.rhythmandroots.org.

Classes

In mid-Jan., we kick off a new 10-week session of Adult Recreational Taiko (ART), Taiko Youth Group (8-week, ages 12 and up), and a new Kids’ class (5-week, ages 8–12), based on our highly successful elementary school curriculum, and promises to get your kids active and learning about the culture and discipline of this compelling Japanese/J.A. art form. Click on the “Play Taiko” link after mid-Dec. to find out more about these and many other opportunities to play the big drums!

Kids and parents gathered hundreds
strong to hear the thrilling tale of
"Asako: The Girl Who Saved Her Village"


Updated Nov. 19, 2007

Our first El Tour de Tucson experience was incredible. We played for hundreds of cycling athletes and enthusiasts gathered the Tucson Convention Center's Grand Ballroom to honor Tatsuo Okada, founder of Ecoflag, a global network of sports enthusiasts dedicated to securing a healthy ecosystem for future generations. Here, we are pictured with Dr. Okada, Mayor Walkup and our friend Marilyn Goldstein.

Tuesday we wrap-up a 5-week DeGrazia Elementary residency with two presentations of the original taiko play, "Asako, The Girl Who Saved Her Village."

And though the Dec. 9 Showcase is high on our minds, we are excited to be one of three featured groups at the World Percussion Night on Nov. 29. Also, watch for our annual taiko marathon at Tucson Marathon on Dec. 2!


Updated Nov. 5, 2007

All Souls Procession weekend is over. It was a tremendous honor to participate in this unique and moving community ritual. Over 12,000 people gathered, meditated on and shared their expressions of grief. More importantly, they celebrated life. Local creatives pulled out all stops in bringing their ingenuity and color to the event. See photos and video at go.azstarnet.com/allsouls.

Though focused on the Dec. 9 Showcase concert, we have several exciting appearances before that. In fact, Nov. will be as busy as Oct. (the busiest month in our group's history!) Some highlights are our 1st year with El Tour de Tucson, the wrap-up of our 5-week DeGrazia Elementary residency, and being one of three featured groups at the World Percussion Night on Nov. 29. Also, watch for us as we do our annual taiko marathon for Tucson Marathon on Dec. 2!

Above: Rick and Sue walk with the
Odaiko Sonora cart.
Left: Click on
the photo or go to the Star photo
page
to see images of the event.


Updated Oct. 30, 2007

This is the week we've been waiting for! All Souls Procession weekend is nigh. This year, in addition to placing a taiko and player on the Urn Cart, we'll have a group pull a taiko cart behind, and give a full 15-20 minute performance at the Hotel Congress parking lot mid-procession. Read about all activities Nov. 1–4 by clicking on the link above, and join us Sunday evening to be part of this unique and moving Tucson community ritual. See the procession route.

Classes
As southern Arizona's oldest and most established taiko learning center, we always let you take your first class free. We want you to be sure that the physical and spiritual benefits of taiko are right for you!

We've scheduled a Kids' Taiko starting in January. The 5-week unit is based on our highly successful elementary school curriculum, and promises to get your kids active, learning about the culture and discipline of the art from, and having fun!

And starting Nov. 5, Youth Taiko happens each week on Monday from 4:30pm–5:45pm. This is an 8–week unit for ages 12 and up, with the last class happening on Thursday, Dec. 20.

Get final details and enroll by emailing karen@tucsontaiko.org.

Odaiko Sonorans at last year's
All Souls Procession. Look for us
this Sunday with the Urn cart
at the head of the procession.

Tai Chi and Yoga sessions continue at Odaiko Sonora SPACE . Click to see all the activities, including Poi spinning and Silks classes with Flam Chen and a new Drumming the I Ching session, based on on the work of Melinda Maxfield, happens each Wednesday at 2:30pm.

What impact can one arts group have on a community? Learn more about how Odaiko Sonora has touched people's lives by visiting our My Hometown Helper grant application comments page. We have been ovewhelmed by the beautiful words of support people have sent us. Arigatogozaimasu!


Updated Oct. 23, 2007

Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble shared their knowledge with us on Saturday, and then gave a great performance at Sierra Vista's Buena Performing Arts Center Monday night.

Next Saturday, Oct. 27, catch us at the Oro Valley ArtsFest at 10:45 am. And stay tuned to hear about a new relationships with Sunstone Healing Center, the YWCA and moreSomei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble shared their knowledge with us on Saturday, and then gave a great performance at Sierra Vista's Buena Performing Arts Center Monday night.

New classes are starting soon:
The Intro to Taiko class filled, but we've got a few other offerings. As southern Arizona's oldest and most established taiko learning center, we always let you take your first class free. We want you to be sure that the physical and spiritual benefits of taiko are right for you!

  • Taiko Power!
    Mondays, 6pm-7:30pm
    4-wk unit focused on identity, empowerment and expression for women and girls. Email rome@tucsontaiko.org if you are interested in joining this class.
  • Taiko for Life:
    Wednesdays, 1:00pm–2:15pm
    8-wk unit for seniors, with focus on energy, balance and flexibility
  • Youth Taiko Group:
    Mondays, 4:30pm–5:45pm, starting 11/5
    8-wk course for ages 12 and up

Read more on our Classes page

Nicole Raisin Stern did this water
color and several others during
last weekend's 4-gig spree.


Updated Oct. 21, 2007

Fabulous fun was had by all this Friday as Odaiko Sonora provided the soundtrack for Flam Chen's Japanese Ghost Story at the Fools' Hollow event downtown. Then, in keeping with our jam-packed schedule, we hosted Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble on Saturday. The group is passing through on their way to a Monday night concert at Sierra Vista's Buena Performing Arts Center, so we arranged a couple of workshops for the southern AZ groups.

Next Saturday, Oct. 27, catch us at the Oro Valley ArtsFest at 10:45 am. And stay tuned to hear about a new relationships with Sunstone Healing Center, the YWCA and more....


Updated Oct. 19, 2007

We just finished long day and night starting with over 100 elementary school students, and ending with a fully lit rehearsal of tonight's Fools' Hollow play. We're pooped, but invigorated, and can promise kids a great show tonight by the downtown library.  

Updated Oct. 15, 2007

Our four gig weekend is over and we're still alive and drumming. This week we'll be doing a small presentation at a seniors' center and starting a 5-wk residency at an elementary school. Taiko really does appeal to all ages! On that note, come try it yourself:

New classes are starting soon:
As southern Arizona's oldest and most established taiko learning center, we always let you take your first class free. We want you to be sure that the physical and spiritual benefits of taiko are right for you!

  • Thurs. 10/18
    Intro to Taiko:

    5-wk hands-on with history and cultural info to help you understand the art and practice of Japanese ensemble drumming
  • Mon. 10/22
    Taiko Power!

    4-wk unit focused on identity, empowerment and expression for women and girls
  • Wed. 10/31
    Taiko for Life:
    8-wk unit for seniors, with focus on energy, balance and flexibility
  • Mon. 11/5
    Youth Taiko Group:
    8-wk course for ages 12 and up

Read more on our Classes page

 

Odaiko Sonora got a standing ovation at the
Green Valley Recreation concert on Sept. 22.



Updated Oct. 13, 2007

We're incredibly proud of the Odaiko Sonora Community Group, who unveiled their first original song at Tucson Meet Yourself Friday night. That festival continues through the weekend, and we turningg to the UA Poetry Center Housewarming Festival (today. 4pm). If you've haven't seen the UA Poetry Center's new building, this event is a great opportunity to see one of the most unique and priceless gems in our country. The housewarming goes from noon to 5, with Odaiko Sonora playing at 4:15, and then drumming up a finale with Flam Chen. [class info followed]

Updated Oct.1, 2007

We're hunkering down for a mighty four-gig weekend starting on Friday, Oct. 12, 8:00pm with our 7th Tucson Meet Yourself. We'll be on the City Hall Stage at 8pm with the largest Odaiko Sonora Community Group to date! [class info followed]


Updated Sept 18, 2007

We're off and running this fall with a new Adult Recreational Taiko class on Saturdays and diligent preparation for upcoming performances. Our first full-length solo concert is Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Green Valley West Social Center, and Friday, Oct. 12 marks our founders' 7th Tucson Meet Yourself! This year's TMY performance will feature the largest Community Group yet—22 people—and their own arrangement of original rhythms by the British School of Tokyo's Moko Igarashi, one of our favorite taiko composers.

If you've ever wondered what impact Odaiko Sonora has had on the Tucson community, please check out our Hamburger Helper: My Hometown Helper grant application comments page. We put out a call to our e-list to help us with their input, and were astounded by the beautiful words people have entered. If you have a few moments, please read what people's comments, and add your own! Even if we don't get the grant (which will allow us to purchase additional instruments for our school programs), it was worth applying so we could hear back from the folks we've reached through taiko.

 

Nov. 4 is the 18th Annual All Souls
Procession. Above, a moment from
last year. You can just see the wee
taiko player on the Urn cart with her
white hachimaki. Become part of this
incredible community ritual by visiting
the www.allsoulsprocession.org.
Photo by Tracy Baynes.

Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga sessions continue at Odaiko Sonora SPACE . Click to see all the activities, including new poi spinning and silks classes through Flam Chen.

And last but not least, many many thanks to the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona for their recent support of Odaiko Sonora's programs through a 2007–08 Endowment for the Arts grant!


Updated August 23, 2007

We've had serious media coverage lately, including articles in the Tucson Citizen, Tucson Business Edge, and an AZ Daily Star Accent section front page photo essay on taiko construction by Jim David. You can link to all of the above via our News Room page, where you'll also links to video pieces past newsletters and news releases.

Speaking of video, we'll have a bit of our Taiko Ten performance up soon. Check back in a day or two. The conference was a fantastic time for all seven Odaiko Sonora members who attended. Our current newsletter says more.

New taiko classes begin in September. Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga sessions will continue to be offered by various instructors through fall. See a complete schedule of activities on our SPACE page.

Above: Summer Taiko Institute/North American Taiko Conference participants set lanterns adrift as part of Seattle's annual Hiroshima to Hope vigil, in remembrance of the victims of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Left: OS members pose with Oedo Sukeroku Taiko founders Saburo Mochizuki sensei and Grand Master Seido Kobayashi.

 

 


Updated August 5, 2007

This the week our Performing Ensemble Track/Members travel to Seattle for the North America Taiko Conference, where we'll have the honor of representing our region in the Taiko Ten concert. Rome, who is already in the great northwest, will join us at the conference after the Jodaiko tour. This incredible pick-up group of international women taiko players led by Tiffany Tamaribuchi, received three standing ovations at their sold out Vancouver Concert. This weekend, they'll play the Powell Street Festival, one of the oldest festivals of Japan in north America.

Current students will join the OS Community Group through the humid month of August, and new taiko classes begin in September. Flam Chen's six session beginning poi workshop starts Aug. 6 (email Nadia for details), and Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga sessions will continue to be offered by various instructors. See a complete schedule of activities on our SPACE page.

 

The Tucson Institute of Percussion Camp, led by Todd Hammes and Brian Harris, took place at Odaiko Sonora SPACE this June. Youth also took workshops from Batucaxé and Homero Ceron.


Updated July 9, 2007

We've just learned that Odaiko Sonora has been selected for the Taiko Ten concert at this year's North America Taiko Conference! The honor of representing our region is also an incredibly scary challenge. Our Performing Ensemble will be playing for an audience entirely comprised of taiko players, including some of the world's foremost practioners and teachers. Wish us luck!

Other big news is that we're conducting our first Taiko Intensive/Open Audition on the weekend of Aug. 17–19. Anyone with performing and/or martial arts experience who is interested in this streamlined path to becoming a candidate for the OS Performing Ensemble should download the INTENSIVE Guidelines (157K pdf) and cover sheet (69K pdf) or (45K Word doc). The deadline for receipt of application materials is July 30. [links to docs no longer active]

New taiko classes begin again in September. See a list of offerings on our classes page.

Rome (between Tiffany Tamaribuchi left, and Kristy Oshiro right) will take part in the second Jodaiko Pride in Arts concert inVancouver B.C. on August 1.

Flam Chen has added a six session beginning poi workshop starting Aug. 6. Email Nadia for details. See a complete schedule of activities, including tai chi and yoga classes on our SPACE page.

Updated June 29, 2007

We're excited to welcome Theatrical Mime Theatre to our family of Odaiko Sonora SPACE artists. They'll join Batucaxé , Funhouse Movement Theater and World Community of Arts Theater, as well as healing and martial arts instructors Tony della Croce, Julie Baron and Rob Ploger. Flam Chen will also be moving some of their activity inside from the parking lot to offer poi spinning classes and open spins. See a full schedule of activities on the taikospace group page. You need a Yahoo ID, or can sign up on the spot.

July 18 we'll be appearing at a truly unique, truly Tucsonan event: the new dinner/show series at Bistro Las Candelas. See the listing below for details.

Classes

Our 4-week summer ART (Adult Recreational Taiko) class begins July 7 at 2:30pm. Fall sessions begin just after Labor Day. See our classes page for full details.

 

Members of the American Society for Training and Development—Greater Tucson Chapter experience the joy of taiko team-building at Odaiko Sonora SPACE.

August will be quiet, with Performing Ensemble and Track Members heading to the North American Taiko Conference, touring with Sacramento Taiko Dan's Jodaiko, and attending the San Jose Taiko Weekend Intensive. The OS Community Group will continue its Saturday practice through the summer, and there are several new health & wellness offerings at the studio:

In July & August, Odaiko Sonora Wellness Coordinator Julie Baron is offering several new classes on a donation basis. Call Julie at (520) 256-9445 for information:

  • Qi Gong on Saturdays from 8:45–9:45am
  • Yin/Yoga Meditation, Sundays, 7:30–9pm
  • Community Yoga on Mondays, 6:00-7:30pm and Thursdays, 9–10:30am
  • July 26 & Aug. 9 Yin Vinyasa with Michelle Marks from 6–9pm

Taijichuan and Tai Chi on Sundays is ongoing:

  • Tony de la Croce from 8:30-10:30am, call (520) 795-0939
  • Rob Ploger from 11am–noon, call (520) 743-5259

Most of these are donation-based sessions, much of which goes towards keeping Odaiko Sonora SPACE running. We thank these teacher/practioners for their generous support of well-being on all levels!


Updated June 12, 2007

The Tucson summer surprised us this year, with several gigs including a team-building workshop and performing for a new dinner/show series at the fabulous Bistro Las Candelas. We'll also be teaching the week of July 2-6 at Fenster Ranch Camp, the longest running summer camp program in southern AZ!

Catch up with our latest E-newsletter,

Classes

Our 4-week summer ART (Adult Recreational Taiko) class begins July 7 at 2:30pm. Fall sessions begin just after Labor Day. See our classes page for full details. A full schedule of activities in Odaiko Sonora SPACE is also on the taikospace page. You need a Yahoo ID, and can sign up on the spot.

 

San Jose members relax before the show.

August will be quiet, with Performing Ensemble and Track Members heading to the North American Taiko Conference, touring with Sacramento Taiko Dan's Jodaiko, and attending the San Jose Taiko Weekend Intensive. The OS Community Group will continue its Saturday practice through the summer, and there are several new health & wellness offerings at the studio:

In July & August, Odaiko Sonora Wellness Coordinator Julie Baron is offering. Call Julie at (520) 256-9445 for information:

  • Qi Gong on Saturdays from 8:45–9:45am
  • Yin/Yoga Meditation, Sundays, 7:30-9:00pm
  • Beginning Yoga on Mondays, 6:00-7:30pm and Thursdays, 9:00-10:30am.

Taijichuan on Sundays in ongoing:

  • Tony de la Croce from 8:30-10:30am
  • Rob Ploger from 11am–noon
Updated May 22, 2007

The Showcase was an incredible success—probably our best yet—with over 450 people enjoying new and wonderfully diverse works by the three AZ groups and our guest artist San Jose Taiko. We thank all the many many people who helped make this year's concert such a success. Stay tuned for more photos.

But when taiko time is over, it always comes down to one thing: food. We chose, for our guests' gastronomical touring of Tucson, Bentley's, Taqueria Juanito's, Chu's Mongolian BBQ and Pastiche. Those, and a couple of trips to Trader Joe's and Sunflower Market, kept our guests happy and healthy.

Right: Yumi(?)'s hands, Franco, Pear, Roy and Meg with the top of Karen's head at the post-show chow down at Pastiche Modern Eatery, open and serving food till midnight! Not seen are Rome, Tiffany, Kristy, Yurika and Yumi.

Summer classes and workshops include a 3-week kids camp for ages 8-12, a special 5-wk Intro to Taiko class for Pima Community College, and the most popular of our classes, Taiko Power! for women. We'll also be appearing at the Tucson Percussion Institute's summer camp, run by the masterful Todd Hammes, and we will teach the week of July 2-6 at Fenster Ranch, the longest running summer camp program in southern AZ!

A full schedule of practices and classes by all of the groups using Odaiko Sonora SPACE is also on the taikospace page. You need a Yahoo ID, and can sign up on the spot.


Updated May 15, 2007

Showcase tickets are selling incredibly well; get yours now, before they're gone!

Tickets are now available online at www.rhythmandroots.org, by phone (800) 594-8499, or at the three outlets: Antigone Books, 411 N. 4th Ave; CD City, Campbell & Glenn; and Enchanted Earthworks, in Plaza Palamino at Swan & Ft. Lowell.

Need to tell someone about the show? Go to our Showcase page for downloadable poster.

 

Right: San Jose Taiko, this
year's special guest group.

Although we did not win the Tucson Pima Arts Award, we are happy to report that Raices Taller 222 received the award in our category. See all the LUMIE winners.

Summer classes and workshops include a 3-week kids camp for ages 8-12, a special 5-wk Intro to Taiko class for Pima Community College, and the most popular of our classes, Taiko Power! for women. We'll also be appearing at the Tucson Percussion Institute's summer camp, run by the masterful Todd Hammes, and we will teach the week of July 2-6 at Fenster Ranch, the longest running summer camp program in southern AZ!

A full schedule of practices and classes by all of the groups using Odaiko Sonora SPACE is also on the taikospace page. You need a Yahoo ID, and can sign up on the spot.


Updated May 10, 2007

We thank the National Association of Asian American Professionals who we hosted at Odaiko Sonora SPACE last night, and Vila Thai Cuisine for the fabulous food. Attendees met Victor Wong, the new Executive Director of theTucson Chinese Cultural Center (TCCC), were treated to a private performance by Odaiko Sonora, and got to try the big drums out for themselves.

The inaugural Asian Pacific Heritage Festival is this weekend, Sat., May 12, 4–7pm: at the TCCC. Read today's NW Exlorer article. The featival schedule:

  • 2pm–6pm Bamboo Society exhibit and sale, and ongoing gamelan music
  • 4pm Chinese Lion dance
  • 4:20 Odaiko Sonora
  • 4:45 Summer Thunder Chinese Music
  • 5:10 House of Dance Indonesian dancers
  • 5:35 Mari Kaneta - Suzuyuki-Kai Japanese Dance
  • 6:00 Sino Grace Chinese Dancers
  • 6:30 Na Wahine I Kanani O Tucson Polynesian Group
Download the APH Festival poster (1.4M pdf) or web graphic (190K jpg)

Although we did not win the Tucson Pima Arts Award, we are happy to report that Raices Taller 222 received the award in our category. See all the LUMIE winners.

Summer classes and workshops include a 3-week kids camp for ages 8-12, a special 5-wk Intro to Taiko class for Pima Community College, and the most popular of our classes, Taiko Power! for women. We'll also be appearing at the Tucson Percussion Institute's summer camp, run by the masterful Todd Hammes, and we will teach the week of July 2-6 at Fenster Ranch, the longest running summer camp program in southern AZ!

A full schedule of practices and classes by all of the groups using Odaiko Sonora SPACE is also on the taikospace page. You need a Yahoo ID, and can sign up on the spot.


Updated April 30, 2007

Showcase tickets are available online, or by calling (800) 594-8499. Showcase sponsorships and advertising are a great way to let people know you helped make it possible. The event attracts over 500 people interested in Asian arts and culture, world music, and who are generally adventurous. Download the event Fact Sheet (498K pdf), Ad Rates (572K pdf), Sponorship Opportunities (97K pdf), and write karen@tucsontaiko.org to find out more about how to make the Showcase work for your business and community. More Showcase info.

Upcoming Community Events: Here's a list of community events we're involved with or wish to promote.

  •  May 1, 11am:
    Tucson Pima Arts Awards Luncheon at the Doubletree
  •  May 9, 6pm:
    Nat'l Assoc. of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) Mixer at Odaiko Sonora SPACE
  •  May 12, 4-7pm:
    Asian Pacific Heritage Festival at TCCC. The inaugural year. Free! Download the poster (1.4M pdf) or web graphic (190K jpg)

We've posted the Star article on the Funhouse concert and Odaiko Sonora SPACE on our News Room page. You'll also find links to most of the past media coverage there. A full schedule of practices and classes by all of the groups using SPACE is also on the taikospace page. You need a Yahoo ID, and can sign up on the spot.

Summer classes and workshops are the theme. Odaiko Sonora has a 3-week kids camp for ages 8-12, and will also be doing the week of July 2-6 at Fenster Ranch, the longest running summer camp program in southern AZ! Email karen@tucsontaiko.org if you are interested in registering.

 


Updated April 24, 2007

Tonight, we'll be the 5-minute taste of the arts at UApresents' 2007-08 season announcement. It's a wonderful opportunity to play for people who support the arts and we're very honored to have been selected to represent local performing artists.

[Showcase ticket info]

Upcoming Community Events: Here's a list of community events we're involved with or wish to promote.

Drop by Odaiko Sonora SPACE, 1013 S. Tyndall where a newly installed info board tells you what's happening each week. A full schedule of practices and classes by all of the groups using SPACE is also on the taikospace page. You need a Yahoo ID, and can sign up on the spot.

Summer classes and workshops are the theme. Odaiko Sonora has a 3-week kids camp for ages 8-12, and will also be doing a week at Fenster Ranch, the longest running summer camp program in southern AZ! Email karen@tucsontaiko.org if you are interested in classes.

Above: Rebecca warms up in the green room with young dancers in the Funhouse Movement Theater concert, and, below, is vanquished.


Updated April 19, 2007

We are heartsick over the shootings at Virginia Tech. We ask people to take the time it takes to find peace with this tragedy, and to focus on what is good in their lives, what deserves perpetuating, and then work tirelessly to make that so. We ask that people not give in to fear and outrage, finger pointing or hopelessness. Work to make where you live a better place to be.

That said, one of our most dear gigs is coming up on April 21: The 5th Annual Japanese Speech Contest at PCC. We have played this event every year since it started, and feel like we've grown up together. This year we'll be at the new North Campus location.

[Showcase Info]

Upcoming Community Events: A quiet March led to an April and May that promise to keep us bustling. Here's a list of community events we're involved with or wish to promote.

[Odaiko Sonora SPACE invite]

[Summer classes and workshops invite]

Above: Team-building is fun and easy with drums, as these students and faculty have found in our third workshop for the UA Library.


Updated April 16, 2007

We'd like to thank Gerald Gay for his article in the AZ Daily Star on the new studio and the Funhouse Movement Theater concert. More news is that Odaiko Sonora has been nominated for a "Lumie," or Tucson Pima Arts Award in the Emerging Organizations category. The recipients will be announced at the Awards luncheon is May 1 at the Doubletree, but our fellow nominees are all so fabulous we already feel like winners just being on the list among them.

One of our favorite gigs is coming up on April 21: The 4th Annual Japanese Speech Contest at PCC. We have played this event every year since it started, and feel like we've grown up together. This year we'll be at the new North Campus location.

Showcase posters go up around town this week and tickets are available online, or by calling (800) 594-8499. Showcase sponsorships and advertising are a great way to let people know you helped make it possible. The event attracts over 500 people interested in Asian arts and culture, world music, and who are generally adventurous. Download the event Fact Sheet (498K pdf), Ad Rates (572K pdf), Sponorship Opportunities (97K pdf), and write karen@tucsontaiko.org to find out more about how to make the Showcase work for your business and community. More Showcase info. [links no longer active]

Upcoming Community Events: A quiet March led to an April and May that promise to keep us bustling. Here's a list of community events we're involved with or wish to promote.

  •  April 18, 3:30pm & 6:30pm: Author Cynthia Kadohata speaks about her book, Weedflower,  winner of this year's OneBookAZ children's selection. The book is set in the Poston internment  camp and deals with the forced relocation of Japanese Americans during WWII. The 3:30 talk is at  Himmel Library, and the 6:30 talk is at the Oro Valley Library.
  •  [Later Dates]

[Odaiko Sonora SPACE invite]

[Summer classes and workshops invite]

 


Updated April 2, 2007

We're gearing up for a weekend of FUN(house Movement Theater) at the PCC Center for the Arts. Odaiko Sonora will perform a medley of ocean-inspired songs as tribute to choreographer Lee Anne Hartley's "Hokusai Seascape," which was hailed as "visual poetry" by The Seattle Times. Student matinees are at 10:30am Thurs. and Fri., and evening shows are at 8pm Fri. and Sat. Call 206-6986 for tickets, $10 to $12 advance, $12 To $14 at the door.

Showcase sponsorships and advertising opportunities now exist for the May 9 Taiko concert. The event attracts over 500 people interested in Asian arts and culture, world music, and who are generally adventurous. Download the event Fact Sheet (498K pdf), Ad Rates (572K pdf), Sponorship Opportunities (97K pdf) [links no longer active]

[Upcoming Community Events]

[Odaiko Sonora SPACE invite]

[Summer classes and workshops invite]

 


Updated April 6, 2007

A relatively quiet March allowed us to catch up with things like gardening, soundproofing and ordering t-shirts. Drop by Odaiko Sonora SPACE, 1013 S. Tyndall to see our handiwork. A full schedule of practices and classes by all of the groups using SPACE is on the taikospace page. You need a Yahoo ID, and can sign up on the spot.

The Adult Recreational Taiko (ART) class on Saturdays from 12:15–2:15pm or Taiko for Life at 10am Mondays are the best times to drop by if you want to try playing. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org if you are interested in classes.

Right: Community Group, ART students and Performing Ensemble pose. Not pictured are Jared, Damien (in Vietnam right now!), Jane, Fran, Willie and Melinda. Tracy is, as usual, staffing the camera.


Updated April 2, 2007

We'd like to thank all those who joined up as Friends Of Odaiko Sonora this month: Brooks, Brian, Lynn, Alice, Esther, and Belinda. For just a few dollars a month, they are helping to ensure that Odaiko Sonora's programs, and our affordable arts incubator space may continue to serve southern Arizona.

[SPACE Calendar]

[ART class]

Left: A typcial ART class is overseen by Bugsy the Dog (lower right)


Updated March 19, 2007

We have raised $465, with one of those being a recurring donation! The badge at the right only registers donations that come in through clicking the orange button, so apparently people have found us through other means. Recurring donations mean a steady source of revenue to meet the operations costs that make our programs possible. Please consider checking the box for a recurring donation when you log on.

Six Degrees of Odaiko Sonora! Kevin Bacon has offered $10,000 matching grants for the organizations that can sign up the most online donations through Network for Good by March 31. Help us double your money in support of Odaiko Sonora's work in Southern Arizona and become a FOOS (Friend of Odaiko Sonora) at the same time! Just click here or on the badge at the right to sign up.[ed update: offer expired]

A serious milestone event came this month as we lifted the odaiko onto its new perch. The beautifully crafted stand was designed and built by Willie Robinson, who was pictured in our Jan. 22 news. We're thrilled and honored to have his handiwork to support our central instrument!

Saturdays begin at 9am with chi gung & yoga led by Wellness Coordinator Julie Baron. Taiko for Life, at 10am Mondays, has been so popular we've made it a weekly drop in at $15 a class, or $100 for an 8 class punch card.

As usual, email karen@tucsontaiko.org for info on classes. Plus, we love visitors! Drop by Odaiko Sonora SPACE, 1013 S. Tyndall any Wednesday from 6–8pm, Friday from 5–7pm, or Saturday from 10am–4:30pm to observe. Other groups currently using the facility are Batucaxe, Funhouse Movement Theater, Flam Chen, World Community of Art Theatre, and several others. If you're interested in rehearsal space, email Karen.

 


Updated Feb. 26, 2007

This past weekend Odaiko Sonora performed at the 23rd Matsuri: Festival of Japan in Heritage Park. We thank Fushicho Daiko and all of the Phoenix players for hosting the Taiko stage, and coordinating the All AZ Taiko demonstration each day, featuring a mind-boggling 50+ taiko players! Above, the Odaiko Sonora Performing Ensemble is joined by OS Community Group members Damien Huffer and Gail Bastian on Raku, a piece given to us by Shidara Artistic Director Chabo. Special guest Eileen Morgan of Fushicho Daiko appears on fue (stage right).

Lunar New Year festivities now come to a close and we resume the usual festivities. Saturdays begin at 9am with chi gung & yoga for taiko players, Community Group practice, ART (Adult Recreational Taiko) class, and Performing Ensemble Track practice. Our Monday morning seniors class, Taiko for Life, has been so popular we have decided to contiue it as a weekly class. If you are interested in learning to play taiko, email karen@tucsontaiko.org You can also just drop in at the Odaiko Sonora SPACE, 1013 S. Tyndall any Wednesday from 6–8pm, Friday from 5–7pm, or Saturday from 10am–4:30pm to observe.


Updated Feb. 22, 2007

We were thrilled to be able to attend the 2007 KODO Tour at the Mesa Arts Center's Ikeda Theater last week. We were also thrilled to discover that the theater's major donors are the parents of one of our taiko heros (Sandy Ikeda of Soh Daiko, New York) and an old friend of Karen's from her days as a Poetry Warrior!

Pictured below Sandy and Virginia, and below that, our own happy crowd of AZ taiko players surround Toni Yagami of Denver—from the left back row: Rebecca, Rome, Toni, Diane, Esther, Rosa Marie; and front left to right: Annie, Karen and Nicole.

This weekend, Feb. 24 & 25, please consider the road trip to Phoenix for the 23rd Matsuri: Festival of Japan in Heritage Park. Odaiko Sonora plays at 3:30pm Saturday, and 11am Sunday on the all taiko stage founded by Fushicho Daiko sensei Esther Vandecar.

With that, the Lunar New Year festivities come to a close, and we resume the usual festivities. Saturdays begin at 9am with chi gung & yoga for taiko players, Community Group practice, ART (Adult Recreational Taiko) class, and Performing Ensemble Track practice. If you would like to try an ART class, email karen@tucsontaiko.org You can also just drop in at the Odaiko Sonora SPACE, 1013 S. Tyndall any Wednesday from 6–8pm, Friday from 5–7pm, or Saturday from 10am–4:30pm to observe.


Updated Feb. 12, 2007

We get a steady stream of inquiries from people wanting to try taiko. If you're interested, email karen@tucsontaiko.org to arrange a visit and to sit in on aSaturday ART class. The class starts at 12:15, so come by Odaiko Sonora SPACE 1013 S. Tyndal by noon so we can get you set up as a guest.

In addition to 9am with yoga and chi gung for our students and members, we've added 8:30am Sunday tai chi. These sessions are a benefit of playing with Odaiko Sonora, and part of new programs being implemented by our Wellness Coordinator Julie Baron.

Yes, we are a busy bunch. Sign up for our email list to keep up-to-date!

Lunar New Year is Feb. 18, marking the start of the Year of the Pig! We continue to celebrate with appearance at the annual TUSD Lunar New Year concert on Feb. 16, and Tucson Chinese Cultural Center Open House on Feb. 17. The season rounds out on the weekend of Feb. 24 & 25, when we do one of our favorite gigs at the Phoenix Matsuri. The event is a 23 year tradition, and easily worth the roadtrip.

You may remember this unique moment at last year's Southern AZ Taiko Showcase.... Mark your calendars now for the 3rd Annual Showcase on May 19, with special guests San Jose Taiko. Read about them at www.taiko.org


Updated Feb. 2, 2007

The good news is Odaiko Sonora was nominated for an ASBA (AZ Small Business Association) AZ Companies to Watch Award. The not so good news is we're much smaller than they thought. The award goes to companies with at least 10 employees and a $700,000 budget. Fortunately, we seem to be doing well with about a tenth of those resources..., so we suggested ASBA start a Microbusiness to Watch Award in '08.

Meanwhile, we've been getting a number of inquiries from people wanting to try taiko. If you're interested, the best thing to do is visit our studio around noon on Saturdays, when you can try it out as our guest in the 12:15 ART class. Send a quick email to info@tucsontaiko.org letting us know which Saturday you'll be dropping by. Read about and get directions to the Odaiko Sonora SPACE at 1013 S. Tyndall.

Our taiko-filled Saturdays now begin at 9am with yoga and chi gung for our students and members. The Community Group practices at 10am, ART (Adult Recreational Taiko) is at 12:15, and the Performing Ensemble rehearses from 2:30–4:30pm. Sharing SPACE now are Funhouse Movement Theater, Batucaxe, World Community Theater, and several other arts groups. Contact karen@tucsontaiko.org if you are interested in a tour, or in booking time.

Shidara Artistic Director Chabo (left) was in Tucson this weekend. Her workshop tour has taken her from Shidara's showcase at APAP in New York City, to Minneapolis, and will continue to several other US sites before she and Megan Chao Smith return to Japan. After a rainy, cloudy, cold, rainbow laden first horseback trail ride at Walking Winds Stables, Chabo clowns with Karen at Micha's Mexican Restaurant.

Meanwhile, the lunar New Year is Feb. 18, so we're still celebrating the onset of the Year of the Pig! We'll be one of two groups appearing at this year's Pan-Asian Banquet on Feb. 10, will appear in the annual TUSD Lunar New Year concert on Feb. 16, and wil have the honor of performing a set at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center Open House on Feb. 17. The season rounds out on the weekend of Feb. 24 & 25, when we do one of our favorite gigs at the Phoenix Matsuri. The event is a 23 year tradition, and easily worth the roadtrip.

Updated Jan. 22, 2007

New classes are starting, and with them come new benefits for Odaiko Sonora members and students. Our long, taiko-filled Saturdays now begin with yoga and chi gung for taiko players. These sessions are free for our students and members through the generosity of one of our supporters, and make a perfect start to our practice.

We've settled on a name for our new home at 1013 S. Tyndall! It has been dubbed Odaiko Sonora SPACE (Secure Performing Arts Creative Environment). Whether you're a fan of acronyms or not, you'll have to admit SPACE was needed in Tucson, as its busy rental calendar proves. In addition to this past weekend's JAST Shinenkai celebration, the facility now hosts a variety of other activities and performing arts groups. The Brazilian percussion and dance ensemble, Batucaxe calls it home, and our 33' x 44' sprung wood dance floor serves Funhouse Movement Theater, choreographer Thom Lewis, and on occasion, groups such as NEW ARTiculations and World Community Theater. The SPACE will also host a new Creative Capital discussion group, public funding workshops, and ceremonies for graduates of Flam Chen poi spinning classes.

In the greater community, members of Odaiko Sonora have recently been involved in a feature film production, a TV commercial soundtrack, and a local musician's music cd. It's a busy time!

Meanwhile, it's still the start of the new year's gig season. We'll be one of two groups appearing at this year's Pan-Asian Banquet on Feb. 10, will appear in the annual TUSD Lunar New Year concert on Feb. 16, and wil have the honor of performing a set at the Tucson Chinese Cultural Center Open House on Feb. 17. The season rounds out on the weekend of Feb. 24 & 25, when we do one of our favorite gigs at the Phoenix Matsuri. The event is a 23 year tradition, and easily worth the roadtrip.

Our flagship event, the annual Southern AZ Taiko Showcase, will take place on May 19 at the Berger Center for the Performing Arts. This year's special guest is San Jose Taiko. Founded in 1973, SJT is the third oldest taiko group in the United States! It is an incredible honor to host this group, which has appeared at major venues such as Centennial Hall, Mesa Arts Center and the Popejoy in Albuquerque. Tickets go on sale March 1.

We intermittently send e-news to those interested in taiko. If you would like to be added to our email, contact karen@tucsontaiko.org.

New taiko enthusiast Willie Robinson applies a lifetime of carpentry and metalwork skills to making his first taiko. Besides a few bits of advice from Karen (who learned taiko building from Tony Trapasso, Stan Morgan, June Schumann and Mark Miyoshi), Willie mainly used the incredibly informative Stanford Taiko drum building manual.

As promised, there is a photo of the VERY VERY VERY cold Family Arts Festival performance up now on our Photo Archive page. More will come soon.


Updated Jan. 18, 2007

We'll have pictures up soon from our VERY (VERY VERY) chilly Family Arts Festival gig. Meanwhile, with the Lunar New Year comes a variety of other opportunities to see Odaiko Sonora perform. We kick off the celebrations this Sunday, Jan. 21, when we host the annual JAST (Japan-America Society of Tucson) Shinenkai at our new home, Odaiko Sonora SPACE, 1013 S. Tyndall. The event runs from 12:30pm till 3:00pm and will feature odori, taiko, origami, and the famous ozoni! Bring $5 and a dish to share.

Updated Jan. 3, 2007

Odaiko Sonora will open our new year of appearances at the Family Arts Festival on Jan. 14. We'll have a table set up all day, with hands-on activities and information on our programs and performances. With multiple stages and hundreds of booths, this annual celebration of the arts and culture of our region is one of Tucson's finest events. It's free fun for everyone, brought to you by the Tucson Pima Arts Council!

... [on to JAST and newsletter and Showcase.]

2006 Holiday Party
Sam and Katy, two of our summer parent/child taiko workshop students, vie for the title of Taiko Master de Tucson, while Murray cruises the snack tables in the background.


Updated Dec. 10, 2006

We completed the 5-week residency at DeGrazia Elementary in style this week with two concerts by 3rd through 6th graders. The students joined Odaiko Sonora performers, using taiko songs and narration to tell the story of Asako, a girl who saves her village from a great tsunami. See the play retold through images and text.

A couple thousand people were urged on to the finish at the Tucson Marathon today. After that, it looks like relatively quiet holiday season, which sounds lovely about now. Watch for us as we kick-off 2007 at the Family Arts Festival on Jan. 14, and check out new class offerings starting Jan. 20.

Save the date for our 3rd Annual Southern AZ Taiko Showcase on May 19. This year's special guest is San Jose Taiko. Stay tuned for more info. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org to join our mailing list.

It began with a quiz, but soon warmed up into one of the kids' favorite weekly activites. The quiz measured the success of the Odaiko Sonora instructors, and there was no question about the success of the kids! See photos.

Become a Friend Of Odaiko Sonora (FOOS!), and join us in efforts to provide the Tucson area with a secure incubator space for loud, large performing arts. Make your recurring monthly online donation through the Network for Good's secure interface, and help us meet our ongoing goals. You'll get a special invitation to the soon-to-become-an-annual-tradition: the FOOS-ball! Contact us if you have any questions about the online interface, or would prefer to send a donation via US Post.

Updated Dec. 4, 2006

What's up? We're wrapping up the 5-week residency at DeGrazia Elementary this week with two concerts by3rd through 6th graders. The students will join Odaiko Sonora performers, using taiko songs and narration to tell the story of Asako, a girl who saves her village from a great tsunami.

Then catch us at the Tucson Marathon on Dec. 10, when we'll be tanking up on Common Grounds coffee and drumming from dawn till noon. After that, it looks like relatively quiet holidays, and a big kick-off of 2007 at the Family Arts Festival on Jan. 14.

Last weekend, sensei Tiffany Tamaribuchi led three consecutive mind-blowing workshops for the various levels of players in our group. Odaiko technique, the Basics as no one but Tiffany sensei teaches them, and an raucous session with the Performing Ensemble and Track, channeling each person's own inner Jack-Sparrow/ Aragorn-The-Zombie-Killer-selves to make our performances something more for our audiences.

Make sure you mark the date for our 3rd Annual Southern AZ Taiko Showcase on May 19. This year's special guest is San Jose Taiko. Stay tuned for more info. Email karen@tucsontaiko.org to join our mailing list.

Sensei Tiffany Tamaribuchi was here whipping us into artistic shape Dec. 2! More photos


Updated Nov. 29, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving! This year has been full of challenges for Odaiko Sonora, and yet each challenge has held a gift. The greatest success is being realized now, as we settle into our new Taiko Space. With ample time and space, we can see how the group has thrived: organizationally, artistically, and, most importantly, as a team of individuals who love taiko.

Catch us at the Tucson Marathon on Dec. 10, when we'll be tanking up on Common Grounds coffee and drumming from dawn till noon. After that, it looks like relatively quiet holidays, and a big kick-off of 2007 at the Family Arts Festival on Jan. 14.

This weekend, sensei Tiffany Tamaribuchi will be in town providing intensive artistic guidance to our members and students, and our new 2006-07 Board of Directors will be meeting to articulate visions for the coming year.

Please note the new date for our 3rd Annual Southern AZ Taiko Showcase to May 19. And have a great Thanksgiving!


Updated Nov. 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving! This year has been full of challenges for Odaiko Sonora, and yet each challenge has held a gift. The greatest success is being realized now, as we settle into our new Taiko Space. With ample time and space, we can see how the group has thrived: organizationally, artistically, and, most importantly, as a team of individuals who love taiko.

After next week's Border Diversity Celebration, catch us all morning at the Tucson Marathon, Dec. 10. After that, it looks like relatively quiet holidays, and a big kick-off of 2007 at the Family Arts Festival on Jan. 14.

Please note the date change on our 3rd Annual Southern AZ Taiko Showcase to May 19. And have a great Thanksgiving!


Updated Nov. 10, 2006

Join us on Saturday, Nov. 11 from noon–5pm as we open our new space at 1013 S. Tyndall as part of the Tucson Pima Arts Council's fall Open Studio Tour. You'll see the weekly OS Community Group practice at 10am, the Fall Adult Recreational Taiko (ART) class at noon, and Performing Ensemble practice at 2pm.

On December 5, Odaiko Sonora completes its first five-week residency at DeGrazia Elementary School for kids grades 3-6. We're thrilled to be able to work with kids from our community, and share with them the great art of taiko!

Updated website features are our list of Classes, News Room, and the AZ Taiko Resource page. We have classes for kids and parents, youth, and adults.


Updated October 29, 2006

Just a reminder about fabulous news from our friends Terry and Mitch at the City of Tucson Channel 12: "Desert Drums," their documentary of Odaiko Sonora's first Southern AZ Taiko Showcase netted them an Emmy! Visit our newly updated News Room for a link to the video.

A new feature of the website is our AZ Taiko Resource page, listing other groups, classes and opportunities for the taiko-minded.

Our new space at 1013 S. Tyndall now sports a magnificent 33' x 44' sprung wood athletic floor. Please swing by on Saturday, Nov. 11 as we open the space to the public for the Tucson Pima Arts Council's fall Open Studio Tour. You'll see the weekly OS Community Group practice at 10am, the Fall Adult Recreational Taiko (ART) class at noon, and Performing Ensemble practice at 2pm. A new Taiko Power! 4-week unit begins Monday, Oct. 23. Email rome@tucsontaiko.org if you are interested in participating.


Updated October 17, 2006

The fall weather has our energy up and our optimism for another, even more fabulous performance season. Last week we played a beautiful fundraising dinner and celebration for the Tucson Botanical Garden's new Zen Garden and the opening of their phenomenal Butterfly Magic Exhibit. TBG is one of many of Tucson's world-class attractions. Don't miss the exhibit, which runs through Feb. 28, and stop in for your holiday shopping at one of the finest little gift shops in town.

On Friday, Oct. 13, we helped launch another grand tradition, the annual Tucson Meet Yourself community-wide celebration of Tucson's diverse cultures and communities. Odaiko Sonora's 25 minute set featured the OS Community Group, and a new original song by Rome, "Sanmukara," performed by the OS Performing Ensemble.

We continue moving in to our new space at 1013 S. Tyndall, and hope you'll swing by on Saturday, Nov. 11 as we open the space to the public for the Tucson Pima Arts Council's fall Open Studio Tour. You'll see the weekly OS Community Group practice at 10am, the Fall Adult Recreational Taiko (ART) class at noon, and Performing Ensemble practice at 2pm. A new Taiko Power! 4-week unit begins Monday, Oct. 23. Email rome@tucsontaiko.org if you are interested in participating.


Updated September 22, 2006

2006 will go down in Odaiko Sonora history as a year of great change. Fortunately, nearly all of it has been for the better! September will be our last month at ArtFare, 55 N. 6th Ave. We want to thank Tig Collins and the amazing ArtFare staff and volunteers for being there when we were in need, and for having such a vision of community-based art space. In October, we'll be moving to our new home: Beatspace [ed update: name changed later to Odaiko Sonora SPACE] at 1013 S. Tyndall. Till the floor is finished, we may be practicing on concrete, but we're home! Read our entire Fall 2006 newsletter online.

Our schedule continues as usual with the OS Community Group practice each Saturday at 10am, the Fall Adult Recreational Taiko (ART) class at noon, and Performing Ensemble practice at 2pm. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying. In addition to our regular schedule, we're offering a variety of classes designed to meet the needs of all kinds of people interested in learning taiko. See our list of classes for information.

A permanent home means even greater financial challenge. Please consider helping Odaiko Sonora secure our home and offer this accessible, community based incubator space for loud, movement based performing arts by making an online donation through the Network for Good's secure interface. We encourage you to select the option for recurring monthly donation, knowing that for ten dollars a month (less than a couple of tall mocha lattes) you can help us make taiko available for people to learn and enjoy for years to come.


Updated July 11, 2006

Prepare yourselves for one of the most extraordinary events in Tucson performance history. On Saturday, August 26, Shidara premieres at the intimate Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Ours is the second stop on the world class taiko group's first U.S. Tour, and already, the buzz has gone national. Read all about the group at shidara.co.jp/eshidara. Their visit includes a master workshop for regional taiko players on Sunday, Aug. 27. Concert tickets are now on sale at www.rhythmandroots.org or by calling 297-9133. Information on the workshop is available by contacting us at info@tucsontaiko.org. Download images, bookmarks, postcards, posters and the news release.

Summer '06 continues at ArtFare, 55 N. 6th Ave, with Community Group practice each Saturday at 10am, the July ART class at noon, and Performing Ensemble practice at 2pm. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying. After July, many OS members will attend trainings such as Taiko—Awakening the Spirit in Crestone, CO, and Grass Valley Taiko Camp, and Rome and Karen will attend an intensive training session in Sacramento before they embark on the first Jodaiko tour in early August, to Seattle and Vancouver BC.

The effort to find a permanent home and establish a Tucson taiko and performing arts space is going strong. We have identified a building for purchase and are walking through the contract procedures. Please help us ensure that Tucson has an accessible, community based incubator space for loud, movement based performing arts by making an online donation through the Network for Good's secure interface. We encourage you to select the option for recurring monthly donation, knowing that for ten dollars a month (less than a couple of tall mocha lattes) you can help us make taiko available for people to learn and enjoy for years to come.


Updated June 6, 2006

Our May 5 Showcase was an outstanding success. Nearly 400 audience members thrilled to the power and beauty of guests Mu Daiko, Tiffany Tamaribuchi, and our own Arizona taiko groups, Fushicho Daiko of Phoenix, Suzuyuki-Kai Taikoza, and, of course, Odaiko Sonora. Since then, we've been tying up loose ends and sending thanks to supporters, such as Benihana Tucson, Mcfadden/Gavender Advertising, and the organizations that regrant your public dollar: Tucson Pima Arts Council and Arizona Commission on the Arts.

We've also spent time visioning for the future and have a new class structure and schedule. In June and July we are running 4-week Adult Recreational Taiko (A.R.T.) intro units from noon-2pm. Each unit costs $60, and you can sign up for one or both. After taking one to three A.R.T. units, students qualify to join the Odaiko Sonora Community Group. The Community Group has Performing Ensemble instructors once a month, and is otherwise led by members of the Performing Ensemble Track. Membership in the Community Group is $52 per month. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying.

Other important news is that we must vacate our studios at Ortspace by July 1. We will be relocating to ArtFare at 55 N. 6th Ave while we research options for purchase or longterm lease of a suitable space. Please help us ensure that Tucson has an accessible, community based taiko dojo by pledging an ongoing online donation through the Network for Good's secure interface. Select the option for recurring monthly donation, and know that for a few dollars a month (maybe the cost of a decent latte) you can help us make taiko available for learning and enjoyment for years to come.

Odaiko Sonora's Community Group

Odaiko Sonora leads ongoing taiko classes for those interested in trying this wonderful art form for themselves. Early students dubbed themselves the "Tucson Taiko Juku," and the name has stuck. Every Wednesday and Saturday, students of the Odaiko Sonora Tucson Taiko Juku meet to learn, drum, and play together. There are currently three levels: Intro, 101 and 102. At least twice a year, students perform in a large public venue such as Tucson Meet Yourself or the Family Arts Festival.

Our Intro unit is a 6-8 week course on Wednesdays at 6:00pm-7:30pm. ono Saturdays, Taiko 101 meets from 10:00am to noon. From noon to 1:00pm the Skills, Drills & Thrills Workout is open to all levels. Taiko 102 meets from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and is geared for students who have been studying 18 months or longer. If you think taiko is fun to watch, you should try playing! Classes are $52 per month, which includes intermittent Extra Taiko Monday nights, and the Saturday Thrills, Drills & Skills Workout.

If you're interested in joining the OS Juku, please email us. Or, just drop by a class and check it out for yourself! Classes take place at OTO Dance, 121 E. 7th St. in Tucson's downtown warehouse district. Classes are open to the public, so please stop by anytime between 10 and 3:00pm on Saturdays.

Why "Tucson Taiko Juku?"

The "Tucson Taiko" part is probably self-explanatory, "Juku" maybe less so. In Japan, middle school students have to take extremely difficult exams before entering high school. If they do well, they go to a good school, which translates into a good college, which translates into a good job, financial success, etc. If they don't do well, they go to a low-level vocational high school, which translates into a poor college (if any college at all) and less money over their lifetimes, etc. (As if the Middle School years weren't already tough enough!) Similar tests are given at the end of high school, to place the students in college.

Because these tests are so important to where kids end up in life, people place a great deal of importance on them. Many kids spend a full day at their regular school, participate in their after-school sports, then pack up their backpacks and head straight to a cram school where they spend hours studying for these tests. These cram schools are called "juku." Studying taiko, of course, is a lot more fun than preparing for a test!


Updated April 17, 2006

We drawing close to this year's Southern Arizona Taiko Showcase on Friday, May 5 at the Leo Rich Theatre. Not only is it Cinco de Mayo, it's the Japanese holiday of Kodomo No Hi, or Children's Day. There'll be special rates for kids, and blocks of tickets that include kids. Call Karen for information at (520) 481-8003.

At this year's Showcase, we'll be joined again by Fushicho Daiko of Phoenix and Suzuyuki-Kai Taikoza of Tucson's, the taiko ensemble within Arizona's only Japanese classical dance, or odori school. Our special guest is Mu Daiko of Minneapolis. And be prepared for a surprise guest! Read the full news release. Download the flyer (220kb pdf).

This year's show is sure to be great fun, so get your seats now. Tickets are general admission, $17 advance and $19 at the door, and are available at Antigone Books - 411 N. 4th Ave; CD City - Campbell & Glenn; Enchanted Earthworks - Plaza Palomino, Swan & Ft. Lowell; online at www.rhythmandroots.org, or by calling 800 594-8499.

As mentioned above, there are special blocks of tickets for kids, underwritten by individuals and local businesses. Sponsorships are available if you'd like to help kids and lower income community members attend the show. Also, if your a kid-oriented nonprofit, we'd like to invite you to put your organization's materials in the lobby for the audience to read before the show and during intermission. [links no longer active]

Saturday practice schedule continues with Beginning Taiko at 10am till noon. At noon, we do the ever-sweaty Skills, Drills, and Thrills Workout, and from 1pm till 3pm is the Community Group practice. Classes and rehearsals are open to observers and potential students. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying. Here's the very hefty schedule of Odaiko Sonora appearances:


Updated March 21, 2006

Happy Equinox! We're deep in preparations for this year's Southern Arizona Taiko Showcase. The show is Friday, May 5 at the Leo Rich Theatre. Not only is it Cinco de Mayo, it's the Japanese holiday of Kodomo No Hi, or Children's Day. There'll be special rates for kids, and blocks of tickets that include kids. Call Karen for information at (520) 481-8003.

At this year's Showcase, we'll be joined again by Fushicho Daiko of Phoenix and Suzuyuki-Kai Taikoza of Tucson's, the taiko ensemble within Arizona's only Japanese classical dance, or odori school. Our special guest is Mu Daiko of Minneapolis! This year's show is sure to be great fun, so get your seats now. Tickets are general admission, $17 advance and $19 at the door, and are available at Antigone Books - 411 N. 4th Ave; CD City - Campbell & Glenn; Enchanted Earthworks - Plaza Palomino, Swan & Ft. Lowell; online at www.rhythmandroots.org, or by calling 800 594-8499.

As mentioned above, there are special blocks of tickets for kids, underwritten by individuals and local businesses. Sponsorships are available if you'd like to help kids and lower income community members attend the show. Also, if your a kid-oriented nonprofit, we'd like to invite you to put your organization's materials in the lobby for the audience to read before the show and during intermission.

Saturday practice schedule continues with Beginning Taiko at 10am till noon. At noon, we do the ever-sweaty Skills, Drills, and Thrills Workout, and from 1pm till 3pm is the Community Group practice. Classes and rehearsals are open to observers and potential students. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying. Here's the very hefty schedule of Odaiko Sonora appearances:


Updated February 22, 2006

So, what do you get when you cross Western New Year, Lunar New Year, Tucson’s high season for tourists and visitors, and a group of people who will play taiko any time of the day or night? You get our winter/spring schedule! Just like this time last year, we're performing every weekend, and sometimes twice in a weekend! Now is a great time of year to catch your local taiko-za in action!

We’re also in the middle of rehearsals with Fuschicho Daiko for Matsuri: A Festival of Japan, to be held in Phoenix's Heritage Square Park on Saturday and Sunday Feb. 25 and 26. This year, Fushicho has arranged some real treats for taiko fans. First, there will be an entire taiko stage for both days of the festival. Odaiko Sonora will appear there on Sunday at 11:00am-ish. In addition, Karen and Rome will join Fushicho for several songs during their set on Saturday. The best part, though, is sure to be the Shutsujin Spectacle. Thanks to Esther Vandecar and her generosity with sharing her musical knowledge, many of the taiko players in both Phoenix and Tucson know the Suigun Daiko song Shutsujin. About 30 of us will perform this song at 12:20 on both days of Matsuri. It's sure to be amazing. We've worked out a special arrangement of the song that should leave the crowds cheering, so be there or be... missing it!

On another note, we're deep in preparations for this year's Southern Arizona Taiko Showcase. The show will be Friday, May 5 at the Leo Rich Theatre. We'll be joined again this year by Fushicho Daiko and Suzuyuki-Kai Taikoza. Our special guest is Mu Daiko of Minneapolis! This year's show is sure to top last year's in terms of grandeur, excitement, and musicality... you won't want to miss it! Email karen@tucsontaiko.org to join the OS e-mail list and be notified as soon as tickets go on sale.

Saturday practice schedule continues with Beginning Taiko at 10am till noon. At noon, we do the ever-sweaty Skills, Drills, and Thrills Workout, and from 1pm till 3pm is the Community Group practice. Classes and rehearsals are open to observers and potential students. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying. Here's the very hefty schedule of Odaiko Sonora appearances:


Updated January 13, 2006

This fall we completed our first staff and Board Strategic Planning process facilitated by an Arizone Commission on the Arts consultant, AND drafted our first formal business plan through the excellent guidance of the Microbusiness Advancement Center. These things may not sound as thrilling as a live taiko performance, but the plans will help to ensure the continued health of Odaiko Sonora and community access to our services. Our first fundraising drive—an 11th hour 2005 tax-deduction opportunity—raised $3,050, establishing the Odaiko Circle donor level, that will support the purchase of a permanent home. We hope for our future building to support a variety of taiko classes for all ages and ability levels, as well as becoming a home for other Asian art forms and drumming traditions. If you are interested in supporting the future "Tucson Taiko Center," please contact Karen Falkenstrom, karen@tucsontaiko.org, (520) 481-8003.

Another very exciting note is that our 2006 Southern Arizona Taiko Showcase date and guest taiko group have been confirmed! The concert is set for Friday, May 5, at the Tucson Convention Center Leo Rich Theatre, and will feature Mu Daiko from Minneapolis. Tickets will be available soon. If you wish to be notified when tickets go on sale, please contact Karen (see contact info above).

Saturday practice schedule continues with Beginning Taiko at 10am till noon. At noon, we do the ever-sweaty Skills, Drills, and Thrills Workout, and from 1pm till 3pm is the Community Group practice. Classes and rehearsals are open to observers and potential students. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying. Here's the very hefty schedule of Odaiko Sonora appearances:


Updated November 8, 2005

Our fall gig season started unusually early and ended unusually busy as we performed 4 times in one weekend, Nov. 4-6. It began with a 3-day run at the gorgeous Stevie Eller Theater on the UA campus, where we premiered a suite of pieces in collaboration with OTO Dance Artistic Director Annie Bunker and several of her dancers. Sunday evening, we processed with the huge, flammable urn in the All Souls' Procession, in which several thousand people gathere to celebrate community and collectively mourn the many things worth mourning for in this world. Odaiko Sonora created the soundscape for the finale at the Franklin Street Docks, while performers were hoisted through the air to the stage by a gigantic crane. Then the urn, which had served as a collection vessal for paper prayers and memorials through the length of the procession, was ignited and lifted high above the stage, where it burned down to its wire frame. We thank Flam Chen, Many Mouths One Stomach, City of Tucson Parks & Rec., and the many volunteers and thousands of our community members who made the event such an incredible experience to be part of!

Our new Introduction to Taiko class on Wednesdays, 6:00pm-7:30pm, is in full swing. Saturday practice schedule has changed slightly, with Taiko 101 beginning at 10am and going till noon. At noon, we do the ever-sweaty Skills, Drills, and Thrills Workout, and from 1pm till 3pm is Taiko 102. Classes and rehearsals are open to observers and potential students. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying.


Updated October 21, 2005

We're catching our breath from an unusually full (although it may be usual in the future) beginning of the gig season. We've started a new Introduction to Taiko class on Wednesdays at 6:00pm-7:30pm. Registration is still open! Call 481-8003 if you're interested.

Our Saturday practice schedule has changed slightly, with Taiko 101 beginning at 10pm and going till noon. At noon, we do the ever-sweaty Skills, Drills, and Thrills Workout, and from 1pm till 3pm is Taiko 102. Classes and rehearsals are open to observers and potential students. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying.


Updated September, 2005

Grants, grants and more grants!

At least, that’s what we hope! We did quite well in the AZ Commission on the Arts and Tucson Pima Arts Council grant rounds this year, winning General Operating Support and Project grants from both organizations. The biggest challenge we now face is administrative capacitthere’s plenty of demand for taiko in Tucson, we just need the human resources to meet that demand! We’ve begun an intensive spate of grant-writing to fund staff that will guide the group in our next stage of growth and assure we’re here to provide taiko to Southern Arizonans for years to come. We’ll also be engaging in a strategic planning process with our board of Directors and an outside consultant this fall.

Summer’s finally drawing to a close, and it’s been a busy one. Gigs lasted well into late June, and July was taken up with our strongest ever showing at the North American Taiko Conference. Seven Tucson taiko players attended this weekend of workshops and concerts, and we all came away enthused and doubly dedicated to this fabulous art form. Karen and Rome had their first intensive training session with Tiffany Tamaribuchi, preparing for future performances as part of her traveling ensemble, JoDaiko. Four of our members will be attending the San Jose Taiko Intensive in November, further increasing their skills and the level of taiko performance we provide.

The busy gig season is set to kick off with a short set at the Lesbian Looks Film Festival later this month. Tucson Meet Yourself, always a fun place to play, is a couple weeks later. Be sure to head out to TMY for your funnel cake and taiko fix!


Updated May 24, 2005

Obviously, Tucson is ready for taiko! The first ever Southern Arizona Taiko Showcase on May 20 was a smashing success. Nearly 400 extremely enthusizastic people filled the Berger Performing Arts Center on the ASDB campus. There was diversity to the offerings of the four groups--Odaiko Sonora/OS Tucson Taiko Juku, Suzuyuki-Kai Taikoza, Fushicho Daiko of Phoenix, and our special guests from Sacramento--that included dance, black light theater, and a mighty odaiko solo by the inestimable Tiffany Tamaribuchi. All in all, we managed to sqeeze about 20 hours of intense taiko practice and performance into two and a half days! And we're looking forward to the next one!

If you haven't visited them yet, some newer features on the website include a complete gig history, a timeline of Odaiko Sonora's milestone events, and a web gallery. Karen still hasn't quite figured out how to label the images yet, but its basically chronological. The latest addition is a video (note: it is 51mb, but should open in a new window) of us playing at the 3rd Annual Pima Community College Japanese Speech Contest on April 9. The song is Shutsujin, taught to us by Esther Vandecar of Fushicho Daiko, and given to her by Iyonokuni Suigun Daiko.


Updated April 26, 2005

Be sure to get your tickets for the first Southern Arizona Taiko Showcase on May 20! The event is gearing up to be one of the most unique locally produced concerts of the year. Tamaribuchi sensei has confirmed that she'll be bringing down the large hira-daiko pictured below, and Fushicho Daiko is polishing up some surprises. Meanwhile, our friends and fellow Asian music practitioners, Sruti: Music of India and Fine Stream Gamelan: Music of Indonesia have organized a tsunami benefit on May 12. Three of our former taiko students will be performing, so there'll be a strong taiko contingent at the concert. We hope you'll consider attending also, and supporting relief efforts of the beneficiary, World Care. Visit www.cricketheadInn.com/tsunami.html for more information on the benefit event.

Some newer features on the website include a complete gig history, a timeline of Odaiko Sonora's milestone events, and a web gallery. The latest is a video (note: it is 51mb, but should open in a new window) of us playing at the 3rd Annual Pima Community College Japanese Speech Contest on April 9. The song is Shutsujin, taught to us by Esther Vandecar of Fushicho Daiko, and given to her by Iyonokuni Suigun Daiko.


Southern Arizona Taiko Showcase

It's a first for our region! Tiffany Tamaribuchi and the Sacramento Taiko Dan will top the bill with Fushicho Daiko, Suzuyuki-Kai Taikoza, Odaiko Sonora, and the Odaiko Sonora "Tucson Taiko Juku." Read the news release. Tickets are $14 in advance and are available at:

  • Antigone Books - 411 N. 4th Ave.
  • Brew & Vine - Oracle & Ina
  • CD City - Campbell & Glenn
  • Enchanted Earthworks - Plaza Palomino, Swan & Ft. Lowell
  • Yamato Japanese Restaurant, 857 E. Grant
  • and on online at www.rhythmandroots.org

Our Saturday practice schedule continues with Taiko 101 from 1 to 3pm, the open Skills, Drills, and Thrills Workout from 3 to 4pm, and Taiko 102 from 4 to 6pm. Classes and rehearsals are open to observers and potential students. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying.


Updated March 2005

We calculated (because Karen is rather obsessive that way) that from Feb. 1 to March 4 we have spent 102 hours on taiko-related activities, and that in January, February and March there are only 3 weekends on which we did/do not have performances! Not that we're complaining, but that does average out to almost 4 hours a day on top of our jobs and laundry and the yard. Not that Karen's keeping up with those....

Yoshikazu Fujimoto and Masami Miyazaki of KODO/KASA were here on March 2. The 29 people in the workshop learned (or did their best to learn) Yamada Hannya Bushi. The next day we drove our guests down to San Xavier, walked through the mission, hiked up the little hill to the east, and ate frybread with honey and sugar from Thelma's stand. A roadrunner came close and posed for photographs. Then we drove up to Phoenix for the equally well-attended workshop in which Fujimoto-sensei sensei taught us Wachi Daiko, a song in the drumming style native to his hometown, a small town north of Kyoto.


Updated February 2005

The benefit on January 22 raised $4300 for International Red Cross and Save the Children tsunami relief efforts. We thank Flam Chen and Krispy Kreme for helping make it happen. Meanwhile, gig season roars along as the Lunar New Year approaches.

We've had a number of requests for new classes and have planned a five Saturday entry level course designed to introduce folks to the basics of this taiko. The course begins Feb. 12 and continues through March 19. There will be no class Feb. 26, although students will be invited to join the carpool up to Phoenix for the annual Matsuri: A Festival of Japan.

On March 2, Odaiko Sonora will welcome Yoshikazu Fujimoto and Masami Miyazaki of KODO to Tucson! These international taiko stars will offer a special taiko workshop that night, teaching a style of drumming native to Fujimoto-sensei's hometown. The workshop will run from 6-9:30 PM on 3/2. Registration can be yours for the ganga price of $40, with a $5 discount if you provide your own drum. These workshops are open to anyone with some previous taiko experience. Don't miss your chance to study with one of the founder of KODO! Email us to register.

The date for the first Southern Arizona Taiko Showcase has been changed to May 20. Tiffany Tamaribuchi and the Sacramento Taiko Dan will top the bill along with Fushicho Daiko, Suzuyuki-kai Taiko-za, and Odaiko Sonora and its "Tucson Taiko Juku". Tickets will go on sale in about a week, and will be $14.

Our Saturday practice schedule continues with Taiko 101 (Beginners) 1 to 3pm, the open Skills, Drills, and Thrills Workout from 3 to 4pm, and Taiko 102 (Intermediate) from 4 to 6pm. Classes and rehearsals are open to observers and potential students. Contact us if you are interested in observing or studying.