Odaiko New England

World Wide Wednesdays in Chelmsford

On July 29 ONE introduced its brand of high-energy, engaging and entertaining taiko to Chelmsford, MA for one of the town’s “World Wide Wednesdays” concerts.

It was a fun gig, rather like a combination of a Young Audiences show and concert. Mark started things off with some lively katsugi okedo playing, then the rest of us bounded into action for a joyous Shin-En. I had the opportunity to play chappa for it on this night, and I did my best to roam around the perimeter of the audience, jump, skip, frolic and generally look like I was having a grand old time. Actually I was enjoying the moment, so I didn’t have to act. That came later.

I should add that we rattled the rafters of the venue with one of our big-sounding, full-cast, all-hands-on-deck repertoire pieces – Mahora.

Mark, Juni & Kristen performed a chappa trio midway through the show, with delightful flourishes, crisp exchanges and inventive soloing. Usually Shigeru joins at the very end, adding to the comedic elements embedded in the arrangement. However, he wasn’t there this night… but I was.

Timing, goofy play-acting and a big pair of cymbals (trash can lids look great but don’t have much of a sound) are the prerequisites for the part. Since I’m already kind of goofy, big & ungainly I was halfway there. All I had to do was arrive at the right moment beaming a big, silly, eager smile. My countenance then morphed to perplexed when the others didn’t join me, then transitioned to sad. Just to add my own stamp on the performance, I gave the audience my best sad-puppy-dog-look and dejectedly ambled away. Kudos to Cat for suggesting I take the part in Shigeru’s absence, and to Mark for trusting I could make it happen. I think the audience got a real kick out of it.

After our spirited finale of Matsuri, we received a rousing standing ovation. Thank you, Chelmsford!

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