On Saturday, May 14, 2011 Odaiko New England hosted our annual Spring Thunder Festival at Concord-Carlisle High School in Concord, MA. The Spring Thunder Festival is a Showcase/Recital that performs two primary functions: it allows students who have been learning songs a chance to perform in public and it brings together local groups to meet each other and experience each others performances. In the photo below ONE members perform Mahora, a song composed by K. Fujii and inspired by the powerful and everlasting flow of the Hidaka river, Ryujin-mura, Japan.
While this is a regular event for us, there were many aspects to this year’s show that were different from previous years. Most notably, this show was produced by our new Artistic Director, Juni Kobayashi. Our previous Artistic Director, Mark H Rooney, has relocated to Washington D.C. and was not able to join us. We missed having him, but we feel Mark was in a way present at this event embodied in the new three foot diameter hira daiko that he just completed for the group. Below you can see ONE members surrounding the new drum Mark made for us; we are all trying to get a hit in simultaneously.
Odaiko New England’s classes have grown a lot over the last few years and it was very apparent at this show. In addition to Odaiko New England Members, there were performances by the ONE Recreational Taiko Class, the ONE Styles Class, and the Concord-Carlisle Adult & Community Education (CCACE) Taiko Class. The Recreational and CCACE classes include students who have been playing for as little as a few months whereas the Styles class consists of more experienced students who have been playing for at least a numberswiki.com
In the photo below the ONE Styles class is playing the piece they worked on this semester over the last 16 weeks, Yatai Bayashi. This is a very challenging piece and learning it in 16 weeks is a huge accomplishment.
In the photo below the Concord-Carlisle Adult & Community Education (CCACE) Taiko Class is playing Hiryuu Sandan Gaeshi. Hiryuu is a piece created from traditional Osuwa rhythms by Daihachi Oguchi. The song calls upon the dragon gods to come to earth three times to bless mankind with peace, prosperity, and good fortune.
In the photo below the ONE Recreational Taiko Class is also playing Hiryuu San-dan Gaeshi. It may have been the second performance of the piece that night, but the Rec Class delivered an energetic reprise.
Before the last song of the night we had a round of Audience Participation (AP). The AP, as always, was a big hit (pun intended). We had in excess of 30 drums at the show, which made for quite the cacophony at times…everybody was pretty eager to get a chance to make some noise. The performance ended with all the groups together playing Kokyo, which is a piece Mark H Rooney learned from Sensei Sasa of Wakahaya Taiko in Shimodate, Ibaraki Prefecture. After the show there was a potluck reception where the audience and performers got a chance to mingle. There was plenty of good food and good conversation to go around. As with previous years, the Showcase was a lot of fun and a big success!