Archive for November, 2008

St. Cloud, MN

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Kelvin and I made it! Three days and almost 2,000 miles driven! That’s a lot. They should have frequent driver miles. Like get a free tank of gas every 1,000 miles driven or something…

Today, we had a great lecture/demonstration for kids here in the St. Cloud area and later on for the university students at the College of Saint Benedict Saint John’s University’s Humphrey Theater where we’ll be performing tomorrow evening at 8pm. So far everyone who has helped us with this residency has been awesome! Thank you so much!

Kelvin and church

Kelvin in front of church

After lunch, Kelvin and I checked out the gigantic church on campus. It was awesome! Really interesting architecture and stained glass. Here is a picture of the front of the church. Can you see Kelvin?

We had a fun time back at the hotel where we played basketball and pool, went to a nice Greek dinner, played some ping pong, and now I’m writing this post while watching the Lakers and Kris sleeps. We’re finally getting some well deserved R & R. Whew!

Grand Island, NE

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Hello all,

Kelvin and I drove about 12 hours today to Grand Island, NE! I smell nothing but cows out here and see nothing but prarie. The scary part of the drive through the Rockies is over though, so I’m glad. At the beginning of the year when we were driving back from NY, I spun out driving through there. We were driving like 25 miles an hour for loooong time. This time it wasn’t nearly as bad, but I was still stressed out.

We also have been stopping at these random diners where they have this IQ test game at each table. Kelvin was able to get two left and me three. Does anyone know the strategy for this game?

Maybe by the end of this tour, we’ll get it… this picture was taken with my phone, so sorry for the bad quality, but you get the picture right? You’ve played this game right?

Shamisen wrap-up

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Wow, what a week! The concert and the natori ceremony are complete! More than anything, the support of friends and On members has been very, very special to me.

Natori plaque

Natori plaque

Thank you to Hiromi Ashmore for all the help organizing lessons for Sensei while I was in the theater. I couldn’t have survived the week without you!

Thank you to Hiroka for the tireless help with food and taking care of Sensei.

Thank you to Maz for the amazing job transcribing, memorizing, and practicing Taiko no Kyoku. You were amazing through the whole thing. Listen to the track below from about 8:30… Maz is amazing!

Thank you to Shoji and Kelvin for putting up with me through all the craziness.

Thank you to Johnny Mori for helping to make the performance possible and for participating in the ceremony. It meant a lot to me!

Thank you to On Ensemble’s fans and the FoundatiOn Team for the incredible response before and at the event, and for your financial and emotional support.

Thanks to all of you, I had the honor of performing Taiko no Kyoku with my teacher. I’m usually terrified when performing shamisen, but this time I had a lot of fun. I made a number of mistakes, but it was definitely the best I’ve ever played in performance.

The one mistake that’ll bug me for a long time is the very beginning of the piece… with all the applause, I couldn’t hear Sensei’s cue, so I missed the first note. Sensei gave herself a hard time for not playing louder but it was really me who was distracted. Ah well, it gives me something to shoot for next time!

Without further ado, here is the recording of the piece from On ’08 : Yobu!

Taiko no Kyoku OGG

Taiko no Kyoku MP3

Next Up: Minnesota!

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Today Maz and Kelvin hit the road with a van packed full of equipment to Minnesota! On November 15th we’ll be performing at the College of Saint Benedict Saint John’s University’s Humphrey Theater in Collegeville then we’ll be performing with Mu Daiko at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis November 21-23rd. In between the two performances we’ll be heading up to Winnipeg for workshops with Hinode Taiko. It should be a fun little tour provided we don’t get stuck in bad weather. We’ll be making posts from the road so keep checking back!

FoundatiOn Team record

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Thank you goes out to our final FoundatiOn Team members: Ayumi and Brent Pantell, Hiroka Fujimoto, Rafael Fernandez and Lisa Shimamoto, Ryan Ishikawa and Andrew Lin.  Also thank you to the FoundatiOn Team donors who donated at the concert, your support is greatly appreciated and you’ve helped us set a new fund raising record of $8936!

Yobu wrap-up

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Whew… We just finished our annual home concert and have many people to thank. A big thank you goes out to Johnny Mori, the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center and the great staff at the Aratani Japan America Theater. Thank you to Kevin and Travis our great sound guys and a HUGE thank you goes out to our great lighting designer Eileen Cooley for all of her work! A big thank you goes out to our FoundatiOn Team who helped us set a new fund raising record this year and to all of our fans who came out to the show!

Also a special thank you goes out to Kris’ sensei Kineya Katsuyukie for coming all the way from Japan to be a part of our show and finally congrats to Kris for receiving his natori! We all very proud of Kris!

Tickets still available!!

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Our concert is tomorrow!! Apparently there has been some confusion with the ticket website. For a while it was indicating that our concert was sold out but there are still tickets available! Everything should be okay now but you can always call the JACCC box office directly and there will be tickets available at the door.

We had a great run through tonight and we’re really excited about tomorrow’s performance. As a special treat we’ll have some pre-release copies of our new album “Ume in the Middle” available at the concert!

Photo shoot

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Yesterday we had a great photo shoot with my sister Ayumi who has her own photography business. You can check out more of her work at: youandmeworld.

Here’s a sample of our new photos:

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