Cross-country tour: Day 21

After Toronto, we made our way state-side to Bowling Green OH, where we visited the university-based Kaze no Daichi.  Here we debuted my new, Composition Step By Step workshop, with the ambitious goal of composing a whole piece in 2.5 hours.  My teaching and the workshop structure was a bit rough around the edges but the members of Kaze no Daichi were extremely creative and productive.  There is much good music to come from these guys.  Thanks to Jake and the gang for having us!

We then headed to Chicago to visit long-time taiko advocate, John Yost, and members of his groups.  John is a force for taiko, presenting groups like Kodo in years past, and now performing regularly, and providing access to taiko classes in the greater Chicago area.  John knows all about the rigours of touring and very graciously arranged a workshop and housed us for the night.  We had a great time with the Chicago taiko characters, teaching the 30 Days to Better Shime workshop for John and six of his students.  Thank you, John!

From friendly face to friendly face…  Long-time On Ensemble friend and supporter, Wendy Jedlicka, arranged a workshop for us in Minneapolis.  In planning the tour, I initially thought we’d travel south and would miss Minneapolis.  When our route changed, I contacted Mu Daiko but it was too late to arrange a formal workshop.  Many of the members were going to be in Sacramento for an odaiko intensive.  But Wendy invited available Mu members and taiko friends to join us for another round of Composition Step By Step.  I felt much better about how it went this time.  We were able to bang together a rough piece inspired by Renshuu and all the participants had great ideas and questions.  Thank you Wendy!

From Minneapolis, we made our way to Spearfish SD, for a performance arranged by the Spearfish Arts Center at the Matthews Opera House.  The organization of the concert was rather last-minute, and we had no idea what to expect.  None of us had ever performed in South Dakota and we had flashbacks of a concert in 2009, playing for a single audience member (John in Placerville, we love you!).  It turned out our fears were unfounded.  Michael at the Spearfish Arts Center went to great lengths to take care of us, the theater was the perfect size and sound for our music, and the concert was attended by a throng of enthusiastic, loving Spearfishians.  It was a wonderful experience, and one of the highlights of the tour!  Thank you Michael and the great folks of Spearfish!  Hope we’re able to return someday!

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