Hello from Toronto! It’s been a crazy and wonderful few days!
After our second showcase at the Association for Performing Arts Presenters conference in New York City, we made a late-night drive to Woburn MA, to visit Odaiko New England. Some taiko friends, Joy, Beth, and Tanya, used the private lesson coupons I gave them for their help with Taiko Games. We spent the afternoon playing bon taiko and Maz taught a flute private lesson as well. We then taught one of our new workshops, Advanced Renshuu, to the whole group. It was a ton of fun and I was impressed with how readily everyone picked up the new arrangement.
One of the highlights of the stay for me was Tanya’s vegan, vegetable chile on baked yam. Nothing like a warm yam after shorts in winter! Tanya gave me the recipe so you’ll likely see the dish on What We’re Eating in the not-too-distant future.
Thank you Juni for all your work arranging the workshop and to everyone at Odaiko New England!
After Woburn, we headed across the border to visit our neighbors to the north, Arashi Daiko in Montreal. The members of Arashi and their student group, Inazuma, prepared an elaborate pot-luck feast. It was filled with vegan delights including a feau-pork dish that Shoji said was, “better than the real thing”. We taught Intro to Timing and Inazuma was wonderfully engaged and receptive to the concepts. Teaching timing is one of the biggest challenges for us because it’s both difficult and subtle, but Inazuma made dramatic strides, even in our short time together.
Thank you Arashi Daiko and Inazuma!
That night we stayed with two very hospitable members of the Arashi family, Catherine and Veronique. They very generously let us sleep at their apartments, despite our trailer parking requirements and crazy hours. It turns out that Catherine decided to try taiko after seeing On Ensemble perform in Montreal in 2006. Yahoo! We had to take a photo!
The next day we loaded into the theater for a performance organized by long-time On Ensemble collaborator, Patrick Graham. It was one of the events we were most looking forward to. Patrick wrote two, new pieces for the performance and despite limited rehearsal time, we were able to pull them together for the show. I made an embarrassing tuning error in After Rain (in my sleep-deprived state, I tuned for Gengakki) but Patrick and the rest of On Ensemble found a way to roll with the punches. After the show Maz said, “I was kind-of into it… with all those new flats and sharps you don’t usually hear in After Rain.” I’m castigating myself by only wearing shorts for the rest of tour.
The turnout at Sala Rossa was great and the audience was extremely encouraging… only increasing our love for Montreal. What a great place!
Once Patrick recovers from producing the concert, I’ll try and talk him into guest-blogging about the show. He’ll be coming to Los Angeles in February in preparation for our big performance in March at Cerritos Center. Lots of QT with Patrick planned in 2011!
We woke up early the next morning and made our way to Toronto where, Kelvin and I taught Intro to Timing again. We were invited by the delightful, RAW Taiko Drummers. RAW stands for Raging Asian Women, and the group is involved in social activism here in Toronto. When Kelvin heard the name, “Raging Asian Women”, he said, “I like that!… we should change On Ensemble’s name to The Raging Asian Caucasian Cajun Persuasion!” Vote +1!
After the workshop, RAW took us out to delicious Chinese food at one of their go-to spots. Thank you for the food, fun, and taiko exploration, RAW!
Next we head to Bowling Green OH, returning state-side for the remainder of the tour. More soon!