Chicago/Fort Wayne/Lakewood Tour Recap

Where to start. I really meant to be doing tour updates along the way but neglected to so get ready for the big Chicago/Fort Wayne/Lakewood tour recap! The tour started with me loading up the trailer and hitting driving to Moab UT and stayed at Hop’s house (Thanks Hop!) which is a well known touring taiko musician road stop. It’s about as far as you can possibly drive from Los Angeles in one day and sets you up well to cross the rockies so we end up staying there a lot! Also Hop is an awesome taiko nut and great fun to hang out with so a big part of it is for the company. As an added bonus Moab is beautiful and when I drove in the moonlit desert scenery almost made me forgot about the 10 hour drive.

The next day I drove through the Rockies to pick Maz up at the Denver airport. The drive through the Rockies was absolutely beautiful as the aspens were all changing color. I must have picked the exact perfect day to make that drive and a TON of people from Denver had the same idea because the traffic getting out of the Rockies into Denver was insane. But you know I live in Los Angeles so it made me feel like I was on the 10 but with better scenery. By the time I picked up Maz at the airport I was several hours late and we drove well into the night to make up time. Luckily as we were driving through Nebraska the lunar eclipse was in full view right in front of us the whole night. It made for another beautiful drive and I thought that somehow though absolute luck we must have scheduled this tour for the most picturesque driving possible.

After spending a night somewhere in Nebraska we drove into Chicago and picked up Eien and Sumie from Ohare and met up with Ho Etsu Taiko! We performed together at the Old Town School of Music on a Wednesday night to a packed house. It was a great performance and the Old Town School of Music is such a wonderful magical place! Everywhere you turn there are music and dance classes and people hanging out and art everywhere! It’s exactly what a center for music and dance should be like! After the Old Town School of Music performance we had two days of rehearsals and preparation for ROTATIONS. Followed by two great performances with Ho Etsu Taiko on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. There will be some pictures and video of ROTATIONS soon and I will post them as soon as I get them! The concert series was a HUGE success both artistically and organizationally and I’d like to give huge props to all of Ho Etsu Taiko: Jason, Tiana, Alexa, Donny, Ryan, Dana, Emily and Jamie for an amazing job well done! Also a shout out to Grace for her back stage help SOUNDGUY and to the ever awesome taiko-tech-do-everything-wonder-woman Sarah for all of her help.

The Sunday after the matinee performance we said good-bye to Ho Etsu and drove to Fort Wayne Indiana for two days of workshops at the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. They had just bought a set of new drums and were starting to learn Omiyage. I led them through a three workshop Omiyage intensive that focused on the core concepts of Omiyage. I’ve been rethinking how I teach and approach Omiyage in preparation for a kaDON Omiyage course. It was great to work with Fort Wayne Taiko with some of these new approaches and the improvement they made in three workshops was further confirmation that I’m on the right path. It was great hanging with the Fort Wayne Taiko women and we felt very well taken care of! One of the members Jackie has an entire arcade in downstairs garage and a great night of food and classic arcade gaming was had! Also a huge shout out to Allison for bringing us out to Fort Wayne and for housing us during our time there!

After our time in Fort Wayne we headed back West and stopped in Lincoln Nebraska to visit Kokyo Daiko who had a potluck waiting for us as we pulled up! Sometimes taiko people are just too awesome! We ate great food then performed a few pieces for each other. A huge thank you goes out to Maureen for putting us up at her amazing Nebraska ranch complete with taiko dojo!

The next day we drove into Lakewood and met up with the ever awesome taiko-tech-do-everything-wonder-woman Sarah and boyfriend Daniel for a bowl of pho and a taste of the local craft beer fare at Caution Brewery! Luckily it was board game and retro 8-bit nintendo game night. (Note to self: I really need to find the craft brewery in LA that has board game and retro 8-bit nintendo game night. Or if someone could make an app that would allow you find the nearest retro video game or board game night you would be my hero.)

The next morning we met up at the Belmar Elementary School for an educational outreach performance for the entire school. Then headed to the Lakewood Cultural Center for a sold-out performance that evening! We had a great time performing in Lakewood! A huge shout out to the Denver Taiko community who came out to see us and we would like to give a big thank you shout out to Susan and the entire staff at the Lakewood Cultural Center for bringing us out to Colorado and making us feel so welcome!

After our Lakewood performance we flew Eien back to Portland and Sumie back to New York while Maz and I drove back to Moab and Hop’s house! This time we got in with enough time for a workshop! I taught a two and a half hour workshop on the interlocking patterns of Lion Chant to members of the Moab and New Mexico taiko community. Another shout out to Hop for looking after us and for the great post workshop meal and hang! Finally it was one more long drive back to Los Angeles where we unloaded and got a couple weeks to recuperate before we do it again!

(Okay confession timeā€¦ we are actually doing it again right now. I’m writing this from the back of the On Ensemble van passing through Vegas on our way to Hop’s house AGAIN!. I really meant to update the website and do this recap post when I returned to LA but then life happened. With two kiddos and the older one now having her own schedule being at home is way more busy than being on the road. But that is a story for another post. Also through the magic of the internet I’m totally going to back date this post so it looks like I actually did do this update in time. More soon. Or soonish.)

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