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Board of Directors


Executive Committee

Derek Oye

Derek Oye (Chair), Program Associate, The Rose Hills Foundation
Derek is currently a member of Kinnara Taiko of Senshin Buddhist Temple. He’s been honored to learn from Cal Raijin Taiko (Go Bears!), ICU Wadaiko, Yoki Daiko of Tenrikyo Church, Taiko Effect, Blazing Trails Taiko, the Los Angeles Taiko Institute, and UnitOne. Derek has experience in nonprofit and community work, and was a Board Fellow at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute through Kizuna’s Next Generation Leadership. (Contact: derek@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Tamiko Ooka

Tamiko Ooka (Vice-Chair), Account Executive, National Tenant Network
Tamiko began learning the art of Japanese drumming in 1990 with instruction from Reverend Ron Miyamura of the Midwest Buddhist Temple and Soh Daiko. She is a founding member of Hoh Daiko, a Japanese drumming group established in 1991 and affiliated with the Seabrook Buddhist Temple in southern New Jersey. Tamiko has served as both artistic director and manager for Hoh Daiko and is still an active member. Tamiko became a member of Soh Daiko from 2002-2004 and 2011- present.  She currently serves as Chairperson for Soh Daiko in New York City.  (Contact: tamiko@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Margaret McKenty

Margaret McKenty (Co-Secretary)Technical Writer/Editor
Margaret has been a long-time player, instructor and Board member for Hinode Taiko Inc. in Winnipeg, Canada. A founding member of the Winnipeg Early Music Society, she has performed in genres ranging from medieval/folk fusion to Renaissance madrigals to baroque opera and oratorios. She helped edit TCA’s Statement of Core Values and Guiding Principles and served on the Transition Committee and By-Laws subcommittee before joining TCA’s Board of Directors in June 2015. (Contact: margaret@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Paul Sakamoto

Paul Sakamoto (Co-Secretary), IT Specialist, State of Hawaii Department of Education
Paul started his taiko studies as a founding member of Puna Taiko under the tutelage of Reverend Earl Ikeda in 2002 and has served as the Director since 2004. In addition, Paul assists at Puna Taiko affiliate groups, Pahala Hongwanji Taiko and Kamana Senior Taiko, and is currently working on re-establishing the long-dormant Hawaii Island Taiko Camp. He currently serves on the TCA Fundraising Committee and previously assisted with the 2017 crowdfunding campaign. In his other life, he works as an IT liaison at the Hawaii Department of Education. (Contact: paul@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Wisa Uemura

Wisa Uemura (Treasurer), Executive Director, San Jose Taiko
Wisa started her taiko journey with Stanford Taiko in 1994 and served as Artistic and Administrative Director during her four years there. Beginning as a performing member with San Jose Taiko in 1998, she has also held the positions of Artistic Staff and General Manager, and was instrumental in the development and execution of San Jose Taiko’s successful leadership succession plan before taking on the Executive Director position in 2011. She served on the advisory committee for the 2011 North American Taiko Conference and the 2013 World Taiko Gathering while helping found TCA. (Contact: wisa@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Board Members

Akemi Imai

Akemi Chan-ImaiPrograms Manager, Oakland Asian Cultural Center
Akemi began learning taiko drumming in 2001 with Makoto Taiko in Pasadena, CA and has served as Artistic Director and Artistic Coordinator for USC Kazan Taiko from 2007-2010.  Akemi served on Makoto Taiko’s Operations Committee from 2009-2014, and became President of the group after it obtained 501(c)3 nonprofit status in late 2014. She is a former Board Fellow of Kizuna’s Next Generation Leadership program and obtained a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management at Antioch University Los Angeles in 2018. After serving as Makoto Taiko’s inaugural Executive Director from 2017-2018, Akemi relocated to Oakland, CA and currently works at Oakland Asian Cultural Center as their Programs Manager. (Contact: akemi@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Rome HamnerGeneral Manager, San Jose Taiko; Independent Teaching Artist and Performer
A certified Orff instructor with nearly 20 years experience, Rome is a teaching artist and taiko performer whose career includes 14 years as the co-director of Odaiko Sonora, the ensemble she co-founded in Tucson, AZ. Performing highlights include playing Odaiko for a crowd of 30,000 while suspended 200’ in the air and combining poi training and pyrotechnics to play with lit bachi, i.e., bachi that were set on fire on purpose. Rome believes passionately in the power of taiko to change lives and has developed 30+ unique curricula in Taiko and Orff-based general music for students of all ages. Rome holds a Masters in Public Administration and currently plays with Taiko SOBA in Palo Alto, California and Kristy Oshiro’s Queer Taiko, is an activator in PJ Hirabayashi’s TaikoPeace movement, and leads in-school taiko residencies in the south San Francisco Bay Area. (Contact: rome@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Daniel HaymanDirector of Data and Analytics, Ascend Learning Charter Schools
Danny started playing taiko at the age of 15 with Kaze Daiko in Seattle, WA, under the instruction of Stan Shikuma. In his sophomore year of college, he founded Claremont Psyko Taiko (now called Claremont Colleges Shogo Taiko), the first taiko group at the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, CA. Also while at Claremont McKenna College, he founded SOURCE, an undergraduate-staffed organization which provides nonprofit consulting services to human services nonprofits in Claremont area. After graduation, he moved to New York City, became a high school math teacher, and started drumming with Soh Daiko, where he was a member from 2009-2015. Now living in Seattle, Danny served as the registration chair for Seattle Regional Taiko Gathering 2018, and is currently serving on the Regional Taiko Groups Seattle bylaws committee. He is currently a member of Northwest Taiko along with his mother. (Contact: danny@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Kelly Kuwabara

Kelly KuwabaraDevelopment Manager, Allens Lane Art Center
Kelly Kuwabara has played taiko with Soh Daiko, the Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Center, Kyo Daiko, and Hoh Daiko. She has taught taiko classes and workshops at Settlement Music School, Allens Lane Art Center, Staten Island Arts, and other locations. Kelly is also a member of the samba drumming group Unidos da Filadelfia (caixa). She has worked in many non-profit organizations, including stints as the Program Director and the Development Director of the Asian American Arts Alliance. She is currently the Development Director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia and an adjunct instructor of English literature and composition at Cumberland County College. Kelly holds an A.B. degree in Philosophy from Bryn Mawr College and an M.A. degree in English and Creative Writing from New York University. Kelly believes in the power of the arts to sustain people and build communities, the importance of music and rhythm in social change movements, and the necessity of showing up at demonstrations with a drum. Her favorite 16th note is the “ee” after one. (Contact: kelly@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Carley OkamuraExecutive Assistant to the Chair and Associate Chairs, University of Alberta
Carley has played taiko since 2001 with Kita no Taiko in Edmonton, Canada. She has served on their Artistic Board since 2006, organizing group administration and artistic direction. She also teaches workshops and classes, and performs. She enjoys producing large-scale performances, specifically with collaborative elements and guest artists. In 2017 she launched her own production, “The Model Minority” which used varied artistic disciplines to explore the social issues facing Asian Canadians. She is also proud to be a member of the Women and Taiko community, and is interested to explore the relationship between taiko, community, and identity. (Contact: carley@taikocommunityalliance.org)

Ben Pachter

Benjamin PachterExecutive Director, Japan-America Society of Central Ohio
Ben is currently Assistant Director of Dublin Taiko, a student taiko group that is part of Dublin City Schools, Dublin, OH. His passion for taiko not only lies in the realm of performance, but also in research and documentation. He received his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology, writing his dissertation on the musical history of contemporary taiko performance in Japan and the United States, and continues that research today as owner and lead researcher of TaikoSource.com, a website dedicated to the development of information resources about taiko performance. Meanwhile, he is also deeply involved in the documentation of taiko performance, having served as photographer and/or videographer for the 2015 and 2017 North American Taiko Conferences, the 2016 European Taiko conference, and all East Coast Taiko Conferences since 2012. When he’s not playing, researching, or documenting taiko, Ben is the Executive Director of the Japan-America Society of Central Ohio, a non-profit based in Dublin, OH. (Contact: ben@taikocommunityalliance.org