Meet the New Staff of the Taiko Community Alliance!
Courtney Ozaki | Business Manager
Courtney started her taiko journey at age 8 as a student of One World Taiko’s Gary Tsujimoto and Nancy Ozaki. She has performed across the globe in the United Arab Emirates at the Dubai Global Village, as well as in other major cities across the United States including appearances in NATC’s Taiko Jams at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA (with One World Taiko) and Stanford University (with her own ensemble, Mirai Daiko). After receiving her MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College, Courtney worked as a dance producer for Joyce Theater Productions with whom she developed and toured new works with international artists. She returned to her home state of Colorado to serve as Operations and Business Director for the Lone Tree Arts Center, and currently serves on the boards of the Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple and Mile High JACL, as well as the Emerging Leaders Program alumni steering committee for the U.S.-Japan Council. Apart from her role at TCA, Courtney is the founder of the Japanese Arts Network (JA-NE), a national network that provides access to resources and develops programs and platforms that support and strengthen visibility for JaJA (Japanese and Japanese-American) Artists in America.
Sarah Gilbert | Operations Manager
Sarah is relatively new to the taiko community, having started her musical career as a western-trained percussionist at the Crane School of Music in upstate New York. In 2012, while pursuing an MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), Sarah joined Stony Brook University’s resident group, Taiko Tides, under the guidance of Joan Miyazaki, Eva Nagase, and Joe Dvorak. Since then, she has had the opportunity to play taiko in Japan as a performing member of Towada Suijin Kaminari Daiko in Aomori prefecture and Uminari Daiko in Taneichi, Iwate while serving as an Assistant Language Teacher in the JET Program. After returning to New York, Sarah became a performing member of Soh Daiko and currently serves as the group’s Technology and Archival Chair. It was around this time that she began volunteering with the Taiko Community Alliance, and was soon after contracted as TCA’s Salesforce Administrator and Technology Consultant. Outside of TCA, Sarah served as an advisor with Taiko Tides in planning the East Coast Taiko Conference at Stony Brook University and currently teaches high school mathematics and English to non-native speakers.
Kristina McGaha | Program Manager
Kristina started taiko at a young age, with her family’s group, Suzuyuki-Kai Mogan Daiko. As a founding member of Odaiko Sonora in Tucson, Arizona, Kristina has played all over the southwest. She has taught and led multiple workshops on the west coast, including being the creative director of Kawa Taiko, who was featured in NATC 2019 Taiko Ten. Professionally, Kristina has corporate and consulting experience, managing major events, securing funding, and conducting large group trainings. She is also a keynote speaker and author. Kristina looks forward to taking over as creative director of Suzuyuki-Kai this year as well as helping the taiko community as TCA’s first Program Manager. Her current favorite thing about taiko? Getting to teach her two children about their heritage through drums.