This is a report submitted by Andrew Kihara on behalf of Yamatai Taiko, Cornell University, hosts of ECTC 2019. Yamatai Taiko was the recipient of a 2019 TCA Mini-Grant.
The East Coast Taiko Conference (ECTC) 2019 was held on February 22-24 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. The conference included over 270 people present, including workshop leaders, participants, observers, vendors, and staff, mainly from the Northeastern US, but also from as far away as Japan and Australia. Participants included collegiate groups, community groups, and individuals. They learned about taiko through three workshops led by professional taiko artists and teachers, a jam session, a two-hour concert open to the public, and much more.
This year, the theme of the conference was “Growing Stronger”. We envisioned providing opportunities for attendees to grow stronger by learning new taiko knowledge and skills, for performers to grow stronger by showcasing their talents at the concert, and for the community to grow stronger by individuals connecting and networking throughout the conference. We invited new workshop leaders, Eri Ishizuka, who taught popular workshop Yodan Uchi, and Masataka Kobayashi, the leader of the Japanese taiko group Bonten.
We are very glad to have brought a diverse range of talent from the taiko community to Cornell to showcase to the local audience what taiko is really about. It was also a great experience to connect with conference attendees and workshop leaders and to hear about their time at ECTC. We are grateful to have had this opportunity to host a conference that plays such an important role in bringing together members of the Northeast taiko community. ECTC started at Cornell in 2011 and, at the time, was a small conference. It was amazing to see the size of the conference this year and how much the taiko community has grown in the past 8 years. Next year, ECTC 2020 will be hosted by UConn Kodama Taiko and we hope even more taiko enthusiasts attend as the community grows ever stronger!
We are grateful to have received the support of Taiko Community Alliance, not only in the form of a Mini-Grant but also in all the advice and support provided to us through the members of their Collegiate Taiko Advisory Group (CTAG). We would also like to thank other individuals and organizations who supported ECTC 2019 and made the event possible!