Meet Our 2019 New Board Members


TCA is proud to introduce five new members to the Board of Directors in Fall 2019.  Please join us in welcoming Ben Pachter (starting September 2019), Carley Okamura, Danny Hayman, Kelly Kuwabara, and Paul Sakamoto to the board.

They collectively bring over 60 years of taiko, non-profit administration, and community organizing experience from their diverse backgrounds.  Ben, Kelly, and Paul have been instrumental across TCA volunteer committees with significant contributions to the North American Taiko Conference, TCA Fundraising, and Program Committees.  Danny and Carley have contributed greatly to their own taiko communities, with Danny helping to organize registration for the Pacific Northwest’s Regional Taiko Gathering, and Carley’s leadership on Kita No Taiko’s Artistic Board.  To learn more about their experiences, check out their bios below.

We also welcome back Tamiko Ooka for a second term on the TCA Board.  Tamiko is currently serving as chair for the Membership Committee, and on the Program Committee.

These additions help to round out a full capacity board for the coming year. We are excited to begin our work together, and look forward to seeing their impact and contributions to our organization.


Danny 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:

Kelley KuwabaraKelly 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:

Carley OkamuraCarley 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:

Tamiko OokaTamiko Ooka (returning), 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 serves as Chairperson for Soh Daiko in New York City. (Contact:

Ben Pachter

Benjamin Pachter (starting September 2019)Executive 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, 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:

Paul Sakamoto

Paul Sakamoto, 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:

For a list of all current board members and their bios, click here.