TCA is proud to introduce three new members to the Board of Directors in Fall 2020. Please join us in welcoming Jason Seymore, Joe Small, and Kate Meigneux. 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 the Taiko Community Alliance! Learn more about these individuals’ experiences in taiko and beyond below.
We also welcome back Akemi Chan-Imai and Danny Hayman who are returning for a second term on the TCA Board.
Finally, we would like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation for Wisa Uemura as she completes her second board term and steps off the TCA Board of Directors. Wisa has been involved with TCA since inception, holding many leadership positions over the years. Thank you, Wisa, for your dedication and leadership to TCA and the taiko community!
As Kinnara Taiko celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2019, Kate celebrated the 20th year of her taiko journey with the oldest Buddhist Taiko Group in North America. In her younger days Kate was classically trained on violin, cello, and piano, performing in youth choir, orchestra, and dance in England and Australia. She went on to study Architecture and Design and received an MA from the Royal College of Art in London. Kate moved her practice to Los Angeles in the late 80’s, and started a family in the mid 90’s. Shortly after, she joined Senshin Buddhist Temple and felt the irresistible heartbeat of taiko drumming. As soon as she picked up the bachi in her mid-40’s, Kate knew she had found a new voice and a new community. With Kinnara, Kate has performed in several significant concerts in California, Oregon, Hawaii, and India; in particular, a momentous series of concerts brought California’s 3 founding taiko groups together in the 3 Japantown Concerts in Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco. Kinnara also has a special relationship with the Arpana Dance Company and the two have collaborated on many occasions over the years, combining the arts of taiko drumming with Bharatanatyam dance. A magical highlight on Kate’s musical journey was traveling with Kinnara and Arpana on a tour through Southern India bringing taiko drumming to places in which it had never been heard. Kate is now collaborating with members of Kinnara, San Jose Taiko, and SF Taiko Dojo on the TCA funded Taiko Voices Project.
In 2006 at the age of 17, Jason embarked on his taiko journey when he began learning under the tutelage of sensei ISHIKURA Takemasa of Matsuriza/Orlando Taiko Dojo in Orlando, FL. As a member of Orlando Taiko Dojo for nearly ten years, Jason performed all over the state of Florida and the southeast. He also assisted in teaching new students basic techniques, conduct workshops for local community organizations, and volunteered his time and energy every year for the annual Orlando Japan Festival. In 2014, Jason sought to forge a new path and began preparations to open a school for taiko drumming in New Hampshire. With permission and blessings from his teacher, he visited Japan to gain a deeper understanding of taiko and experience some of the classical musical instruments of Japan. In 2016, after completing his undergrad at the University of Central Florida, he relocated to New Hampshire to begin putting plans into action and incorporated Hokuto Taiko Dojo. While on his journey, Jason also began to become a more active member of the Taiko Community through attending the 2017/2018 East Coast Taiko Conference and the 2019 North American Taiko Conference. Realizing how large the community really is, Jason began looking for ways to give back by volunteering time at conferences to support and express his appreciation for the opportunities available during these events. As a new Member of the Board of Directors with the Taiko Community Alliance, Jason now has an opportunity to show gratitude and continue to support the community at-large and looks forward to working hard for everyone in the Taiko Community!
Joe Small is a professional taiko drum artist and Assistant Professor of Dance at Swarthmore College. Joe began studying taiko as an undergraduate at Swarthmore in 2002, spending summer vacations learning under Kenny and Chizuko Endo, and interning for San Jose Taiko and Portland Taiko. Following graduation, Joe relocated to Japan on a Fulbright Fellowship to research taiko and festivals, leading to a two-year apprenticeship for the internationally-renowned ensemble Kodo. Since 2012 Joe has been a disciple of pioneering taiko artist Eitetsu Hayashi and sole non-Japanese member of his touring ensemble, Fu-Un no Kai. Joe has also been a member of Prota, Taikoza, and the Australian ensemble Taikoz. Based in LA from 2014-2017, Joe taught, created, and performed taiko in a variety of contexts, including mixed-disciplinary productions and his first original full-length work, Spall Fragments. Joe is a 2005 graduate of Swarthmore College (BA, Dance) and a 2015 graduate of UCLA (MFA, Dance).