With the close of another year, we welcome the newest members of TCA’s Board of Directors – but first, we must bid a very bittersweet farewell to three incredible pillars of experience and wisdom on the TCA Board: Derek Oye, Rome Hamner, and Margaret McKenty – who all concluded their terms last month.
All of us at TCA wish to express a heartfelt Thank You to these three, who all joined the board in 2015 and continued on to serve for six years – the maximum length of consecutive service possible for TCA board members! They have left a remarkable legacy and lasting impact through their dedication and passion for TCA and the taiko community at large. During their tenure, TCA made remarkable progress on its five-year Strategic Framework, successfully presenting two NATCs while playing key roles in developing and launching new programs that allow TCA to support the broader taiko community, including the TCA Grants Program.
There are not enough words to capture the impact that each of these passionate taiko community leaders are leaving on the Taiko Community Alliance. Their presence within the Board will be sorely missed, and we wish them all the best with their well-deserved break and future taiko endeavors. Otsukaresamadeshita!
Now, we are proud to introduce three newest members to TCA’s Board of Directors: Wanda Kurtcu, Gail Montgomery, and Josh Yoon!
Learn more about each of them and the unique perspectives they each add to our current Board roster through their biographies below, and please take a moment to reach out and welcome them as they set out on this new adventure with TCA!
Dr. Wanda M. Kurtcu (She/Her)
Supervising Teacher, San Jose State University
A performing member of Wadaiko Newark for 17 years, Wanda was also in attendance at the 2013 Launch Meeting for TCA and has since become a Lifetime Member of the organization, as well as currently serving on TCA’s HEART (Humility, Empathy, Anti-Racism, Resourcefulness, Transparency) Committee, focusing on the practices of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility. Within the taiko community, Wanda is a part of the HUG (Healing, Unlearning, and Growing) collective, as well as NtbD (Name to be Decided) in taiko, addressing issues and challenges faced/experienced by women, non-binary, and LGBTQI+ players within the male-dominated world of taiko.
Wanda has a doctorate is in Social Justice and Equity and, with recognition of diversity as an important part of any organization, hopes to bring that experience and voice to TCA in support of its current “growing pains” and efforts to reshape itself into a more inclusive and supportive entity within the taiko community.
Additionally, Wanda is a LEGO enthusiast! She loves Star Trek, Star Wars, Marvel Comic and DC universes, and plays Dungeons and Dragons. Truth be told, she’s a Sci-fi/Fantasy nerd and lives in those worlds as often as she can.
Gail Montgomery (Co-Vice-Chair)
Executive Director, Michael I Kudo Foundation
Current member and the Treasurer of the newly-formed Sun Mountain Taiko of Colorado Springs, Gail began learning taiko with the Taiko Society in 2015 and was fortunate to attend workshops led by Kris Bergstrom, Minh Nguyen, Masayuki Sakamoto, and Yuta Sumiyoshi. Although she’s a relative taiko newbie, she has 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit arena, primarily in finance and project management with a holistic child development organization, and Board service for several animal welfare organizations, and holds both an MBA and CNP (Certified Nonprofit Professional) title. In 2019, Gail co-founded the Michael I Kudo Foundation and currently serves as its Executive Director.
As part of the TCA Board, Gail hopes to promote the benefits of taiko: cultural, physical, team-building, fun!
Additionally, Gail is the soft goods maker for Taiko Colorado and is a stay-at-home dog mom, living on acreage in Colorado where she doesn’t have to worry about bothering the neighbors when she practices taiko – and piano!
Josh Yoon (Co-Secretary)
Senior Scientist at Johns Hopkins University APL
Josh is currently a student in the Mark H Taiko School taught by one of his heroes, Mark H Rooney. He was a former member of Stanford Taiko (2013-17) and freelanced as a performer, student, and workshop instructor for a few years afterwards. Josh largely works with all-things Tech, but also conducts scholarly work on the taiko community at large and Googles things when he doesn’t know how to do something.
Josh hopes to be someone who brings the best out of everyone on the Board and to help continue TCA’s march towards being better ambassadors for the taiko community.
Additionally, while Josh runs outside, his mind goes to weird places, and he’s wondering – what’s a good run-thought (or shower-thought, or ramen-thought…) you’ve had recently? Please feel free to share with him at his TCA email, listed below!