TCA Member Spotlight: Marty Hilchey

Tell us you play taiko in Canada without telling us you play taiko in Canada – who else can lead a life of winter festival performances followed by cold pints and the occasional dip in a cold alpine lake? And if you’re looking for podcast recommendations to take on your next hike (or laundry folding adventure), Marty has you covered.

When did you first find taiko? Is this the same time that you started playing taiko?

I was first introduced to taiko in University, but it wasn’t until years later after seeing Midnight Taiko Kai perform live that I caught the taiko bug. I completed a workshop by Midnight Taiko and began an apprenticeship with the group about one month after viewing their performance.

What has your taiko journey looked like?

I began my apprenticeship with Midnight Taiko based in Calgary, AB, Canada in 2015, became a performing member in 2016 and have served as Midnight Taiko’s Artistic Director since 2018.

My entire taiko journey to date has been filled with endless amounts of meaningful, memorable and impactful experiences, but a couple of highlights include: 

  • Performing at the winter festival in Higashikawa, Hokkaido with Midnight Taiko. 
  • Traveling with other taiko enthusiasts to Hachijo-jima on one of Yuta Kato’s organized trips.
  • Helping to produce Shinbokukai, Midnight Taiko’s collaboration concert with Vancouver ensembles, Dahaza and Bushido.
  • Participating in Midnight Taiko’s video submission for the Asano Taiko US & Friends Virtual Concert.
  • More recently, participating in Midnight Taiko’s collaboration with the renowned ballet dancer Yukichi Hattori on a project for Calgary’s 2021 Omatsuri.
  • Learning from so many incredible taiko instructors and mentors along the way – thank you to all!
  • Meeting and building relationships with so many amazing taiko friends over the years both near and far!

Why did you become a member of TCA?

To stay connected with the greater taiko community and to support the organization 🙂

What is your favorite post-practice meal?

Ohh tough one…I always enjoy a satay beef vietnamese sub. I also won’t turn away a cold pint after a performance!

Do you have other passions and/or hobbies outside of taiko?

Jazz and composition are also passions of mine – I play saxophone in my other life. I also like all things mountain – hiking, mountain biking, camping and cold alpine lake dips 🙂

Last, but certainly not least: How many taiko tees do you own?

I stopped counting at 20…!

Shime or Odaiko?


Run for Exercise or Literally Anything Else?

Literally Anything Else – I’ve never been a strong runner. I’ve taken up the stationary bike and rowing machine over the last year, but I must admit I am missing our group’s regular 8 minute workouts at practice…keeps me in check 😉 Fingers crossed we’ll be back at it again soon!

Phone Call or Text Message?

Both for different reasons.

What’s worse: Laundry or Dishes?

Dishes – There was once a time where I would have said laundry, but things have shifted for me as of late, and I don’t mind laundry now…even folding laundry, ha! Podcasts help 🙂

Coffee, Tea, or Red Bull (or, you know, another energy drink, I guess)

Coffee in the morning and tea the rest of the time 🙂

Perform in incredibly cold weather or incredibly humid weather?

I have more experience performing in the cold, living in Alberta, Canada.

Record your practice and study the footage or fly free on the feeling?

There’s value in both; however, there is much to be said for being in the moment.

Do you know a TCA member who you would like to see spotlighted? Send an email to Sarah Gilbert at to nominate the TCA members in your life for our next spotlight!

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