This is a report submitted by Jane Lin, Co-Chair of the Program Committee, and Collegiate Taiko Advisory Group (CTAG) lead.
Earlier this month, I traveled across the United States with Linda Uyechi, Jun Daiko member and Stanford Taiko faculty advisor, to attend the 2017 East Coast Taiko Conference hosted by Gendo Taiko in Providence, Rhode Island. After a hiatus in 2016, everyone was excited to be back at ECTC. The 2-day conference was composed of a welcoming jam session, 3 workshop sessions, Taiko Talks, and a final concert. The workshop leaders included Ishindaiko from Londrina, Brazil and Hase Mikita from Japan along with various other leaders from both coasts of the United States.
The Saturday morning welcome session set the tone for the weekend. Karen Young and The Genki Spark challenged us to meet 5 new people, and Kota Mizutani, ECTC 2017 Director, spoke about taiko’s roots in Japanese American heritage. I was able to reconnect with some workshop leaders that I had not seen since NATC 2015 as well as meet new ones. Linda and I sat in on a part of the workshop given by Ishindaiko and learned about incorporating taiko with Brazilian rhythms.
During the Saturday lunch break, Ben Pachter, my fellow ECTC roving reporter and TCA Program Committee member, and I were able to meet and interview a few ECTC attendees. Most of them were collegiate taiko players who were at their first taiko conference. They were in awe of the workshop leaders’ talent and teaching ability, and learned many new techniques throughout the weekend.
Linda and I attended this ECTC as part of TCA’s Collegiate Taiko Advisory Committee. Fellow committee members include Steve Sano, Stanford Taiko faculty advisor and former TCA board member and Alan Okada, co-founder of Soh Daiko and current TCA board member. Our committee aims to provide institutional knowledge for large scale conference and event planning as a resource for collegiate taiko groups. Prior to this event, our focus and scope had primarily been the West Coast’s Intercollegiate Taiko Invitational, but we were happy to extend our services to the ECTC team. For the past year and a half, our committee has been meeting online bi-weekly to share best practices, discuss structure, and mitigate issues that Gendo encountered while planning for ECTC. It was amazing to see Gendo successfully host the conference.
Once again, congratulations to Kota and Gendo Taiko for an amazing ECTC. I was excited to meet all these taiko players from the East Coast and am looking forward to seeing them at NATC 2017!