Taiko Programs That Pay

A panel discussion on financial stability in community taiko groups – presented live on March 5, 2022.

Moderated by Sascha Molina.


Eileen Morgan
Artistic and Executive Director, Fushicho Daiko Dojo

Eileen started her Taiko career as co-teacher of a Taiko program at Phoenix Day School for the Deaf in 1993. She began formal lessons the following year with Esther Vandecar, founder of Fushicho Daiko Dojo. Eileen has developed and implemented numerous educational programs for students with special needs, at-risk populations, including foster care settings, juvenile corrections facilities as well as schools and community centers. As director of Fushicho Daiko, Eileen is the sole instructor for the professional performing group, five community groups and the annual gathering and performances of the All Arizona Taiko Team which includes 2 additional Arizona based Taiko studios. She travels to Japan to study with teachers that include 35+ year relationships and additional teachers Art Lee, Kurumaya Sensei/Fukuii, Oedo Sukeroku Taiko and Kodo.

Eileen holds numerous licenses from Hiroshima Taiko Honzonkai, a B.S. degree in Music Education K-12 and a Master’s Ed. degree in Deaf Education, K-12.

Jennifer Weir
Executive Director, TaikoArts Midwest

Jennifer Weir has been passionately studying, performing, teaching, and composing Taiko for the past two decades. Mr. Weir is the founding Executive Director of TaikoArts Midwest, Artistic Director of Ensō Daiko (formerly Mu Daiko), and a performing member of ensembe-MA, led by Iris Shiraishi. She recently produced and directed the groundbreaking HERbeat concert, and is producing the documentary film, called “Finding her beat”. Ms. Weir is also a theater director and dramaturg with Theater Mu, and a past recipient of grants from Live Music for Dance MN, MN State Arts Board, MN Regional Arts Board, Arts International, American Composers Forum, and a Jerome MN Travel Grant. By day, Ms. Weir is a Financial Analyst and uses her business acumen to manage and keep her artistic projects on budget.

Karen Falkenstrom
Director, Odaiko Sonora

Known in school programs as “Lee sensei,” Karen is co-founder and Director of Odaiko Sonora and also serves as a performer, instructor, and lead taiko-builder for the group. She has studied with Tiffany Tamaribuchi, San Jose Taiko, and Shidara among others, and is a member of Tamaribuchi’s Jodaiko and North American Kasuga Onigumi. A three-decade veteran of nonprofit arts, Karen’s honors include a 2008 YWCA Woman of the Move award, 2009 Pan Asian Community Alliance Women of the Year, the prestigious Arizona Arts Award (2009), a 2014 Tucson Pima Arts and Business “Lumie,” and ACA Artist Research & Development Grant. In addition to Odaiko Sonora, she also runs Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, an artist-owned incubator space dedicated to the creation and rehearsal of performance art. Karen has a BS in architectural design from the University of Virginia and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona.

Mark H Rooney
Director, The Mark H Taiko School

Mark H Rooney – “the world’s most dangerous half-Japanese/half-Scottish solo improvisational taiko artist” – has been studying, teaching and performing taiko in Japan, Europe and the North American Taiko Community for 20+ years. Based in the Washington, DC area, Mark’s credits as a performing artist span multiple continents and genres. He began his taiko career in Boston, MA as a performing member of Odaiko New English in 1998. He has since performed with a number of groups in Japan as well as performing widely in Europe and the United States as a touring member of Taikoza. Mark has also collaborated with other artists and groups including Tiger Okoshi, Oper unMet, UpRooted Dance, Arts on the Horizon, and ilyAIMY.

Other credits include working staff positions for the North American Taiko Conference, contract Staff positions for Kodo, teaching at NATC, ETC, ECTC, Toronto Taiko Festival and working with dozens of groups and thousands of students to share his passion for kumi-daiko and his unique teaching style. In 2018, Mark self-produced the inaugural CONNECT conference as a way to serve his regional taiko community and welcome taiko players from all over the world to connect.

Skip to content