Asano Taiko Spring Recital March 8, 2009

I went to get my haircut yesterday. It's nice and short now. My friends and co-workers now know what my short haircut means. As soon as I come to work the next day, they ask me, "So when is your taiko concert?"

This time it is this Sunday afternoon (March 8) I will play in three groups, Mayumi (my wife) will play in two and my daughter will play in one. It will be a busy day. We'll really have to give it our best, though. This time there will be a lot of people coming to see it, including some of my students, co-workers and my parents have even traveled all the way from Michigan to see the performance. (Well, that wasn't the only reason they came.)

So this past week has been filled with taiko practices driven by the thought: "This is our last chance to practice altogether before the big event." Our most challenging group, Jigen, does not feel very well prepared. I am certain that all of us have made improvements since our October debut, but the song we took on to learn for this recital is significantly more challenging, in that for half of it, all 9 of us are playing shime taiko. And if you are a regular reader of this blog, or a taiko player, you will already know that getting 9 shime taiko to play in exact unison is not an easy task.

The other group my wife and I play in together is Shin-Matto Bayashi. This time around it certainly will be "shin" (new) because for the first time in a long time, we will be playing with Shamisen players, which will add a nice melodic element to the piece. The piece also calls for a flute part and is we actually only perform half of it. When played in full, it is maybe more than 20 minutes long and for these recitals, there are so many groups that need to play, each one is limited to 10 minutes. The time restraints, as well as a decline in members in recent years, has led to a stripped down version of Shin-Matto Bayashi. Therefore, it has been quite a while since anyone has seen it performed with the Shamisen players. Maybe next time we can add back the flute parts.

The group I play in by myself, Yume Mitai is playing the same song we have played the past three concerts, but this time around, many people have switched parts. I moved to Shime Taiko, along with two other nagado players and one of the Odaiko players. Two of the original shime taiko players moved to the nagado part, the other one moved to Odaiko. One other nagado player also moved to Odaiko. With so many people moving around to different parts, it is also likely that, although this is the fourth time we have performed this piece, it will probably sound a bit different.

I was going to write about the advice I got from Yamada sensei about playing shime daiko in a group, but I think I will save that for next time, as this has already gotten longer than I had intended.

No comments: