We’re now approaching the end of July, and Tsukasa has stayed quite busy this summer. We played the at Chicago Half Marathon as well as the Rock’n Roll Marathon, at Millennium Park’s Family Fun tent; we have visited the University of Chicago campus numerous times this summer for our student recital, collaboration with Mwata Bowden’s X-TET Jazz Ensemble, and Miyumi Project at the Logan Center; and we just finished a weekend of playing at the Clark Street Festival and Chinatown Summer Fair. And all of those are free!
One of our summer highlights was a whirlwind weekend in San Francisco.
Tsukasa had a wonderful experience being a part of GenRyu Arts’ Japan Week in San Francisco! GenRyu hosted a week of activities in Japan town, including shamisen workshops by Grand Master Chizuru Kineya, taiko workshops by Tsukasa’s director Tatsu Aoki, and a kimono demonstration by Fujima Ryu of Chicago. The end of the week presented Melody Takata’s performance Shadow to Shadow, celebrating the release of her first album under the same name, and performances by Gen Taiko and Tsukasa Taiko.
This year, we had 4 Gintenkai performers and 4 Tsukasa class members fly out to San Francisco to take part in the performances. The top performers in each group – which form the National Gintenkai Unit – have been collaborating for Taiko Legacy and other large productions for the last 10 years. But it was a new experience for other members to go out to San Francisco and meet the rest of the members of Gen Taiko. After 2 days of rehearsals, and one long day of performances the weekend was over, but all went well as we debuted two new pieces as a national group.
It is important for Tsukasa and GenRyu to maintain this sisterhood – as we call GenRyu “our sister group in San Francisco” – to uphold our traditional aesthetic of the Japanese Arts. We would like to thank the whole GenRyu family for being wonderful hosts. We will see most of you back in December back in Chicago for Taiko Legacy 11!
If you haven’t been able to see us yet you still have a few more chances. We will be starting August at the Mitsuwa Bon Odori this Saturday the 2nd, and will be at Morton Arboretum on Sunday the 3rd for the Destination Asia Summer Festival. Check out our Facebook Page for those updates. You can also see us at Millennium Park for our last day at the Family Fun tent on Sunday, August 24th. We hope to see you all there!