2017 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Happy Thanksgiving! As is our annual custom, Tsukasa began our day at the 2017 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade on WGN TV.  This year we had more of our chibikko players join us for our early morning show. Thank you to the parents who braved the morning cold and brought us a lovely Thanksgiving breakfast!

Follow the link below and fast forward to 1 hour mark to watch our performance!
Watch WGN-TV’s 2017 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade on-demand


Summer 2017 Enikki Diaries

The end of the year is almost upon us. Tsukasa has two more large performances: the anuual McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and of course our end of the year Taiko Legacy and Reduction concerts at the MCA. We just finished another busy yet successful summer season, from our Night Out in the Parks series to Mitsuwa’s Summer Bon Dance Festival. We of course had our San Francisco friends come to Chicago and we even recorded a new Gintenkai album! (Coming soon~)

This summer we decided to gave our students an enikki homework project. Enikki is a picture diary that is given to students over the summer to present their most memorable moments. So we had our students draw and write about their Tsukasa moments with the promise that one drawing would be printed onto a bag.

This year’s bag features our chibikko member Eita’s drawing!

Look through gallery to see all of our participating members’ drawings and memories!

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Thank you Genryu!

Summer is one of the busiest times for Tsukasa Taiko and the first week in August is one of our busiest. Last year, one of our National Gintenkai members Wesley from Genryu Arts flew in to help us. This year 7 players from Genryu flew in for a week to play with Tsukasa’s chibikko, Cool Ladies and Gintenkai Unit throughout the city. We had a total of 9 shows in 5 days: an educational program at Montessori Language Academy; Night Out in the Parks series at HAAS Park and Ping Tom Park; Family Fun at Millennium Park; and two days at the Morton Arboretum’s Destination Asia Festival.  We also squeezed in a few rehearsals in preparation for our annual Taiko Legacy and Reduction shows in December.

It was a packed schedule but a wonderful experience because it was one of the few times that our National Gintenkai Project can come and perform together. It was also important to have the younger GRA members come and play with Gintenkai as well as Tsukasa’s other members; to introduce them to the strength of our national relationship between Genryu in San Francisco and Tsukasa in Chicago.

Thank you so much to the performers and parents for flying out!

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Visit to Global Pungmul Institute

Today Tsukasa’s Gintenkai members went to visit Global Pungmul Institute to do a short cultural presentation. The visit was part of our cultural exchange that was initiated last year when SoriBeat came to our dojo to present Samulnori. it presents a wonderful opportunity to share and preserve our respective drumming cultures. Thank you so much for having us. We are looking forward to more future collaborations!

Tsukasa will also join GPI’s Project Ul-ssi-gu again this year which will be held on Sunday, August 14 at Wrigley Square in Millennium Park.


Glen Grove/ Westgrove Elementary Educational Presentations

Part of Tsukasa Taiko/ AIRMW’s program involves educational presentations about our traditional Japanese arts and legacy. We often do out presentations in Japanese for schools that have a Japanese language component. Today, we visited The Glen Grove and Westgrove Elementary schools in Glenview for a cultural program hosted by the district’s PTA group. It was quite a busy day as we had a total of 4 sessions between the two schools. The kids were wonderful and  we thank you all for having us!

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Kellogg Japan Festival & Festival of Nations University of Chicago

Tsukasa had a busy day today, celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at two events. The first was at Festival of Nations at University of Chicago, an evening of multicultural musical celebrations. We have been invited to this event for the past few years but this year featured a collaboration with band Funkadesi. It was definitely a wonderful experience! Thank you!

Our other performance was for Northwestern’s Kellogg School’s Japan Night hosted by Japan Club. Each year we teach a group of students a song for them to play at the festival as part of our program. This year we had eight participants and they did a great job. お疲れさまでした!

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APA International House, Univ. of Chicago

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage month! It was officially signed into law in 1992, with May chosen as the designated month to commemorate the first Japanese to immigrant to come to the US in 1843. Tsukasa had a performance at University of Chicago’s International House this afternoon to start off the celebrations for this month. We had our frequent collaborators Fujima Ryu of Chicago with us as well. Thank you to the International House who supports and hosts us every year. We’ll be back again on Saturday, May 21 for the annual Festival of Nations at 5:30pm. We hope to see you there!

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Stomping Grounds 2016

Tsukasa just played this evening at the Garfield Park Conservatory for Stomping Grounds series hosted by the Chicago Human Rhythm Project.  We played in multiple locations throughout the conservatory and ended the evening with a collaborative fusion of taiko, jazz and tap dancing. Director of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project Lane Alexander was explaining that many tap dancers refer to themselves as percussive dancers. And Tsukasa Taiko specializes in songs that emphasize dance and choreography so it was a wonderful celebration and dialogue between dance and percussion. We also both share similar philosophies of maintaining the traditional forms of musical arts.

The series continues through May with more free community shows and culminates with a ticketed concert at the Auditorium Theater on June 4th. Make sure to check them out.

Thank you so much for having us!

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