Taiko drummers are set to teach the rhythms of Japan

Drumming program was a huge hit last time it was in Qualicum Beach

A celebration filled with art and music is taking place at the Old School House Arts Centre (TOSH) in Qualicum Beach this month, as the building marks one hundred years of active service.

July 28 will see a number of activities for all ages, including an anticipated Taiko drumming concert and workshop by two celebrated Japanese drummers.

About five years ago during TOSH’s Harvest of Music Festival, a Taiko drumming ensemble was brought over from Japan, thrilling a local audience with their dynamic music, dance and costume. A workshop filled up following the performance and residents appealed for more.  Ron Hadley, director of music programming at TOSH, promised residents more Taiko drumming in the future.

“I thought this would be a good year to deliver on that promise,” he said.

Two drummers from that original ensemble will be putting on two weeks of workshops leading up to the event this year, and they will then perform alone, with their students, and with a Taiko ensemble from Victoria on July 28.

Hadley said there is no experience necessary to join a workshop, just an interest in this ancient Japanese art form.

“This is really being presented as a intercultural recreation opportunity that can be shared between the Japanese people and all the people in our community.”

Taiko is a drumming style involving an array of different sized drums. Taiko drums are said to have been used in Japan for over 1400 years and are used today throughout Japanese culture in celebratory circumstances, festivals, religious ceremonies, shrine and court rituals.

“They are locked in to the grassroots soul of Japan,” Hadley explained.

TOSH’s executive director, Corrine James, said the workshops are a wonderful opportunity for people to have authentic lessons.

“Its a workout, it’s a workshop on ethnic music, and drumming is something that is, I think, primordial, and something that speaks to all of us.”

The first week-long workshop runs from July 16 to 20, followed by the July 23 to 27 class. Classes are split into three categories: morning, afternoon and evenings for ages 6-12, 13-17 and over 18 respectively. July 28 activities will run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with the Japanese Taiko drumming concert at 2 p.m. More information on the July 28 event will be coming up in The News. For more information on the workshop call TOSH at 250-752-6133 or visit www.theoldschoolhouse.org.