Last year, Nen Daiko started a taiko group for teens aged 12-17 called Dounen Daiko, named by Rev. Hayashi, Ekoji’s resident minister, and meaning "child or offspring of Nen Daiko." The group has grown to seven participants. On February 9, they performed at the Greenspring Retirement Community. Nothing motivates like an upcoming performance!
This was the first time we performed at Greenspring and we hoped the residents would enjoy the show. It was great to see the room fill completely.
Dounen Daiko started by singing the kuchishoga or the spoken rhythms of the song. Starting with voices rather than drums allowed the audience to get used to the volume. When Dounen Daiko started playing, some residents covered their ears but soon they got used to the sound and feeling of the booming taiko.
After the show, Dounen Daiko invited residents to play taiko. Some residents walked to the drums while others made their way with wheelchairs and walkers. In some cases, we carried the taiko to their seats. At least half the audience gave it a try. Their beaming faces was the best thank you ever. The Dounen Daiko performers were very encouraging with the residents and seemed to have a natural ability to engage across the generations.
We saw such an incredible level of enthusiasm from the Dounen Daiko members – both on and off stage. We saw members growing in confidence and skill in just a few months. We are so proud of them and appreciate how well they represent Ekoji with their passion, kindness, and spirit!
Thank you to Greenspring Retirement Community (Uvonne and Maria!) and to the parents of the Dounen members who fed all of us before the performance. Thank you especially to Mike Gallan for taking these beautiful photos. Hopefully they will play taiko with us some day!