Kaminari Taiko's mission includes outreach to our community through workshops, performances, classes, and demonstrations.
An important part of Kaminari Taiko's mission is to give back to our community. Through performances, classes, cultural demonstrations, and interactive workshops, we entertain and educate enthusiastic audiences.
In addition to providing performances at local cultural events like the Houston Japan Festival, Kaminari often partners with local organizations to spread knowledge of Japanese culture and music.
Our Student Performance Ensemble: The Thunderstudies
Kaminari Taiko's Apprentice-level students perform at community events as the Thunderstudies. We provide these performances free of charge with the goal of sharing taiko more widely throughout our local community.
To request a Thunderstudies performance, please click the link below to fill out a request form. Requests will be evaluated based on how well they fit the following criteria:
- Located in the Houston area
- Educational or non-profit purpose
- Weekend dates strongly preferred
- Connection to arts and culture
- Opportunity to share taiko with a new or under-served audience
Taiko in Schools
Kaminari Taiko is currently developing a Taiko in Schools program to bring taiko classes to local schools. We are planning to launch a pilot version of the program in the 2015-16 school year.
We are currently looking for input from local educators as we design a program that can best serve Houston students and schools. Learn more about the program or sign up for our Taiko in Schools mailing list: Click here to visit the Taiko in Schools page.
One Heart Taiko Tour
About the Tour
Kaminari Taiko's One Heart Taiko Tour is a series of fun-filled, hands-on, educational taiko workshops and taiko performances for children of all ages. The primary mission of the Tour is to provide these workshops and performances free of charge to support organizations for children with special needs, hospitals, and similar institutions. As our schedule allows, we will also provide the programs free of charge to schools at all levels from elementary schools to universities throughout Texas.
Taiko are Japanese drums that have been played for thousands of years in many different contexts. In the modern style of taiko that we perform, many people play together as an ensemble, weaving together the energies of individual performers. Drumming is a powerful way for people of all ages to express themselves through rhythm and experience the joy of making music as a group. We hope to inspire children across Texas to learn about themselves and their world and teach them how to play from the heart.
The One Heart Taiko Tour leaders are selected from among the most experienced Kaminari Taiko performers. Our curriculum focuses on Japanese culture, Japanese language, fundamental musical concepts, physical activity, and hands-on experience, plus how to work together and listen to each other's instruments. Our curriculum is adaptable for all ages and ability levels; we will work closely with your organization to determine how to make our program accessible and inspirational to the children you serve.
Honorary Chairman Seiichi Tanaka
The Honorary Chairman of the One Heart Taiko Tour is Taiko Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka, founder of San Francisco Taiko Dojo and a world leader in the development of taiko as an art form and a powerful means of cross-cultural communication. [Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka, Honorary Chairman of the One Heart Taiko Tour] After founding the first taiko school in North America in 1968, Grand Master Tanaka has worked ceaselessly to preserve, develop, and share the culture and philosophy of taiko with the world. He has taught more than 10,000 students, many of whom have gone on to form over 200 taiko groups throughout North America.
Grand Master Tanaka's work has been recognized many times, most notably in 2001, when the National Endowment for the Arts named him one of thirteen National Heritage Fellows, one of the nation's highest honors in folk and traditional arts. In 2003, Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs honored Grand Master Tanaka with its prestigious Foreign Ministers Commendation in tribute to his decades of work promoting peaceable relations between Japan and the rest of the world through the spread of the Japanese art of taiko drumming.
Kaminari Taiko is honored to receive Grand Master Tanaka's support and guidance in creating and developing the One Heart Taiko Tour. We hope to continue his forty-year tradition of promoting the art of taiko drumming and educating people around the world in Japanese art and culture.
On September 18, 2009, at the Grand Taiko Concert, the Consul-General of Japan publicly recognized Kaminari Taiko's cultural outreach efforts with a Commendation.
The English translation reads, "The Consul-General of Japan extends his deepest regards to Kaminari Taiko in recognition of their distinguished service in contributing to the deepening of mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and the United States of America. Tsutomu Osawa, Consul-General of Japan at Houston."