We are excited to announce that, following our 2-day recruitment intensive, seven new trainees were invited to participate in our 2018-2019 Soh Daiko Trainee Program. Recruitment is a regular event, typically held at the beginning of our performance season. Potential recruits are asked to join us for two high-intensity days of taiko where they are challenged to push themselves through conditioning exercises, drumming technique drills, and even learning a short piece of repertoire. This year’s Trainee Program marks the beginning of a particularly special year as we enter our 40th anniversary season. A strong combination of new players with fresh potential and experienced players looking to continue their growth, we are confident that this new group of trainees are up to the challenge of the demanding year ahead.
When Soh Daiko was established in 1979, we were the first kumidaiko group to form on the east coast and the 12th group to form in North America overall. Today, Soh Daiko has seen 81 members pass through its ranks. After 40 years, we maintain the core beliefs and values that served as the foundation of our group and perform a long-standing repertoire using styles that have been passed down throughout each new generation; we stand on the shoulders of the former members who have developed our music, lovingly stretched and re-stretched the skins on our taiko drums, and advanced the art of Japanese American taiko music. Thanks to this strong foundation, we have also witnessed an immense amount of growth and change – as the taiko community continues to grow worldwide, each individual in Soh Daiko commits to pursuing personal growth, ultimately bringing in new experiences and skills that will allow us as a group to unite and grow stronger together.
With gratitude to the generations of Soh Daiko members who came before us, we look forward to the adventures that await us in our 40th anniversary season. With a trainee class made up of university students and working professionals, of individuals who have performed as members of collegiate groups or community ensembles in Japan (or never played taiko before in their lives!), of locals and travelers commuting from as far as Connecticut, this Next Generation is bursting with potential. We are proud of how far the North American taiko community has come since its beginnings with Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka 50 years ago and for our part in that long history, and can’t wait to see what the future has in store.