Announcing Soh Daiko’s 2023 Recruitment Workshops!

September 23rd, 2023 & September 30th, 2023

Update: Registration is FULL!

Do you love taiko? Have you always wanted to try playing taiko? Have you played taiko and want to join Soh Daiko, the first taiko group on the East Coast?

Learn to play taiko and try out to be a member of the group! No experience is necessary. We will provide everything you need to play.

Registration is currently full, but you can read about our recruitment workshops here!

This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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A Trip to LA for EXTASIA!

That’s a wrap on our 2022-2023 season!

We ended our season with a trip to Los Angeles for a performance in Asano Taiko U.S.’s EXTASIA! In mid-July we boarded our New York and New Jersey flights and arrived to a warm welcome in Torrance, California. On Thursday, we arrived in LA with bachi and suitcases in hand and made our way to Asano Taiko U.S, a full-service taiko facility selling taiko related products and offering taiko classes for all levels.

We spent the weekend rehearsing, catching up with new and old taiko friends, and getting to know the area. On Friday, we rehearsed with Asano Taiko U.S.’s drums for the first time, running through our program of Soh Daiko signature pieces Yuudachi and Hachidan. Then on Saturday, we joined the other taiko groups at the venue for a technical and dress rehearsal.

Sunday, July 16 was the big day – we arrived at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Cente bright and early and got ready to start the show! We shared the stage with Miyakejima Geinou Doushikai from Japan, World Miyake Kai, Honoo Daiko from Japan, San Francisco Taiko Dojo, and Asano Taiko U.S.’s own performing groups, LATI-Gumi, UnitOne, UnitTwo, and the Asano Taiko U.S. Youth Groups, for an unforgettable celebration of Asano Taiko U.S.’s 10th anniversary. In addition to our two signature pieces, two Soh Daiko members joined representatives from the other groups for a combined piece called Summer Reprise to close the show.

Asano Taiko U.S. ended the weekend with a celebration banquet to commemorate 10 years in business. We heard stories from the company’s founders, from their students, from taiko groups who’ve been generously supported by Asano Taiko U.S., and our very own Alan Okada. Good food and the comradery of the taiko community made it the perfect conclusion to a long weekend!

We are so thankful to Asano Taiko U.S. for giving us this opportunity–it was an incredible experience meeting and playing with this incredible group of taiko players, and we’re glad we could bring some East Coast energy to LA. A big thank you also goes out to founding Soh Daiko members Alan Okada and Merle Mieko Okada and former members Nick Loh and Yue Qiu for returning to join us for this concert–we couldn’t have done it without you!

For the rest of the summer, our members will be enjoying a much-deserved break from rehearsals. But we’ll be back at it again in September, starting with our annual recruitment on September 23rd and 30th. Save the date now and check back here for more info in September–we hope to see you there!

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Happy Pride from Soh Daiko!

We are proud to have shown our love and support for the LGBTQ+ community at the NYC Pride March this past Sunday. We walked with the New York Buddhist Church and friends in the humid heat, playing handheld drums and twirling ribbons for crowds down 5th Avenue and through the West Village. In this time of increasing oppression for LGBTQ+ people, we cherished being able to celebrate and support one another in the fight for human rights for all.

Soh Daiko members, friends, and members of the New York Buddhist Church at the 2023 Pride March!
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Welcome, Charlotte & HanBin!

We are happy to announce our two newest performing members, Charlotte Whatley and HanBin Baik! Both Charlotte and HanBin joined our trainee program last fall and have practiced and performed with us throughout the year. You may have seen them playing the in our signature piece “Matsuri” as well as our newest piece, “Tsunagu”, which was taught to us by Kodo.

Charlotte began her taiko career with Gendo Taiko at Brown University, where she played for four years. Outside of Soh Daiko, Charlotte works as a tech analyst at Citigroup and does research on foundational models with the Center for Tech Responsibility at Brown. When she’s not working or playing taiko, Charlotte enjoys playing cello, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Photos by Patrick Dufreche (1), Veronica Diaz (2), Peter Lichtenthal (3)

HanBin started Taiko with Stony Brook’s Taiko Tides and continued with New York Taiko Aiko Kai after graduating. He currently works as an App Developer in the Pest Control industry, and additionally serves as a Co-Chair of the Membership Committee in the Taiko Community Alliance. Outside of work and taiko, HanBin enjoys playing the piano and writing music.

Photos by Veronica Diaz (1-2), Peter Lichtenthal (3)

We are excited to see Charlotte and HanBin grow as performing members in the years to come. Please join us in offering them your congratulations and full support!

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Cherry Blossom Festivals Abound & More Shows to Come!

Between Bloomfest at NJ’s Branch Brook Park, JAANY’s Sakura Matsuri at Flushing Corona Park, and Randall’s Island’s Earth Day festival, we hope you got a chance to see us while the cherry blossom’s were in bloom!

Bloomfest! at Branch Brook Park
Photos by Matthew Tom-Wolverton

Now we’re gearing up for our May performances, starting with the Queens Public Library this Sunday, 5/7. Located at the Central Library in Jamaica, Queens, we will take the stage with favorite Soh Daiko pieces, plus audience participation and education on the history of taiko. This event is free and great for the whole family!

JAA’s Sakura Matsuri (left) & Randall’s Island Earth Day (middle & right)
Photos by Veronica Diaz

This past month we also joined Japanese Ambassador Mikio Mori for a press conference to announce this year’s Japan Parade on Saturday, May 13th! In just a couple weeks, we will drum our way down Central Park West alongside a host of other performers and community groups, featuring Grand Marshal Kristi Yamaguchi. This year there will also be a street fair held concurrently on West 72nd. You can read more about the parade at some through some of the press coverage – see here, here, and more! We hope to see you there!

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