Hello! My name is Ben Pachter. Along with fellow Pittsburgh Taiko member Erin Kelly, I’ll be serving as chaperone for the August 2016 TOMODACHI Ties Through Taiko trip to Japan. Over the next 2 weeks, I’ll be providing updates about the trip as it happens, uploading pictures and videos as I recap the daily activities for our blog readers.
The 10 participants in the program leave for Japan this Friday, and are incredibly excited to embark on this journey. As we make final preparations, I wanted to open up the blog by introducing you to the program, the participants, and what we’ve been up to over the past year.
From August 7 to 16, 2015, seven middle school and high school students from the Pittsburgh area participated in the first round of a cultural exchange as part of the TOMODACHI Ties Through Taiko program. They welcomed to Pittsburgh 12 students from Nihon Fukushi University Affiliated High School’s wadaiko club “Rakko.” Over the course of a week, the students practiced taiko together, visited cultural sites across the Pittsburgh area, and learned more about the role that arts organizations have played in Pittsburgh’s renaissance. The week culminated in a joint taiko performance by both groups at Pittsburgh CAPA. A slideshow with highlights from the exchange can be seen below, and more videos can be seen on the Pittsburgh Taiko YouTube page:
After part one of the exchange was done, the students began preparing for the next part: a trip to Japan in August 2016. Five of the students who participated in the August 2015 exchange were joined by five more high school students from across the Pittsburgh area. I'll let them introduce themselves...
Over the past year, the students have been preparing for their trip, practicing weekly and performing across Pittsburgh (including a pre-trip performance at Pittsburgh CAPA on July 21):
Now, they are making their final preparations for a trip to Mihama, Aichi Prefecture, where they will be engage in the second part of the TOMODACHI Ties Through Taiko Exchange. Stay tuned to this blog for daily (hopefully) updates from the trip!