TCA Launch

TCA Inaugural Gathering 2013

The Taiko Community Alliance held its inaugural gathering August 23-25, 2013 at the Stanford University Music Department. Participants at this meeting helped shape the core values, guiding principles, governance structure and initial activities of the TCA.


The TCA Launch Meeting was designed so that representative voices from throughout the taiko community could be heard. Half of the seats for this event were filled by recognized leaders in the taiko community (as identified by members of the NATC Advisory Council), while the other half were filled through an open application process. In addition to those attending in person, TCA allowed others throughout the community to provide input through an interview activity.  Meeting participants were matched with non-participants and conducted one-on-one interviews that provided additional insights and viewpoints that could be brought into the meeting. Prior to the event, TCA also launched the “Taiko Census” which generated almost 1,400 responses. The results of the census were used to provide additional insights for meeting participants during the core values and guiding principles discussion.

 Friday, August 23, 2013

TCA Launch: Opening Session

The TCA Launch Meeting opened with an official welcome from Geoff Noone, the TCA Launch Meeting Coordinator.

Alan Okada, member of the TCA Advisory Board, then introduced the purpose of the TCA Launch Meeting and outlined the desired outcomes for the weekend. 

TCA Board Member Roy Hirabayashi then gave a presentation on the history of the North American Taiko Conference and its origins as a program of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC).

Roy’s presentation can be found here: NATC Historical Perspective. Information and images thanks to the North American Taiko Conference, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, Roy Hirabayashi, Kevin Higa, Bryan Yamami, Lesley Handa, Darren Endo, Yuta Kato, Linda Uyechi, Peter Spangler, Susan Yuen, and Elise Fujimoto.

North American taiko groups through the years (1965-2013)

Animation by TCA Launch Intern, Sarah Yamamoto.

Finally, TCA Board Member Johnny Mori spoke about the formation of the Taiko Community Alliance in 2012, and the official hand-off of the North American Taiko Conference from the JACCC.

He read the following letter from Leslie Ito, Executive Director of the JACCC

Saturday, August 24, 2013

    • On Saturday before lunch, TCA Transitional Board member Wisa Uemura delivered a presentation on NATC 2011 Processes and Best Practices. 
    • Wisa presented the goals, timeline, budget, staffing, and main takeaways from the point of view of the Local Committee who hosted the conference at Stanford in 2011. 
    • Participants were able to ask questions of Wisa, the other Advisory Board members and Yuta Kato, the Conference Coordinator.
    • The Improvisation Workshop was presented in simultaneous sessions with the Design Thinking workshop on Saturday afternoon. 
    • This session was designed as an opportunity for Launch Meeting participants to experience new and different ways to approach the art and craft of improvisation. 
    • Mark Applebaum, Stanford Associate Professor of Composition, acclaimed experimentalist composer, and director of the Stanford Improvisation Collective, led participants through a process that encourages out-of-the-box thinking and interacting in the improvisation environment. 
    • After dinner on Saturday, Steve Sano led participants in a tour of the new Bing Concert Hall, which opened in January 2013 as the new home for music performance at Stanford. 
    • Bing is also home to a brand new set of Miyamoto concert taiko drums, which were acquired as part of the concert hall’s resident set of musical instruments. 
    • When Stanford acquired the taiko, they wanted to find ways to share them with the greater taiko community. The TCA Launch Meeting was the perfect opportunity to do so. 
    • Yuta Kato led the Launch Meeting participants in a 1-hour “jam” session on the beautiful new drums.