Drums of the Dragon Part Three: Concert Notes

June 11, 2016

On June 12, 2016, Midnight Taiko will be writing taiko history in Calgary! For the first time in our city, our taiko players will be performing alongside musicians of the Calgary Wind Symphony, in a joint concert entitled DRUMS OF THE DRAGON!

The first half of the concert will feature the Calgary Wind Symphony performing works such as Occident and Orient, Grand March Op. 25 by Camille Saint Saëns. To close the first half, will be the exciting Gloriosa, by Yasuhide Ito. Midnight Performers Yoshiko, Marty, (chudaiko) and Paula (odaiko) will be joining the ensemble for this piece. Gloriosa will also feature a solo on ryutecki (transverse Japanese flute) performed by CWS flute player Alisa.

After intermission, Midnight Taiko will take the stage and perform four selections:


Omiyage will be the energetic opening piece for Midnight. Omiyage was written by Shoji Kameda in 2004 and refers to the traditional Japanese custom of gift-giving. Omiyage is a celebration of the love of taiko, the excitement of seeing taiko for the first time, and the open, sharing attitude that is North American Taiko. Midnight Members John, Paula, and Anny travelled to Los Angeles in 2015 to learn the piece from TaikoPROJECT and brought it back to Calgary. The piece will feature John and Yosh on shime/okedo multidrum, and Paula, Rico, TL, and Nori on naname chudaiko.


After Omiyage is completed, there will be a transition to Matsuri. Matsuri is a traditional taiko piece that is widely-known all over the taiko world. Midnight’s newest official performing member Holly will begin with a solo on the shinobue (bamboo flute). She will then be joined by Midnight Apprentice Brenda on the shime, Karen on odaiko, and Apprentices Marty, Tahra, and Sara on naname chudaiko. They will be performing with Midnight founder Ben, who has been with the group since its creation ten years ago! Matsuri is usually one of the first songs that Midnight Taiko members learn, and is taught as part of the Fall Intermediate Workshop series. More information about taking workshops can be found here.


Matsuri will end with a transition, featuring John on sling okedo. This is an exciting new form of taiko for Midnight, learned by John, Paula, and Anny in their studies with TaikoPROJECT. The next piece is entitled Wachi, and Midnight learned this song from Kita no Taiko in Edmonton. Wachi is a traditional New Year’s Eve song, and drummers dance from one drum to the next. TL will be performing on shime, and Nori, Yosh, Rico, and Paula will be dancing from one naname chudaiko to the next.


Seiryuu will be the exciting final number to the Midnight Taiko segment of the concert. This song originated in Japan, and Midnight performs this song as taught to us by Wai Taiko in New Zealand. Seiryuu is probably one of the more intricate songs in Midnight’s repertoire, as the chudaiko are placed closer together, and drummers play on two drums at one time, while moving down the drum line. The song will begin with Member John on Odaiko, and Yoshiko on hyoushigi (clave-like percussion instrument). Chudaiko players Paula, Rico, TL, Ben, and Nori will then join. John and Yosh transition to the shime halfway through the song, and drive the group to the finish.

The stage will then be reset for the Calgary Wind Symphony, during which we will be talking a little bit about taiko, some history and information about the drums. We will also be teaching the audience some taiko rhythms that will be used at the end of the concert!

After a few more selections from the Calgary Wind Symphony, the finale will be The Great Wave by Shin’ya Takahashi. Eight taiko drummers will be onstage for this piece: Members Paula, Nori, Yoshiko, TL, John, and Rico, and Apprentices Tahra and Marty! This will be a very exciting opportunity for all musicians involved!

Tickets are available online at: Calgary Wind Symphony’s website