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San Jose Taiko Ensemble Giving Drum Beat to Performing Arts Series

October 1, 2014

San Jose Taiko1

Powerful Sounds: San Jose Taiko members are recognized throughout the world for their propulsive sounds of taiko drums.

The rhythmic heartbeat from the powerful, spellbinding, and propulsive sounds of taiko drums will kick off Rose-Hulman’s 2014-15 Performing Arts Series with a show by the San Jose Taiko ensemble on Monday, October 6 in the Hatfield Hall Theater.

Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming and founded in 1973 by young Asian Americans, the California-based group became one of the first American taiko ensembles invited to tour Japan.

The taiko drum embodies the spiritual essence and heartbeat of Japan, replete with continued possibilities, renewal, and transformation. With its roots in the daily life of the Japanese people, taiko served many purposes. In keeping with tradition, the practice and performance of taiko requires dedication, physical endurance, harmony, and a collective spirit.

San Jose Taiko members are more than performers; they contribute to the longevity of the Japanese heritage. Each member dedicates five to 15 hours each week to rehearse, perform, and teach workshops and classes.

Franco Imperial has been a member of the ensemble’s artistic staff since 2001, and became artistic director in 2011. His Taiko career has developed since 1998 under the close guidance of PJ Hirabayashi, a founding member of San Jose Taiko and considered a pioneer of North American taiko.

PJ, along with her husband, Roy, received the 2011 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award for their lifelong contributions to the North American taiko art form. Her new project, TaikoPeace, is a movement dedicated to unleashing creativity and healing the human spirit through the dynamic energy of taiko.

Another ensemble leader is Executive Director Wisa Uemura, who has more than 20 years of experience playing taiko. She performs nationally and internationally, composes original works, and leads the group’s master classes.

Each show by San Jose Taiko features as many as 12 other performers and six associate members/apprentice performers.

Tickets for this special show are $25 for adults and $20 for youths. Purchase tickets online at, calling 812-877-8544, or visiting the Hatfield Hall Ticket Desk from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays or noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the show.

Performing Arts Series Show

San Jose Taiko

Monday, October 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Hatfield Hall Theater

Tickets: $25 for adults; $20 for youths

For tickets, visit; call 812-877-8544; or visit the Hatfield Hall Ticket Desk from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays or noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

San Jose Taiko2

Continuing Japanese Heritage: The taiko drum embodies the spiritual essence and heartbeat of Japan, and has served many purposes in every day Japanese lifestyles.