‘The art of taiko’

'The art of taiko'

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Taiko drummers that entertained at last year's event.

Hearing the enchanted sounds and the rhythmic beating of the taiko drums, which is a form of drum art from Japan during ancient times, happens once a year for the Pacific Buddhist Academy (PBA). On March 4, the Pacific Buddhist Academy’s sixth annual Taiko and Karaoke Festival will be at Pearl City Cultural Center from 2-4 p.m.

Blayne Higa, the development director, said this event showcases the school’s taiko performers. When students enter PBA as freshmen, they take taiko as a requirement. They find that taiko is one of the reflected arts, like martial arts or yoga, which is a physical discipline that helps ground the students mentally, physically and spiritually. It is a way to help bring focus into their lives.

This year’s theme for the performance is “the lessons of the bamboo.” Higa said it refers to the nature of the bamboo as being a strong but flexible type of plant. When it moves in the wind, it bends without breaking. Some of those metaphors transcend into life lessons and is what taiko and the school are trying to teach their students. That is how to be strong but flexible as well and that you are able to weather the storms of life without breaking.

“I think that those are some good lessons for the world today,” Higa said. “That we can be mindful and flexible but also yet be strong, as well.”

At last year's event one could engage in the art of taiko. Photo courtesy of Pacific Buddhist Academy.

Interspersed between the taiko performances will be karaoke singers and other local entertainment in order to break up the afternoon. Local entertainer Ron Miyashiro will also perform. Also Tevita Apina, the 2011 KZOO Radio Karaoke Grand Champion and friends will be performing.

For Koki Atcheson, class of 2015 of Pacific Buddhist Academy, it is her first time participating in the Taiko Festival. She moved here at the beginning of the school year from Seattle. While she was in Seattle she practiced taiko for about three years.

“The main thing that I am telling myself is to have fun and play my hardest,” Atcheson said. “Try not to make a mistake, but not beat myself if I do.”

The performers have done a great deal of preparation and even though she is a little nervous, she feels ready for it. They have been putting in a lot of practice not only in the songs but to learn the rhythm and to get up the athleticism in order to be able to sustain the high energy it takes for drumming.

Atcheson first started learning songs at the beginning of the school year. Around November, the performers have been practicing for the performance.

Higa said that every year, and this year as well, the students put a great deal of effort into their performance. The audience will be able to see an enjoyable performance in the art of taiko.

To purchase tickets one can go to the website or call the PBC office. General admission is $15, senior (65 and older) are $12 and tickets at the door are $20.