In This Issue:
We hope you enjoy the March issue of Watsonville Taiko's Bachi Beat newsletter.  In this issue you will read about several exciting, not to be missed, collaborations happening this month. Drummer Sarah Rabkin shares her first experiences with taiko. New class sessions start up in March for kids, adults, and seniors. We also have a new Google calendar where you can see all our classes and upcoming performances. Lastly, planning has begun for the 25th Anniversary concert, planned for spring 2016. What an exciting milestone that will be! If you would like to help us fund this event, please click on the donation link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Domo arigato,
Joyce Smith, editor
March 6th - New classes begin at the dojo
April 12 - Watsonville Hanamatsuri Festival - Buddhist Temple
April 15 - Westlake Elem. International Night
April 19th - Morgan Hill Harumatsuri
April 25th - Cupertino Cherry Blossom Festival
April 26th - Big Sur Marathon

A Film Festival, Ballet, and Watsonville Taiko Together!
Two Exciting Collaborations in March

Join Watsonville Taiiko at the screening of East Side Sushi

On Saturday, March 7th, join us for an evening of film and drumming at the Mello center in Watsonville. The evening will begin with taiko drumming which will be followed by the film,
East Side Sushi. After the film there will be a Q & A session with the film's cast and director. All this for only $10 a ticket (actually, an all-day pass). 

After working at a fruit-vending cart for years, Juana can slice and dice anything with speed and precision. Looking for a better job for her family, she lands a position at a Japanese restaurant, discovering friendship and a new world of cuisine and culture. Eventually she attempts to become a sushi chef, embarking on a journey filled with roadblocks, surprises and self-discovery. This delightful, award-winning film makes its Santa Cruz County debut at WFF.

For more information and to order tickets, go to


On March 28th we will be once again collaborating with Santa Cruz Ballet in their annual mixed-repertory concert. It looks to be a truly exciting evening. One piece piece, "Cadence and 1", is a new creation by guest choreographer Eva Stone to music composed by Ikuyo Conant and played live by Watsonville Taiko. The performance has already been selected by the Regional Dance America, Pacific division, to be the finale number of their 50th annual festival, this year in Sacramento. What an honor for both the dancers and Watsonville Taiko! Luckily, you do not have to wait until May nor must you drive to Sacramento. You can see it at the Cabrillo's Crocker Theater. For more information about Santa Cruz Ballet, go  To order tickets to the March 28th performances, click here


Moving Energy
Notes of a Taiko Beginner
by Sarah Juniper Rabkin

Late spring at the Santa Cruz Mission Plaza: people lounging on a sunny lawn; the aroma of grilling teriyaki; colorful banners waving over rows of booths and stalls. My first visit to the Japanese Cultural Fair, some twenty years ago-and my first exposure to taiko drumming.


On the festival stage, performers wail away on drums large and small, whooping as they lift their wooden sticks to strike again and again. Their eyes are afire, their faces alive, their bodies rooted yet animated, their movements a marriage of choreographed discipline and wild exuberance. I see the drummers' spirits mirrored in the enchanted faces of mesmerized onlookers, and I feel the dance resonate in my own belly - a gigantic, thrilling "Yes!"


That was the moment I fell in love with taiko. After I finally found my way to Watsonville Taiko's classes in 2014 (why on earth did it take me two decades?), I heard Ikuyo-sensei say, "Taiko is not about banging a drum. It is about moving ki - moving energy." If you aren't moving energy from your center, she told us, then your drumming will not move people's spirits.

This principle lies at the heart of taiko, just as it defines the core truth of other time-honored disciplines. (I once heard an esteemed colleague at the university say that "teaching is moving energy around.")  Even as a beginner, I feel the energy coursing through my body during every taiko class -t hanks to the spirited instruction of Taeko-sensei and Ikuyo-sensei, and the camaraderie of fellow students.


I'm told it takes three years just to absorb the basics of drumming, and many more to begin mastering the art. I relish the journey. And I work for the day when I will join my fellow drummers at the Japanese Cultural Fair, moving energy together from that sunlit stage.


Please consider a 25th Anniversary Fund donation

Click here for a printable donation form
In 2016 Watsonville Taiko will be celebrating a quarter of a century of bringing taiko to the Monterey Bay area! We are planning for our 25th Anniversary show and need your help.  The upfront costs of mounting a show are ever increasing, from renting the theater to box office costs to costumes & props. Your tax-deductible contributions will help make the celebration possible. Domo arigato.
Interested in Becoming a Watsonville Taiko 
Board Member?
Watsonville Taiko is looking for new board members. If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact for information on how to apply. Board members are critical to fulfilling the mission of Watsonville Taiko. Board members represent the group and are advocates for its members. being a board member is a serious commitment and requires active participation in committee work, fundraising programs and general planning. Please consider becoming a board member and help us continue to build a strong and successful organization.
Non-Discrimination: It is the policy of Watsonville Taiko to provide equal membership opportunities for all persons without regard to race, political affiliations, national origins, religious creed, gender or sexual orientation.
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