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Aurora - born the day after our concert
Aurora, a True Taiko Kid
She joined us on West Cliff for Open Streets and had a great time.  Perhaps it is because her mother went into labor at one of our performances! Aurora must have wanted to see what her mother was watching that day. Maybe she'll be drumming with us in a few more years.
Watsonville Taiko is grateful for the ongoing community support including
funding from the Arts Council Santa Cruz
The end of summer usually means the schedule slows down a bit for Watsonville Taiko.  Drummers look forward to having a few weekends performance-free.  But not this year! Over  the past 7 weeks we have celebrated our local communities from  Aromas  to Land of the Medicine Buddha and most recently Santa Cruz Open Streets.  

We have joined other non-profits raising funds for great causes including Jacob's Heart /Kidrageous in Watsonville. We had a great day on the beach with the Walk to End Alzheimers (and had a great visit from a humpback right off shore!). We spent a good part of one day at the Discovery Learning Center in Santa Cruz leading workshops before performing a great family concert!

There were performances that tugged at us emotionally as well.  We joined the Tannery Arts community's celebration of dance and music as they heal from the sorrow of this summer's terrible tragedy.  And, just a few days ago, we said goodbye to Coco Lazenby, a 12 year old firecracker whose light was extinguished too soon.

Two of our drummers recently had surgery in their battles against cancer. Cat & Pam, our thoughts are with you every day.

Joy and sorrow,  laughter and tears, life and death, healing and rebirth.  Taiko and the power of the drum gives us strength, helps us celebrate and helps us say goodbye.  It's why we drum.

Upcoming Events
  • November 8, Big Sur Half Marathon in Pacific Grove.  We are by Asilomar at the 1/2 way point
  • November 15 - Watsonville Taiko's Holiday Boutique and Quilt Raffle.  Come support us and get a head start on holiday shopping
  • December 6, Watsonville Holiday Traditions & Tree Lighting. City Plaza
  • AND...25th Anniversary Celebration!!! April 16 & 17, 2016 at Cabrillo College. Save the dates
Meet Watsonville Taiko
Sandy and Naoko, Bonnie the quilt maker, Ikuyo sensei, Taeko
Ikuyo Conant joined Watsonville Taiko in February 1992, four month after the establishment of the group. She is the head teacher/sensei for not only Watsonville Taiko but also our sister organizations and the foremost drumming sensei in the Monterey Bay. She has been the artistic director of Watsonville Taiko since 1992 and composes and arranges all of the music for the group's 30-40 performances per year.  In 2000, Ikuyo sensei received the Calabash Award for excellence in the Ethnic Arts from the Santa Cruz Ethnic Arts Network, and the following year she received the Gail Rich Award for Artistic Inspiration in the Community from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County. She has worked in collaboration with several local arts groups, including the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre, Santa Cruz Youth Symphony, Cabrillo Theater, Los Gatos High School Theater, Zambra, Nelson Lee (Shakuhatchi), Studio Mai (Japanese dance), the Santa Cruz Academy of Martial Arts, the Monterey Peninsula College Dance Department, the Santa Cruz High School Color Guard, Seikishin Dojo and Aikido of Monterey. Ikuyo is passionate about integrating other traditional art forms into her taiko work and is a longtime student of martial arts, tea ceremony, and traditional Japanese dance.
Taeko D'Andrae is the organization's business manager and one of the group's most accomplished drummers. Taeko san came to Santa Cruz from Japan as a college student. She leads a number of performances each year and extends our outreach by teaching taiko workshops in the Santa Cruz area. She also has studied piano, Japanese tea ceremony & flower arranging, ballet, and Taekwondo. Sometimes you'll have the pleasure of seeing Taeko down front and center performing an incredible solo.  Other times you will find her in the back, playing the canon and an incredible shime!
Both Bonnie Chihara and Naoko Yamamoto are part of our advanced, artistic drumming group. They share their love of taiko by teaching workshops for children.  Bonnie, a 20-year member of the group, also serves on the Board of Directors, leads a weekly studio practice session, and has sewn and maintained our costumes for 16 years. She also, with her son Hiroshi, creates the beautiful quilts that Watsonville Taiko has the honor of auctioning off each fall at our Boutique.  She has been an active member of the Japanese American Cultural League for 15 years. One of her goals is to ensure that all costumes worn by Watsonville Taiko reflect the Japanese culture and traditions of taiko.
Naoko san also grew up in Japan.  She first lived in Santa Cruz for two years in the late '80s.  During that time she learned to play Latin percussion (claves, cowbells, and quiro) but never drummed taiko until 1996 when she permanently moved to Santa Cruz and joined Watsonville Taiko. Naoko serves on the Board and is an accomplished teacher of Japanese at UCSC since 2002 and still loves dancing to Latin music.  
Sandy Allen is a community performer and Board President for Watsonville Taiko. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Counselor who has been working in that field for over 30 years.  She has been playing taiko for 20 years, 18 of them with our group and, now in her mid 70s, is our oldest community performer. Rock on, Sandy!

Taiko Kids' Workshop in Santa Cruz
There's still time to sign your child up!
Please join us for a great day!
If you or your business would like to make a donation to the boutique OR if you would like to order raffle tickets, please email 
 or call 831 435-4594.
Photo by Tom Conant
25th Anniversary Celebration in 2016!

The 25th anniversary of Watsonville Taiko Eventide Over the Spring Hill will be a multi-generational performance.  Its focus will be movements and drumming.

Please plan to join us for a wonderful celebration of a quarter century of Watsonville Taiko!
Saturday, April 16th  - evening show
Sunday, April 17th - matinee
Crocker Theater
Cabrillo College
Aptos, CA
Tickets will be on sale in early 2016

Sister City Student Delegates
What a wonderful opportunity! 
The Santa Cruz Sister Cities Committee invites eighth-graders, ninth-graders and 10th-graders who have an interest in Japanese culture, arts, or language to apply for the 2016 spring student delegation to Shingu, Japan, by Friday.
Shingu, one of the City of Santa Cruz's five sister cities, is a beach town on the edge of the Kumano region, a designated World Heritage site famous for its ancient temples and natural beauty. 
The delegation is tentatively scheduled to visit Japan during the last week of March and first week of April. Student delegates will be hosted by Japanese families.
The application deadline to join the 2016 spring student delegation is Friday at