(Posted March 9, 2015)

San Jose Taiko plays in concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 20, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.
San Jose Taiko plays in concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 20, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Providing spiritual music for thundering drums that can be felt to the back row of any theatre, San Jose Taiko brings Japanese drumming and dazzling choreographed presentation to Juniata College as the group plays in concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 20, in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

For tickets and information about the Juniata College Presents series, please call (814) 641-JTIX (5849). General admission tickets for single performances are $20, except where otherwise noted. Single-show tickets for seniors over age 65 and children age 18 and under are $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

In addition to its evening performance, the group's musicians will perform a concert at a local school, while also teaching students the history of the taiko drum and the instrument's links to Japan and Japanese-American communities.

"San Jose Taiko turns Japanese taiko drumming into entrancing movement and dance," wrote a critic from the San Jose Mercury News.

The hallmark of any San Jose Taiko concert is the holistic methods used to create such a unique musical experience. The physical challenges of creating an entertaining visual experience while moving drums the size of a small washing machine requires every member of the ensemble to participate in endurance training at every practice.

"San Jose Taiko turns Japanese taiko drumming into entrancing movement and dance."

San Jose Mercury News.

Such communal dedication extends to the band's music repertoire, as every song played by San Jose Taiko is either written or arranged by one of the group's musicians. This cooperative ethos also applies to the choreography, visual design and costume design.

While Japanese traditional druming remains the foundation of the group's musical inspiration, San Jose Taiko has also brought in percussive elements of drum play from Africa, jazz, Latin American and Brazilian influences.

The ensemble is inspired by Japanese drumming, yet the group was formed in the United States. The taiko is a double-sided Japanese drum and each of the dozen-plus members of the troupe plays a drum onstage. The group was founded by P.J. Hirabayashi and Roy Hirabayashi in San Jose, Calif.

The group was founded in 1973 at a Buddhist temple in San Jose, Calif. as a means to involve children and community members in the building of the drums and to expand the size of the group over time. Founder Hirabayashi says one of the missions of the group is to combat Japanese-American stereotypes, which he characterizes as being quiet and uncharismatic. San Jose Taiko also was one of the first groups to include more women musicians than men in the group

The group has recorded a variety of CD albums, including "Rhythm Journey," "Big Bands Behind Barbed Wire," "Mo Ichido, One More Time" and "Kodama: Echoes of the Soul."

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.