Memorial Day has come and gone, marking the unofficial start of summer. Normally this signals our busiest season, but 2020 has proven itself to be quite different. Like many cities across the country, the St. Louis region has been following stay-at-home orders for several weeks and has only recently begun to ease restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Some businesses are beginning to reopen, and local attractions like the St Louis Zoo and Missouri Botanical Gardens have announced plans for reopening next month, but large gatherings remain uncertain.
We are working diligently to plan how we might reopen for classes and group practices, but for now our studio remains quiet. There is much to consider, and we want to make sure that the studio will be a safe place for everyone. And while we are sad to be entering our third month without traditional practices, we know that taiko will return.
In the meantime, we continue to connect with each other remotely and experiment with making music "together." We are working on some new projects and hope to share something with everyone soon!
We've also taken to daydreaming about what to play when the studio reopens or reminiscing about those first powerful experiences with taiko. Performing member Jack learned the song "Ashura" as a community group member five years ago, and looks forward to revisiting the piece when we return. He notes the song’s large arm movements and building intensity are just what he needs to get back into playing form.
Others are looking forward to exploring new material or refining old favorites. Joel has been using the downtime to experiment with the choreography to his composition, "Three Rabbits," and looks forward to testing out his ideas when we return. Helena has been thinking a lot about the song "ELEVEN,” which she learned directly from the composer, Kaoly Asano, while on retreat last fall. Helena had begun teaching the music to us, but was cut short when our studio closed. ELEVEN’s big energy, combined with the composer’s spirit of peace, hope and love, are very fitting sentiments during this global crisis.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a tremendous impact on everyone: our healthcare workers, teachers and students, artists, small businesses, and so many more. In the grand scheme of things, making music together may seem small, but it remains a vital part of who we are - how we express ourselves and connect with one another. All of us agree on how amazing it will feel when the day comes that we can play music together once again.
We hope that all of you are staying safe and healthy, and we will see you again!