Meet the photographers behind the images captured during the Japanese Festival.

Drive, photo by Ashley Webelhuth

Meet the Photographers!

One of our favorite activities to close out the Japanese Festival season is to see all the photos that were captured during our performances. This year, three photographers visited Missouri Botanical Garden to capture the Japanese Festival and we couldn't be more amazed by all the great images they've shared!

Kevin Dingman is no stranger to the Japanese Festival; in fact, he’s been photographing the festival since the 1980’s when it was a two-week event. Kevin’s passion for photography began while working on his high school yearbook and by his senior year, he was working for his local newspaper as a sports photographer covering high school sports teams. Whether he's photographing live concerts, sports, or nature, Kevin notes how important it is to be familiar with the subject to anticipate the moment of peak action. Below, he captures Andrew in action during a solo. Check out more of Kevin's festival images here.

Andrew kicks his leg over the drum during his solo. Photo by Kevin Dingman.

Joanne Norton considers herself a photo enthusiast and has enjoyed the hobby for most of her life. Over the years, she's photographed everything from landscapes to architectural details; she also enjoys photographing festivals to capture the vibrant colors and activities that are all around. When she's photographing people, Joanne is drawn to interesting facial expressions such as in the photo below of Mana and Jack playing Kagura by Osuwa Daiko.

Mana and Jack play Kagura. Photo by Joanne Norton.

Below: Joanne captures Theresa, Eddie and Mana in mid-twirl during our finale, Omiyage, by Shoji Kameda. See more of Joanne's photos from the festival here.

Theresa, Eddie and Mana play Omiyage. Photo by Joanne Norton.

Ashley Webelhuth has practiced photography as a hobby for many years, learning a lot from observing and asking questions to former classmates and professionals that she's worked with as an art director. In her photos, she works to capture the emotions and moods that help to tell a story, particularly when the expressions are spontaneous. The photo at the top of this newsletter, captured by Ashley, shows us playing one of our favorite songs, Drive. The song has incredible energy, and through watching the performers' interactions with one another, Ashley was able to anticipate our moves and catch the genuine excitement we feel while playing this song.

The shishi is captured during play. Photo by Ashley Webelhuth.Above: Ashley captures our shishi, performed by Hitomi Salini, at play during Lion Chant.

One of the biggest challenges of photographing a taiko performance is the amount of movement that takes place. Each of our songs has a unique configuration, and the performers are in constant motion, making it difficult to capture a clear image. Coupled with hot, humid weather and changing lighting conditions, it's no easy task to get a good image! All of our photographers commented they have plenty of photo "fails." Maybe next year they'll be willing to share some bloopers, but until then, we hope you enjoy this year's images!


Learn to Play Taiko

Our Adult All-Levels Class begins October 13th! Join us Sunday afternoons from 1:00-3:00 PM at our studio to learn how to hit the drum with grace and power.

Seasonal Celebrations: O-tsukimi

This month, we celebrated the official arrival of autumn, including observance of the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon celebration is also a popular event throughout Japan, where people have tsukimi to celebrate the beauty of the moon and to pray for bountiful harvests.

Tsukimi translates to "moon viewing" and the custom dates back over a thousand years, when aristocrats would hold special moon viewing parties, playing music and reciting poetry, often from boats in order to observe the reflection of the moon on the water. Today, it is observed by all walks of life. People will gather at a window or veranda, decorated with seasonal items like pampas grass and taro root, to express gratitude for a good harvest and hopes for similar bounty in the future.

It is common to also provide offerings of food at the tsukimi. Round rice dumplings called tsukimi-dango are eaten to bring health and happiness.  Seasonal foods such as edamame, chestnuts and pumpkin may also be offered.

The Japanese custom of moon viewing is a contemplative and solemn occasion, a time to give thanks and to celebrate the seasonal beauty of nature.

Support St. Louis Osuwa Taiko

St. Louis Osuwa Taiko is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and we rely on support from members and friends to maintain our studio, equipment, classes and costumes. There are several ways to support our mission; many don't cost you a thing!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to St. Louis Osuwa Taiko.

You can also support us while stocking up on groceries or dining at your favorite area restaurant. When you shop at Schnucks, the grocery store will donate up to 3% of your monthly purchases using the eScrip program. Pick up an eScrip card at any area Schnucks store, register online, and then present it every time you shop at Schnucks. eScrip also works at participating St. Louis area restaurants. You can register any credit or debit card to your account and use it for your purchases. We earn 2.5% on dining purchases. 

You can also make a secure, tax-deductible donation via PayPal Donate.

Thank you for your generous support!

Upcoming Performances

Inspire Fashion Show - Fundraiser Benefiting United Way
Friday, October 4
6:00 PM
Ameristar Casino
1 Ameristar Blvd., St. Charles, MO
Purchase Tickets

Centennial Showcase - Brentwood Beats
Saturday, November 16
10:00 AM
Brentwood Recreation Complex
2500 S. Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood, MO
Free Performance + Workshop

SLAM Winter Celebrations
Sunday, December 15
2:15 PM
St. Louis Art Museum - Farrell Auditorium
One FIne Arts Drive, St. Louis, MO
Free Performance
We are a non-profit group that performs the art of taiko around the St. Louis area and the world.
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10734 Trenton Ave. | St. Louis, MO 63132
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St. Louis Osuwa Taiko · 10734 Trenton Ave. · St. Louis, MO 63132 · USA

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