Farewell Message From Jacob
After All These Years ....
I’ve long known that one day I would move on from Uminari Taiko to pursue other creative endeavours. Up until very recently, however, I had thought that that day was a long way off yet. In reflecting on the past 15+ years I feel incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to practice and perform taiko in and around Victoria and to study as far afield as Japan. I also feel incredibly grateful to have met and learned from all of the amazing people I’ve crossed paths with in the taiko community at large and in our little taiko community here. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to share taiko through workshops and classes over the past decade and a half; I owe a debt of gratitude to all the participants who’ve been a part of that. In addition to a huge “thank you” to the other Uminari Taiko founding members who helped kick off this journey I want to thank former president of the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society, Mike Abe, for letting that small group of us hit drums – taped up tires, really – in his old aikido dojo on Johnson St all those years ago.
My love affair with taiko began in 1989 after seeing Katari Taiko perform in Nelson, BC. Before they had finished their first piece I made up my mind that one day I would play taiko! Since that time, with every concert I’ve attended, with every workshop I’ve taken, my passion for the art has only intensified. It has afforded me opportunities to study with some of the most accomplished performers in the world and that has extended not just to taiko but to noh and Indonesian gamelan, as well. The lessons learned extend far beyond taiko itself, though. As with martial arts like iaido or karate-do, taiko, I believe, can be used a way of developing one’s character. Certainly in my experience I have seen that the most skilled of the performers I’ve met, and of the teachers I’ve had, have been without fail some of the most generous, amazing and inspirational people I’ve ever met. As much as I have yet to learn – about taiko and about life – I do know that I am a better person for having had this opportunity. Quite fortunately for me one of the amazing people that I met along this path became my wife last year. So, while I may no longer be part of a performing ensemble, I do have someone in my life who – much like the best of my taiko teachers – inspires me every day to be a better person. (She has her work cut out for her but she knew what she was getting into. ;)
I do look forward to crossing paths with all the folks and workshop participants I’ve come to know over the years and I quite expect that may take place at events such as the annual VNCS fall fair. After 15+ years my attendance there has become quite an entrenched habit, not unlike drumming itself. I wish you all the very best.
Jacob with founding members Brad Lewis, Deb Shepherd & Margie Parikh at Uminari Taiko 10TH Anniversary Concert, 2012.