Road Stories Blog

Pierre, SD welcomes Ondekoza!

By Shigeyo Henriquez

The distance from Prairie du Chien, WI to Pierre, SD is 530 miles. We split into two days of driving. We arrived in Pierre, SD in the early afternoon on Monday. Barb Wood, the President of Short Grass Arts Council, met us at the hotel lobby and led us to Northridge Plaza mall. We brought a few taiko drums and set up in the walk way of the mall. Tony Mangan introduced the Mayors of Pierre and Fort Pierre, local sponsors, and Short Grass Arts Council. Matsuda started playing “Amazing Grace” with his shakuhachi.

Ondekoza visits Prairie du Chien, WI

By Shigeyo Henriquez

A short drive from Dubuque we arrived in Prairie du Chien Sunday afternoon. After we settled into the hotel we drove to Cafe Hope (a place I will visit often this week) a few blocks away for a welcome reception. Christine Panka, Terri Connell, Mayor Dave Hemmer, School board and community members waited for us. I was here in Prairie du Chien last fall with Manhu Chinese ensemble and am very familiar with every one as a result. Christine arranged for two high school students to play flute and clarinet accompanied by piano as a welcome for us all. What a pleasant way to start the week.

Big Bang of Taiko in Dubuque, IA

By Shigeyo Henriquez

On the first workshop day in Dubuque, Dennis Williams, board member of Dubuque Arts Council, led us to Seton Elementary School. K-5th grade students entered the gym and sat on the gym floor quietly. Catherine explained the workshop and how loud Taiko could be, and then Yoshi banged the smaller taiko drum once. The students screamed “Whoa!” Catherine continued, “It’s OK to cover your ears. You can still hear it with your body.” Some of them cover their ears right away, but as the workshop went on they were so engaged and no longer covered their ears.

Ondekoza on a roll in Red Wing, MN

By Shigeyo Henriquez

Ondekoza arrived Thursday Feb 1st, Super Bowl weekend and the Minnesota/St Paul Airport was bustling. Ken Carlson waited for us in the cell parking lot. As Ondekoza members came through the US customs, Ken drove up and we shoved the luggage into the van and drove directly to Red Wing where we would spend our first week of residency. A beautiful mansion built in 1915, the Anderson Arts Center House, is our home for the week. We loved the house, a big kitchen, traditional living and formal dining room.

Ondekoza kicks off their tour in Red Wing, Minnesota

By Luke Rivard, Program Associate

While Minneapolis prepared a busy, action-packed Super Bowl weekend, Arts Midwest anticipated the arrival of Onekoza for our own week of excitement in Red Wing! On Thursday, February 1st, four of the five members of the Japanese taiko drumming ensemble safely arrived at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. One of the members, Masashi Matsui, was delayed two days, but arrived in plenty of time for their first week-long residency in Red Wing, Minnesota.

"Earth Meeting Caravan" begins

By Ken Carlson, Senior Director

Ondekoza tour dedicated to the memory of Mitsuo Tamura

Arts Midwest World Fest band Ondekoza has just arrived in Minnesota to begin a five-week tour to communities in the Western half of our region. Their tour will be dedicated to the memory of producer, director, and artist Mitsuo Tamura.

Mitsuo Tamura Mitsuo Tamura was our mentor and friend.

Ondekoza has landed!

By Shigeyo Henriquez

80% of Ondekoza has arrived—and not for the Super Bowl despite what the photo might suggest!

Left to right is Naoto, Matsuda, Catherine, and Yoshi. We hope Masashi will soon join us here in Minnesota soon.

Happy outcome to sad saga of a traveling oud

By Lindajoy Fenley

The oud–an ancient instrument born in Persia 3000 years before count according to Yaniv Taichman–is not always a good traveler. Yaniv’s own instrument began complaining in North Dakota during the first week of Sofi and the Baladis’ four-week Arts Midwest World Fest tour.

Riveted audiences applaud Baladis

By Lindajoy Fenley

“That was amazing!” exclaimed Willow, a first grader at Red Cottage Montessori School as Sofi and the Baladis finished their first song at a morning workshop. Her enthusiastic commentary continued throughout the morning workshop that brought the Samaritan music to a small group of schoolmates from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Minnesota offers winter weather, older audiences

By Lindajoy Fenley

A full day’s drive took Sofi and the Baladis to a completely new scenario this week. The brick buildings of historic Red Wing, Minnesota contrast with the wide-open spaces of the Dakotas and the dramatic drop in temperature, along with a possibility of snow, has given the traveling Israelis the feeling of winter.