Photos from Alexandria

By Shigeyo Henriquez

A snowy prairie

We left Knoxville early Sunday morning. As we drove north, we started to see snow on the ground. By the time we arrived in Alexandria, MN it was covered with several inches of snow.

Ensemble posing at a snowy park

Burrrrr…….. WOW!!! It’s cold outside. Did we bring warm enough clothes?

Agatsuma plays shamisen at the winery

This photo is from the welcome reception at Carlos Winery.

Japanese ensemble members at a school cafeteria

We were offered school lunch at Discovery Middle School. It was delicious, especially the mushroom and wild rice soup. We enjoyed sitting among the students and comparing how different or similar it was to schools in Japan.

Demonstrating the taiko drum

Demonstration at senior college. The senior college students showed tremendous interest in our culture and music. Although, when we asked them to try taiko drumming, not many raised their hands. Perhaps they were just being shy.

Jam session with local musicians

Jam session at 6th Ave Wine & Ale House. The place was filled with people wanting to hear them jam with the local musicians. Craig Sandburg, a young bass player, was thrilled to be able to jam with Agatsuma. He said he was very inspired and wouldn’t forget this experience.

Portrait of Hase

Hase, Taiko drummer, father of 5 month old baby girl. I call him the Iron Man. Taiko drumming is very physical. He must stay in good shape. He runs 6-7 miles daily through the corn fields, icy sidewalks—nothing stops him. He never mentioned that he plays other instruments. Around the table we sat at Bernice’s home one night he sang with the guitar in his arms, like a rock star. I am finding out how talented each of these musicians really are.

Ensemble performs on stage

The concert in Alexandria was a phenomenal success! The audience enjoyed the shamisen, piano, and taiko drums. Music ranged from traditional folk songs to original compositions by Agatsuma, and songs that are recognized around the world. The audiences were most impressed by their incredible energy.

Arts Midwest staff and their friends were found in the audience. Thank you for coming all the way from Minneapolis.

A relief fund jar for Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief was set up in the lobby and people made contributions as they walked by. We appreciate the thoughtfulness and generosity of everyone!

Comments

Looks like a lot of fun bringing Asian music, Taiko drumming aer more like an art sport to me. maybe next time come to Berlin and show to us

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