Arts Midwest World Fest Makes a New Connection

By Ken Carlson

Shigeyo (second from left) and Togawa-san (second from right) with Bamboo Orchestra in Columbus, IN (2005-2007 cycle). Photo by Karen Shrode.

Baladino toured as part of Arts Midwest World Fest. Yonnie loves wind instruments, can play just about any of them, and is constantly adding instruments to his already large collection. Yonnie wondered if Shigeyo could find a good quality Shakuhachi at an affordable price.

Yonnie Dror of Baladino plays the Shofar—an ancient musical instrument used in Jewish religious ceremonies made from a ram's horn—for students in DeKalb, IL (2013-2015 cycle). Photo by Eric Young Smith.

Shigeyo’s as resourceful as they come and thought immediately of Togawa-san, a friend and also a World Fest artist who toured many years earlier in the Bamboo Orchestra of Japan. Togawa-san agreed to sell one of his Shakuhachi to Yonnie and suggested a shorter instrument might be best for Yonnie because it is best suited to western music and chords. Shigeyo helped Yonnie and Togawa-san communicate back and forth and Yonnie eventually decided, after a lot of research, he’d really prefer a middle size instrument which is the most traditional Japanese style.

Togawa-san agreed and Shigeyo carried the Shakuhachi back to Chicago on her trip home. From there she shipped the instrument to East Coast where Yonnie’s sister lives and where Yonnie’s parents would soon be making a visit. Yonnie’s parents gathered up the Shakuhachi and carried the instrument home to Israel where it finally found its way to Yonnie.

Yonnie began working with the instrument immediately and soon prepared a short video for Shigeyo to show her what he had accomplished. Shigeyo was so pleased to see the video and knew Togawa-san would be, too, so she emailed it to him. The video arrived on Togawa-san’s screen the day of his birthday. He was thrilled to hear and see Yonnie play the Shakuhachi so beautifully that he declared this video his best birthday present ever.

We hope Yonnie and Togawa-san will be able to sit down together some day. Just another way in which Arts Midwest World Fest is bringing people together in meaningful ways!


This is a truly inspiring story!!!

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