Ondekoza's last stop: Dickinson, ND

By Shigeyo Henriquez

A severe blizzard was on it’s way, we were warned! We finished the concert early Sunday evening of March 8th in Pierre, ND, so we decided to drive all the way to Dickinson, ND. We drove in the dark through heavy fogs and rain and reached the parking lot of Ramada Grand Dakota past midnight. Ken Carlson was very worried. We kept in touch with him until we reached the destination. The blizzard didn’t hit Dickinson until the next day on Monday afternoon. We finished the workshop at Trinity High School as scheduled on Monday. Then the blizzard hit.

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.

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