An evening of Taiko drumming performances by the McCloud Elementary School children and Shasta Taiko filled the school’s auditorium with energy Friday.
More than 30 children in grades 3-8 and teachers Heather Moyer and Kathleen Poehlmann vibrated the room with their rhythmic beating on big taiko drums.
Taiko instructors Julie Bennett and Wanda Welbourn also performed with the students and with Shasta Taiko after the children’s recital.
“Taiko promotes physical fitness, teamwork, develops physical awareness and brain development,” says Bennett.
The children first demonstrated different types of “hits.” They played songs separately by grades, then all together, hitting the drums in unison.
“I like banging on the drums and I like listening to the drumbeat,” said student Jerome Walker.
Moyer has been learning to play taiko along with her students. “I now have more coordination,” she said.
“What kids don’t realize is that it changes their lives being exposed to taiko, the Japanese culture of drumming,” Welbourn said between recital performances. “They get to dance and be really loud in an appropriate way.”
A second recital was performed by Shasta Taiko, with co-founder Russel Baba playing flute. Established in 1985, Shasta Taiko plays both traditional taiko and its own version.
Taiko instruction is held at the school through the Young Imaginations program.
McCloud Chamber of Commerce donated to Young Imaginations to help support the taiko class.
“It was requested by Young Imagination to expose south Siskiyou County to the beauty to Japanese drumming. Taiko means ‘drum,’” said Welbourn.