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History and Achievements of Tsukasa Taiko 4
In 2006 Aoki formed the Gintenkai Performance Unit. This unit is responsible for high caliber shows that are of a more professional nature than the community recitals and performances which showcase multiple levels of adult and children. Gintenkai is taught by Aoki and its members are advanced youth and young adult players. Most have been with Tsukasa for over a decade, starting classes with Yoshihashi. Since Homma’s retirement the Gintenkai Unit has taken full responsibility and leadership for all performances. Sugiyama has been an active member of Gintenkai since her arrival in 2011. They have played at The International House at the University of Chicago, Logan Center for the Arts, Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Harris Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Chicago Symphony Center, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and many more. Since 2010, Tsukasa Taiko has also participated in the annual McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with 3 million viewers. No community taiko group had ever performed in these large scale venues before Tsukasa Taiko appeared on stage.
The Gintenkai Unit’s role is to actualize the artistic goal in preserving, developing and passing on traditional concepts of Japanese art. Westernization and commercialization has created mass misinterpretation. Taiko music is often misrepresented as a form which values fast rhythmic patterns similar to those played on drum sets and drum lines. However, the aesthetic roots are found in theatrical concepts of kabuki and nichibu (Japanese classical dance). The concept of ma (the space between) is emphasized. Choreography is also important in presenting the movement of the body. These movements stem from classical Japanese dance, reinforcing the connection between music, dance and theatre. The Gintenkai Unit focuses on compositions that Aoki grew up playing during the 1970s. The reincarnated pieces are are complex, refined arrangements that embody all the elements to preserve an authentic, Japanese aesthetic. Instead of a rhythm, melody and orchestration is valued and created. This important aesthetic value is specific only to Tsukasa Taiko, and is what predominantly distinguishes Tsukasa from other groups. Tsukasa also reincorporated geza music to the stage using shamisen and shinobue as regular components.
2014: Watch our annual Thanksgiving Parade performance on-demand here: http://youtu.be/_Wu7f5qpHIw?t=12m59s,
(Tsukasa Taiko @ 12:59)
or http://go.wgntv.com/1F5oauP (Tsukasa Taiko @ 14:40)
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