“Apprentice Interactive Performance at Sado Special Support School” by Masami Miyazaki

Kodo apprentices are even busier than usual in the fall. Alongside their usual training, they have to harvest their rice crop, pick persimmons and ship them to Kodo supporters, take part in local festivals, staff the annual live-in workshop “Kodo Juku,” and present Interactive Performances. This year the apprentices gave five of these performances at schools on Sado Island. Today, I would like to tell you about the rather unique “Exchange Concert” they gave at Sado Special Support School on Sep. 28.


For this performance, the apprentices designed a workshop segment to let the students have some fun making music with them. When they started planning this part at the Apprentice Centre, the apprentices split into two groups and talked about their strategies, figuring out which instruments to use and how to go about using their time.

They raised concerns about problem areas and rethought and reworked their concepts over and over again. Then, at last, the content of the workshop started to take shape.

On the day of the concert, the students and apprentices all enjoyed performing together.

In the classrooms, the students performed for the apprentices and everyone got to know each other through self introductions and by spending time chatting together.

The Apprentice Interactive Performances are a valuable opportunity for the Kodo apprentices to perform in front of an audience during their training. They are a good chance for the apprentices to thoroughly consider what it means to appear on a stage, what they need to do to convey their sound and feelings, and what they want to express when they perform.

We are currently accepting applications for the Kodo Apprentice Centre 2018 intake.
Applications close on Nov. 10, 2017.
 
See here for details: http://www.kodo.or.jp/en/apr_en
 
 

“Kodo Interactive Performance in Mitaka on Oct. 7” by Kenta Nakagome

On Oct. 7, we welcomed the Myojo Gakuen Wadaiko Club to perform as our special guest at the “Kodo Interactive Performance” at Mitaka City Public Hall in Tokyo. Myojo Gakuen is the alma mater of cast member Kenta Nakagome. Here is a message Kenta wrote in the lead up to the performance.


All of a sudden, thirteen years have passed since I graduated from high school.

I look back and wonder how I felt back then when I played taiko.
I went to Myojo Gakuen because I wanted to play taiko, and naturally that is the reason I moved to Sado Island, too.

I wonder how the current wadaiko club sounds,

and I wonder how Kodo’s performance and sound will resonate with them.

I am happy to be able to return to this familiar place to play taiko.

I hope everyone who joins us there will enjoy the unique sound we create together with our drums and hearts.

I am looking forward to it.

Kenta Nakagome

Kodo Interactive Performance 2017 with Guest Appearance by Myojo Gakuen Wadaiko ClubOct. 7 (Sat), 2017 Mitaka City Public Hall, Mitaka, Tokyo


“The School Workshop-Performance Tour, Working Hard in Niigata” by Eri Uchida

On Friday June 16, I went to see the School Workshop-Performance tour in Niigata City where they are currently visiting elementary schools. Kodo gives regular performances at the many schools there.

I went to see our tour at an elementary school that is 10km from Niigata Station. I decided to rent a bicycle to go there. I don’t know what I was thinking… it was further than I thought. I should have known it would be tough on a bike with a basket and no gears. On the way back, I took the easy route by getting a lift back in the Kodo truck. (lol)

 

Ask any young person who went to school in Niigata City if they have seen Kodo and most of them will say that they have, at least once. That is largely thanks to Kodo’s Eiichi Saito and Kazuki Imagai and their efforts since our School Workshop-Performances began some twenty years ago. To visit all the schools in the city requires a morning and afternoon performance each day, at different schools each day. That means fitting ten performances into five days each week. With such a tight schedule, it’s important that everyone is as organized as possible to ensure smooth, good performances. To make sure that not even a minute is wasted, the preparation for the tour includes detailed meetings about loading in and out of each venue and then the cast and crew carry out simulations of how each day and situation will go.

On Friday afternoon, the end of the school week! The kids were so lively!

The School Workshop-Performance requires a lot of stamina, so the physical power of young Kodo members is essential for this tour. Currently there are three junior members on the tour and every day they are giving it their all. They have been on the road for one month now and since I last saw them at a run-through rehearsal on Sado, the young members have all grown in leaps and bounds. Every day as I learn I am reminded that the more you grow, the more you realize exactly what you still lack. The junior members still receive a lot of critiques from the senior members, and I’m sure they are being stretched to their limits. But now that I am a bit more senior myself, I can see that they are growing more than they may think. The senior members know if they praise the junior members too much they won’t improve, so they make sure they don’t give them too much praise. (LOL)
During my visit, I saw my fellow Kodo members all working diligently to better themselves and the performance. Regardless of seniority, they all worry, suffer, work hard, and enjoy themselves. I think they are all really valuable to Kodo.
Keep up that spirit, School Workshop-Performance team! Do your best!

The children flocked to the cast members after the performance for autographs. I hope they will come to see Kodo perform when they grow up, too. We’ll be waiting for you!


“School Workshop Performance Rehearsals” by Narumi Matsuda

May 19, 2017
Photo: Narumi Mastuda

It’s starting to look very summery here on Sado Island!

Photo: Narumi Mastuda
This week at Kodo Village we are holding run-through rehearsals for the upcoming School Workshop Performance tour, which is about to begin. The other day, we asked Kodo’s apprentices to fill in as the school pupils for our rehearsal. This programme is designed for performances in school gymnasiums. As well as our taiko performance, it also features introductions to the various instruments we play and a hands-on taiko experience corner.

Photo: Narumi Mastuda

This tour will spend a month and a half giving performances at schools in Fukushima, Yamagata, Tokyo, Osaka, and Niigata. As the performers rehearse and fine tune the programme, they all wonder how the kindergarten, elementary school, junior high school, and high school students will react to their performance.
If we are coming to your school soon, we look forward to seeing you there!

School Workshop Performances
http://www.kodo.or.jp/en/performance_schoool_en



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