Making Music Makes a Community!

Team Taiko is Grand Vision Foundation’s signature community engagement program for adult English Language Learners, adults with disabilities and the general adult education population. We believe in creating unique opportunities for people to come together and engage in their community in a new way.

Once again this school year, adult students at the LAUSD Harbor Occupational Center are participating in three eight-week sessions of Taiko drum instruction, led by professional teachers from LA Taiko Institute (LATI), and coordinated by Connie McOsker, Grand Vision’s Community Project Manager. LATI teacher Kris Bergstrom was awarded an Artist in Residence grant from City of LA’s Department of Cultural Affairs for the 2018 - 2019 school year to help support this program.

Sessions are held following regular classes and are open to everyone. Students of all backgrounds participate; many are ESL students from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, others just enjoy drumming! Students learn to hold bachi (Japanese drumsticks) and how to play rhythmic patterns on different types of taiko drums. Instructors teach through call, response and repetition, allowing students to let go of any self-consciousness or fear, as the thunderous sound of taiko playing in unison brings them strongly into the present moment as an ensemble.

The fall session culminates in a performance at the Torrance Armstrong Center on December 2. The spring session will end with a Grand Annex performance and Mochi making ceremony (date TBA). In recent history, Team Taiko drummers opened for the Arsenio Rodriguez Project (Cuban Son), Zhena Folk Chorus (Eastern European women’s folk), the Garlic Band (Gypsy Jazz), and LA Taiko Institute.

Team Taiko 2017 is made possible with generous support from the California Community Foundation and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Past support for Team Taiko came from The James Irvine Foundation’s Community Engagement initiative (2013-15), the National Endowment for the Arts’ Challenge America grant (2016), and the Crail-Johnson Foundation (2016-17). You can help us continue this real community engagement program in 2017 and beyond by clicking here!