Taiko performanceArugakki returns to Grand Annex, June 8! Master drummer Kristofer Bergstrom of GVF’s Team Taiko, along with friends from Los Angeles Taiko Institute (LATI), will perform their newest works for Japanese taiko drums, including their one-of-a-kind on-stage mochi-making extravaganza!

Team Taiko, the opening act of the evening, is Grand Vision Foundation’s signature community engagement program for adult English Language Learners, adults with disabilities and the general adult education population. The program is supported in part by an Artists in Communities grant from the California Arts Council.

Team Taiko students participated in three eight-week sessions of taiko drum instruction, led by professional teachers from LATI and coordinated by Connie McOsker, Grand Vision’s Community Project Manager. Saturday, June 8 marks the spring session culminating performance of Team Taiko, featuring adult students from the LAUSD Harbor Occupational Center. Taiko classes were held following regular Harbor Occ classes and were open to everyone. Students of all backgrounds participated: ESL students from Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, along with San Pedrans who just enjoy drumming! Students learned to hold bachi (Japanese drumsticks) and play rhythmic patterns on different types of taiko drums. Instructors taught 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 brought them strongly into the present moment as an ensemble.

“Taiko builds community in people from all walks of life who get to meet and share a common goal,” says McOsker. “In doing something very challenging together there is respect and encouragement. We relieve stress together and become energized. For ESL students, (the experience) helps to build language skills.”

Tickets for Arugakki, with Team Taiko, start at $20 and are available online at www.grandvision.org, by phone at 310-833-4813 or at the door. Presale ends at 2pm on Saturday, June 8.