Weekend Highlights: Hiking with an Artist & Taiko Workshop

Early-Morning Sketchbook Journaling at Calico Basin

The Red Rock Canyon Interpretive Association has free events planned for this spring. A few of them revolve around their artist in residence program. There are three artists in town, Michael Futreal, Sean Russel and Susan Thiele. Last Saturday, I participated in a sketchbook journaling hike with Susan Thiele.

These programs are great because you do not have to be an artist to attend. You just need an open mind and willingness to try. Susan was eager to share the thrill of fast sketching, the importance of quiet and the beauty of painting in watercolors with everyone.

It is not often that I go to Red Rock and just sit and observe, take it all in. I am usually hiking to get somewhere and rock climbing. There is usually a race to beat the sunset. On Saturday, there was none of that intensity. Starting spring break with a mellow frame of mind was exactly what I needed after a hectic few of months of school.

Click on the links to find out more about upcoming events:

Discover the Hidden Sounds and Music of Red Rock Canyon, April 4

Musical Soundscapes for Red Rock Canyon, April 5

Taiko Workshop with Las Vegas Kaminari Taiko

A few months ago, my aerial coach told me about Las Vegas Kaminari Taiko, a taiko drum group that teaches classes and performs in town. I found their website and Facebook page, but I did not get around to checking out the program in person. Recently, I received an email from Las Vegas Kaminari announcing a Taiko 101 Workshop. I signed up and got my first hands-on experience with Japanese drum playing.

I am excited about the possibility of learning more about taiko because it is a way to connect with Japanese culture. My grandmother was from Japan. Unfortunately, I did not learn to speak Japanese and there is a lot about Japanese culture that I do not know, but I miss my grandmother. I miss talking to her in a version of Japanese-English. I miss going to little Japanese stores with her to rent Japanese video tapes. I miss being at her house and watching episodes of Japanese singing contests. I miss hearing the Japanese language.

By attending the workshop, I was able to hear and speak a tiny bit of Japanese. We counted in Japanese when doing warm-ups. We learned how to start the class with the greeting, yoroshiku onegaishimasu. Our instructors taught us some of the history of taiko. We learned the parts of the taiko in Japanese. I found out that there are a lot of learning opportunities within the group beyond learning how to play taiko. There are different instruments to be played, they need singers and they build their own drums. The group is also sponsored by the Japanese American Citizens League, Las Vegas Chapter. I think this association can also help me continue to find ways to stay connected.

What makes taiko even more appealing to me is that it is a physically demanding musical experience. It requires a deep, martial-arts type of stance that burns your leg muscles. Your arms are often straight in front of you and not resting. It requires energy and power. It’s amazing.

About misslittleowl

A teacher writing about local happenings, school adventures, intriguing books, desert gardening, and whatever else she stumbles upon that needs sharing.
This entry was posted in Art & Photography, Life, Taiko, Weekends and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Weekend Highlights: Hiking with an Artist & Taiko Workshop

  1. Barbie says:

    Loved to read about your memories of grandma. I remember when she taught JM and James the Japanese version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

    Liked by 1 person

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