A talented group of musicians came to the University of Utah
The audience which attended the show at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus was welcomed on November 4, 2021, by Brooke Horejsi, Executive Director of UtahPresents, which handles the performances at Kingsbury Hall. She is also the Assistant Dean for Art and Creative Engagement in the College of Fine Arts for the University.
She thanked the audience and all the sponsors which helped bring the performers to Utah. She then introduced the talented musicians who put on the concert for the evening. Although they were featured as a taiko drummers group, they played multiple instruments as they delighted the crowd. Several pieces which were performed were original numbers written by members of their group.
The group of four musicians are called "On Ensemble." On (pronounced like own) is a Japanese word meaning sound. They used various sounds in their performance, including from different instruments and voice in addition to the several types of drums.
Taiko drums are very popular in Japan and in the United States as an important part of Japanese culture and art. Taiko drums are generally very large and very loud. There are groups of taiko drummers in various parts of the United States, including in Salt Lake City and Ogden.
The On Ensemble members also met the day after their concert with some of the local taiko groups in classes. They have been in Salt Lake City for the week engaging with the community and the university. One of their activities was spending time with fourth graders from Rose Park. They shared their talents with the children.
The two leaders of On Ensemble are childhood friends who grew up as neighbors in Mount Shasta, California. They are Americans of Japanese heritage by the names of Shoji Kameda and Masato Baba. Shoji said that where he and Mas grew up in Mount Shasta was a lot like Salt Lake City with the beautiful mountains but that there were far fewer people there. Rounding out the group are Abe Lagrimas Jr. and Elen Hunter-Ishikawa.
They are recognized as a popular taiko drumming group which infuses taiko with different musical influences such as jazz and rock. They were the first American taiko drummers invited to perform at the Nihon no Taiko, which is a prestigious concert series held at the National Theater of Japan.
The On Ensemble group said they were very happy to be performing in front of a live audience after the isolation of the COVID pandemic for so long. They had missed the opportunity to play before people in theaters. They were glad to be back after doing so much online work for over a year.
They came out to meet the audience after the show and to sign CD's of their albums which were for sale. They were all very nice and cordial. It takes a lot of energy and stamina to play the taiko drums. They did a great job of entertaining the audience with their talents.
Many famous and outstanding performers have been on stage at Kingsbury Hall. They also have had local performing arts companies at the theater such as the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera, Ballet West, and Repertory Dance Theater.
UtahPresents took over the performances at Kingsbury Hall in 2015. They are a presenter which brings diverse artistic and cultural experiences to the University of Utah campus for the people of the area to enjoy.
The On Ensemble taiko drum group presented a wonderful concert. It was a chance for the Salt Lake City community to enjoy a favorite art form of Japan and the Japanese culture.
[Source: Wikipedia, www.onensemble.org]