800 Rockfellow Drive (Rockfellow & Adams Drive)
TAIKOPROJECT - A truly American style of taiko, blending traditional forms...with an innovative and fresh aesthetic approach
UNIT SOUZOU - Michelle Fujii & Toru Watanabe / taiko, dance, theater
TADAIMA - Russel Baba - winds / Jeanne Mercer & Masato Baba - taiko / Gary Fitzgerald - bass
KITSUNE TAIKO - TAIKOPROJECT's youth ensemble
Mt. Shasta Herald, August 5, 2015
by Steve Gerace
The large gathering of ShastaYama Festival-goers expressed their appreciation Saturday evening for the many high energy performances that filled Shastice Park in Mount Shasta - and the performers loved it too.
It was taiko, jazz, and other forms of make-you-wanta-move music. Big sound with choreographed movements, and some dancing too.
It was the professionals of TAIKOPROJECT of Los Angeles and Shasta Taiko's local community group on a big stage on an expansive grass field with Mt. Shasta reaching to the sky in the background and great views of Mt. Eddy and Black Butte.
There were the young kids showing their chops in TAIKOPROJECT's Kitsune Taiko group, and there was event founders Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer playing jazz influenced numbers with their son Masato Baba and one of Russel Baba's old traveling bandmates from the 1970s, bass player Gary Fitzgerald.
Audience members young and getting older got into the swing of it early with the audience participation number ShastaYama Odori.
Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe did their unique dance/taiko/martial arts thing as Unit Souzou from Portland, Oregon, and Kris Bergstrom joined Masato for Jack Bazaar, which combined movement and rhythmic phrases inspired by the angle drumming style of Tokyo festival music.
As the day's light began to fade, TAIKOPROJECT came to life under the colorful lights of the large ShastaYama stage. They rocked the place with their energetic taiko numbers, including a drumming piece of constant motion using the Katusgi Okedo drums slung over their shoulders.
"We're happy about it." Jeanne Mercer said later. "The professionals were happy about it too. The performers love it. I'm happy the weather cooperated."
The thunder, as Masato said during the show, came from the drums, not the thunderclouds earlier in the day.
"it's all worth it." said Russel Baba. "We see the growth in the taiko world."
Every year, we say "This ShastaYama was the best." It's almost a joke, but it's true. The art of taiko continues to develop to new and outstanding levels, taking ShastaYama and the communities with it.
Taiko is a gift. It is more than drumming or music and is more about people and organization. With that said, Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer, founders of Shasta Taiko and ShastaYama, and Mario Rubino, Producer of ShastaYama, thank the following for their invaluable contributions to the success of ShastaYama Festival 2015:
Mt. Shasta Recreation District - Michael Rodriguez, Cindy Smith, John Zanni, Allan Nebiolini, Troy Kasso, & Joe Redabaugh.
Mr. Shasta Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Bureau - Jim Millins, Barbara Valenzuela, and staff.
Businesses: The Crystal Room, Berryvale, Wholesale Solar, Snow Creek Studio, Enjoy Magazine, Scott Valley Bank, The Gallery in Mt. Shasta, John Smith Sanitation, Stewart Mineral Springs, Soul Connections, Best Western Treehouse, Siskiyou TV, Tri Counties Bank, Mountain Runners, Nathan Sivananda, Sengthong's, Directions, Asano Taiko, Mt. Shasta Marketing Alternative, Mt. Shasta Gymnastics, Crystal Geyser, and Doris Moss Realty.
Event Staff: Graphic Design - John Cumming; Publicity Coordinator - Allison Scull, Ad Representative - Suzanne Scull; Master of Ceremonies - James Cannon; Security & Parking - Darrold & Cathy Jourdan and crew - Ed & Barb Valunzuela, Henry Fujii, Rich & Nancy Patrick; Perimeter Security - Aaron Cena and crew - Susan Cena, Dave Kent, Crystal Abbott, Phil & Andrea Hutchins, Rick Demarest, Roy Winkelman; Box Office - Marie Mitchell and crew - Tony Dorsey, Linda Imabori, Randi Wallenstein, Irma Cervantes, Diane & Bob Allen, Carolyn Hedger, Carolyn Andrich, Flora Perlman, Lauri Sturdivant, Bill Buffalo, Greg Diner, Sonia Fleatcher, Donna Crowe, & Annie Michaels; Concessions - Winterhawk and Crew - Tammy Budesa, Annie Mesa, Shanta Gabriel; Food Court Coordinator Chuck De Boer? and vendors - Mt. Star Cafe, Robert Wallace, Northbound Coffee, The Milkman, The Oven Bakery, & Hoa's Springrolls.
Event Crews: Venue Lights - Nancy Tuggle, Sam Steyart, Chris & Marion Rubino; Stage Erection and Striking - Big Dave Keisler and crew - Paul Collins, Anthony Collins, and Colter Bienas; Mario Rubino and crew - Alexander Ben Osborne; Banner crew - Nathan Lee, Deborah Harton, Wanda & Gary Welbourn; Recycling - Rami White; also Diversified Electric - John Poston.
Technical Crews: Stage Manager Kris Bergstrom; Sound Grips - Steve Cervantes & Kyle Mc Dermmott?; Video Production - John Cumming, Barbara Wagner, Michael Murry; Photographer Karrie Ann Snure; Audio Production - Carl Schwindleman.
Ticket Outlets: Village Books, Soul Connections, Yreka Chamber of Commerce, Bogbean Books & Music, Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Bureau.
Reception Caterers: Dogwood Diner - Kate Chadwick; Lunchbox Dinners - Liza Wood & Aaron Simpson.
We also thank General Produce - Mark Derby & Nancy Shigenaka; Mount Shasta Ambulance; City of Mt. Shasta; and Will Newman.
Special Thanks to: Mt. Shasta Herald - Steve Gerace; Beverly Wilson, Gerald Baba and all the generous individual donnors, and the support of families and friends. Mario Rubino acknowledges the support of his family Kenna Conway & son Dylan.
If we inadvertently omitted someone, we apologize and acknowledge your contribution with appreciation.
Lawn Seating - blankets, lawn chairs, warm clothes, flashlights advised
FOOD & REFRESHMENTS AVAILABLE
NO PETS OR GLASS PLEASE
From I-5, take Central Mt. Shasta Exit 738
Turn East on to Lake St. towards the Mountain
Turn Right on Rockfellow Drive
Turn Left on Adams Drive (Shastice Park Entrance) Follow Directions from Parking Crew
Walk or Shuttle service from parking lots
TAIKOPROJECT is recognized as a leading "now" generation taiko group. TAIKOPROJECT has appeared on the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards, NBC's "The Voice," The X-Factor, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan, the Do Something Awards, the iHeartRadio Music Festival, and awarded First Place at the Tokyo International Taiko Contest.
UNIT SOUZOU's Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe add elegance and dynamic presence to Shasta Taiko's ShastaYama performance. The duo will present UNIT SOUZOU (creation, imagination, noisy) which explores their innovative fusion of taiko, dance, and theater.
TADAIMA (I'm here, I'm present, I'm home) will perform new works for taiko, winds, and bass. Shasta Taiko leaders Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer will be joined by their son, Masato Baba and bassist Gary Fitzgerald from Los Angeles to round out the jazz influenced quartet.
KITSUNE TAIKO is TAIKOPROJECT's youth performing ensemble. Comprised of junior high and high school students, those who achieve a high level in taiko studies are asked to join KITSUNE TAIKO.
SHASTA TAIKO, from Mount Shasta and Siskiyou County, will be celebrating their 30th year opening the 10th ShastaYama. SHASTA TAIKO is performing a medley of favorite pieces and will be joined by ShastaYama's guests.
Go to Feature Page for more ShastaYama performer information & photos.