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Edmonds Children Get to Play to a Different Beat

The Edmonds Center for the Art has created an arts outreach residency with ON Ensemble Taiko group for children in the Edmonds School District, culminating in a public performance at the Center April 19.

ON Ensemble (pronounced “Ohn”) takes the ancient instruments of Taiko into new realms.

Its newest realm is the Edmonds School District.

Infusing the powerful rhythms of ensemble Japanese drumming with elements of hip-hop, rock and electronica, On Ensemble’s unique sound has been praised as “completely original and brilliantly conceived.” Modern Drummer magazine calls On Ensemble “an exciting Taiko ensemble looking at new ways to apply traditional Japanese drums.”

Edmonds Center for the Arts is bringing ON Ensemble to the Edmonds Elementary Schools in an extensive arts outreach residency during the week of April 15-19.  This opportunity is made possible through grants from the Hazel Miller Foundation and the Tulalip Tribes.

During the week of April 15-19, ON Ensemble will be performing in four elementary schools in the Edmonds School District.  They will offer in-school assemblies of Taiko Fusion drumming and history at Mountlake Terrace Elementary, Martha Lake Elementary, Maplewood Co-operative School and Chase Lake Community School.  Students at Chase Lake Elementary will be working with one class for three sessions during the week. Students will build their own Taiko drums, learn how to play, and discover some of the background of the Taiko tradition. Those students will perform with ON Ensemble in the assembly. 

On April 19, ON Ensemble will provide a hands-on Japanese drumming workshop for general music teachers.  Participants are introduced to basic form and fundamental Taiko rhythms, culminating in an ensemble-drumming experience.  The Edmonds Arts Center said this is a rare opportunity to learn Taiko drumming and meet the musicians behind On Ensemble.  Edmonds Center for the Arts has permission from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to offer teachers clock hours for this workshop (professional development credit). ON Ensemble presentations fulfill areas of the Washington State Learning Standards including The Arts, Communication and Social Studies.

Due to budget cuts over the years, it is very difficult for schools to bring in high quality arts experiences. Many schools find the ability to bring high quality arts experiences to their students difficult if not nearly impossible.  Edmonds Center for the Arts, through grants from Hazel Miller Foundation and the Tulalip Tribes, is able to help fill that void. 

Later that night, ON Ensemble will be performing a full length concert at Edmonds Center for the Arts at 7:30 PM.  Tickets are available by calling the ECA Box Office at 425.275.9595 or at www.ec4arts.org. Families of the participating schools will have the opportunity of discounted tickets for this exciting show.

From outdoor festivals and concert halls to gymnasiums and classrooms, On Ensemble has shared its unique music and outreach programs with audiences throughout the United States and Japan. For all of their avant-garde musical explorations, On Ensemble is supported by one of Japan's most important traditional-culture bearers, Miyamoto Unosuke Shoten, instrument maker to the emperor of Japan. This support empowers On Ensemble to utilize authentic, rare Japanese instrument s in its fearless exploration of Taiko.

--Information from Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA), a non-profit performing arts facility located in picturesque downtown Edmonds, Washington. Housed in the historic original Edmonds High School building, ECA was remodeled and opened in October 2006 to be a cultural resource for the Puget Sound region through performing arts presentations, community partnerships and education outreach programs.

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