Wanda and Taiko
I have been a member of Wadaiko Newark for about seven
years. I became interested in Taiko a few years prior when I
experienced the youth group of my Buddhist organization
playing Taiko. I then saw Kodo, one of the premiere groups
in Japan, playing on the local PBS station a few years later.
A friend bought me a dvd of their performance and I was so
excited! After watching them play, I was compelled to want to
play along with the dvd. So my friend suggested that I look
around to see if I could join a local group.
I found out that one of my colleagues at work belonged to a
local Taiko group, Emeryville Taiko. I emailed them but they
were not accepting new students. However, I was
encouraged to contact Wadaiko Newark. When I called, I
said I was concerned that I wouldn’t be allowed to participate
because I was around 50 years old. The person on the other
end, Sue Eustice, laughed and said to come to the class
anyway. Little did I know that Wadaiko has some very mature
players. I visited my first class and I was hooked!
It is now my pleasure to perform regularly with the group at
many different venues. I also have participated in workshops
with San Francisco Taiko, San Jose Taiko Dojo and
Emeryville Taiko. I also went to Grass Valley Taiko Camp
and loved it!
I love playing Taiko because I am encouraged to push
myself by learning songs requiring difficult rhythms and
memorization of multiple parts in one song. There are times
when I am frustrated but once I get  it and play that song,
especially a really hard song, I am so jazzed!
I attend class about three times a week. It is also a challenge
due to the fact that I live about an hour away. But it’s worth it
because I can play the drum and push myself expanding my
creativity and abilities. Taiko, just like Buddhism, is my life.

Wanda Kurtcu
'The voice does the Buddha's work. Nam myoho renge kyo'
Wanda Kurtcu
Member Wadaiko Newark
since March 2010

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