Mississinawa Valley

School District



This is a brief history of the development of a Taiko drumming group at Mississinawa Valley Schools.

Dr. Lisa Wendel, principal, and Heather Good, teacher, were at a workshop in Columbus when they saw a performance of the Dublin Taiko group the summer of 2006.  They decided that this would be an excellent cultural experience for the students at Mississinawa Valley Elementary.  Together with the help of both music teachers, Audrey Hathaway and Rebecca Burnett, they took steps to audition 5th and 6th graders and participate in a Taiko workshop.  Eric Patten, world music instructor at Capital University, showed the group how to make practice instruments and how to play and incorporate the Japanese culture.  The group practiced and performed a number of concerts in the spring and summer.  Meanwhile, Directors Audrey Hathaway and Rebecca Burnett sewed them jackets and headbands.

In the summer of 2007, we made three shime daiko drums and one very large Okedo daiko drum.  Juro Taka, the name of our taiko group meaning "Black Hawk", performed throughout the summer and later in the fall at community events.  They performed at the Principal's convention in Columbus and many other local events.  After being seen at a boy's high school basketball game, they were asked by our congressman, Jim Zehringer, to play at the Statehouse, to be introduced to the house, and to get a tour.  Eric Patton did an artist in residency at our school last year.

The group has leanred not only to play in the Japanese style, but also language, customs, and history of the culture.  The performance dedication has been incredibly high and the student response shows more and more confidence and discipline as we progress.  It has been an incredibly positive experience for the students as well as the directors.

There are now two groups.  The Premier group is made up of junior high students.  The Standard group is made up of elementary students