Ronin Taiko drummers return to Troy University

Published 1:01 pm Thursday, September 18, 2008

Henry David Thoreau wrote of hearing the beat of a different drummer.

But, he never had the opportunity to hear the drum beat that took Troy and Pike County by storm when the Ronin Taiko Drummers debuted at the Experience Asia Festival at Troy University in 2007.

Those who missed the Ronin Taiko Drummers will get a second chance to hear the drummers on Saturday night and those who heard them will want to go back for “seconds.”

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Dr. Maryjo Cochran, dean of the Troy University College of Communication and Fine Arts, said the Taiko Drums will be Phase III of the Experience Asia Festival at the Troy University Sept. 18-20. The Festival includes Experience Asia for Kids at Troy University today and a performance by the Taiko Drummers at Troy Elementary School on Friday,

“The Ronin Taiko Drummers are back by popular demand,” Cochran said. “They bring the spirit of Japanese martial arts and the spirit of the drums together to exist in harmony.”

In Japan, the Taiko or Japanese traditional drum carries a special significance. The drum is used in religious ceremonies, wartime and in celebrations. The taiko’s powerful sound can also reach people at a personal level and is often compared to a reflection of one’s own heartbeat.

Cochran said the Ronin Taiko performers practice wadaiko or Japanese drumming. The Ronin Taiko Drummers are from South Florida but they travel frequently to Japan to train with taiko Sensei or teachers to further develop their physical and mental discipline.

The Ronin Taiko Drummers present a unique art form that will be enjoyed by all who see them perform, Cochran said.

“Special music will be performed by Dr. Hui Ting Yang, who is a classical pianist, and Dr. Timothy Phillips, who will play a Chinese composition for the clarinet. Both are members of the Troy University faculty,” she said.

The program will also feature a Kung Fu demonstration by Wujun Zhao and classical storytelling by Grace Collins

The Ronin Taiko Drummers will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Claudia Crosby Theater on the campus of Troy University. Tickets are $5 for children and students and $10 for adults. Reservations may be made by calling the Trojan Center Box Office at 670-3293. Tickets will also be available at the door.

The Ronin Taiko Drummers is sponsored by the Troy University College of Communication of Fine Arts and the Confucius Institute.