PIQUA — The Kuroi Taka Taiko Drummers from Mississinawa Valley Schools are set to perform their mixture of drumming and choreography Friday at the Taste of the Arts event in Piqua.
The group was invited back after its performance at the Taste of the Arts event a few years ago left people spellbound. Executive Director for Mainstreet Piqua, Lorna Swisher, said the festival was looking for children’s entertainment and remembered how impressive the drummers were.
“Everyone from little kids to grown-ups just are completely enamoured by their show,” Swisher said. “We always want to put on a first class entertainment experience for the visitors to our event, and they certainly do that for us every time.”
Beginning in 2007, the group now has a total of 63 students. Each student is highly trained. They have the opportunity to take classes during school hours, lasting 42 minutes per period. They get to practice their pieces and perfect their talent on the drums. They begin training on the drums in the fifth grade.
The group has had very successful performances. The Kuroi Taka Taiko Drummers have performed at the Ohio School Board Association Convention, the Ohio State House, Langfest at OSU, the second Summit of Educators and several other schools locally.
Two groups will perform at Friday’s event, the junior high group featuring seventh and eighth grade students, and the high school group featuring students in ninth through 12th grade.
During their performances, the groups wear costumes of traditional Japanese culture, such as masks and kimonos. They also use various props to entertain the crowd. Students and parents who were founding factors of the group design and make the drums by hand. They have three sizes including: Okedo daido, which is the largest drums; nagada, which are medium sized drums; and shime daiko drums, which are the smaller ones.
According to Swisher, the main purpose of the event is for people to have a little bit of a taste of everything the Piqua area has to offer, especially the food.
“We have 13 different food options under two large tents on Ash street and then a taste of lots of other things,” Swisher said.
There will be live music from the Red Hot Rhythm Review, demonstrating acts in pottery, quilting, chainsaw sculpting and more. Plus, various children’s activities to enjoy. Swisher said many downtown businesses will be open and there will be benches throughout for seating.
“(This is) one evening to kickoff summertime in Miami County,” Swisher said.