The meaning of Hiryu in Japanese: The flying dragon is the ancestor of all creatures that emerge from the depths of the sea which then ascend to Heaven to transform. The Mitsudomoe (the 3 comma’d design in the Dragon’s claws) is the heavenly spiral of Heaven, Earth and Humanity.
The mission of MI Hiryu Daiko (MI Flying Dragon Drummers) is to educate and entertain children and adults in Michigan by introducing them to the 2000 year old authentic art of Taiko, from Japan. Performances are dynamic and exciting, with great audience appeal.
Now retired director Esther Vandecar learned this tradition in Japan for 7+ years. She studied, performed, and taught taiko there. She studied with KODO and Oguchi, Daihachi, (father of modern taiko) among many. She brought back many traditional pieces, 1000 years old to modern.
Esther taught all over the U. S. A.; created an awesome taiko community in AZ for 19 years, and in West Michigan since 2011.
Esther teamed up with local world percussionist Carolyn Koebel upon arrival in Kalamazoo and they worked together to establish a local performance group in the WA Daiko tradition. Core members include Esther Vandecar, Carolyn Koebel, Jonathon Wegner & Miza Timmer. Visiting members include Renee French and Anita Laing Reidy.
Carolyn now directs the Kalamazoo College and Community Taiko Ensemble, with Esther functioning as senior advisor.
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