Okage sama de: I am who I am, because of you.
It is with mixed feelings that I publicly announce my resignation from my post as Artistic Director and Performer with Midnight Taiko in Calgary.
I leave with a great sense of appreciation, especially to those who invested their time and energy into training me during my Apprenticeship. Notably: Peggy and Angela. There were many times when it was just the three of us at the hall, and you spent your time diligently teaching me the Midnight Taiko repertoire. I will forever be grateful to the two of you for all your kindness, time and teachings. Also from those beginnings: Jenny, Yoshiko, Ben, Hoa, Rico, Melina, and Victor. I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me, when you accepted me into your group and passed on your knowledge of taiko.
I also leave with a sense of renewal. With so many new members and current Apprentices, the future of Midnight is bright. I step down feeling excited for the person who replaces me as Artistic Director, for they are gaining a wonderful unexpected opportunity to step up as an artistic leader, who can lead the group to new heights!
I leave with a sense of pride. When I look back to videos of Midnight Taiko from when I joined in 2010/2011, I can see exactly how far the group has progressed to the ensemble it was on March 17 at our concert, and I know that at least part of that is because of me. So many great things happening, so much potential, and many people who I watch and feel very proud of who they have become.
I leave with a sense of loss. So many of my hours were poured into this group, for nearly 8 years. Many sacrifices were made in other areas of my life, so that I could invest into Midnight to help it flourish. Although I carry a sense of pride, knowing that my efforts paid off in the interest of the group, there is a sense of loss that Midnight is no longer a part of my life. I leave behind many close friends and colleagues, who I will miss seeing several times a week at taiko practice.
I leave with a sense of relief. Unfortunately in recent years, this has been a significant source of stress, and there is lingering distress and pain, caused by an entity that I cared so much about and gave so much of myself to. Unnecessary stress, that I was unable to resolve. A volunteer position, no matter how passionate I am about it, should not be affecting me in this way. Finally making the decision to remove this source of stress has brought a sense of calm, and relief.
I leave with a sense of freedom. I am no longer bound by unspoken, unnecessary restrictions and expectations centred around learning, teaching, and performing. Taiko in Calgary is but a tiny slice of the taiko community, and it is incredibly freeing to know that I will no longer be held back. Teaching is a crucial aspect to the arts, and I have been teaching oboe since moving back to Calgary in 2003; I feel a responsibility to teach and educate, to encourage people to learn. I feel an intrinsic sense of urgency to teach, and there is so much potential and opportunity for taiko in Calgary. I am very grateful for the teaching opportunities I have been offered in recent years, and I am anxious to build a community of taiko, of many people from many backgrounds and abilities. I also feel that learning is a life-long journey, that a person is never “done” learning. I believe that even experienced taiko players should find value in learning, even in a Beginner environment. I believe artistic leaders should have artistic freedom, and as a musician, I believe that I should be free to perform as much or as little as my personal schedule allows, to contribute to, and advance, the artform. Now I am free to express myself, and build a community of people who are passionate about taiko, without being held back.
I would sincerely like to thank my friends, family, and mentors, near and far, who have helped me through this decision over the past year, to close such a rewarding chapter in my life. The future is bright, and I am proceeding with a combination of optimism and fear.
Otsukaresama deshita. Okage sama de.