Yesterday Raion Taiko reached a major milestone (in my mind, at least) when we performed on the stage of Detroit's Orchestra Hall as a part of the 2011 Concert of Colors. What a privilege and honor to be a featured performer at such a wonderful hall, one of the top 3 halls acoustically in North America. When Mayumi and I first formed Raion Taiko back in 2005, I never dreamed that we would make it to Orchestra Hall.
Orchestra Hall is the home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra and has hosted many national and international acts, which is evidenced by all the signatures on the backstage walls. Including one that we were especially delighted to discover yesterday ...
When I was in high school, I played violin in the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra and we rehearsed at Orchestra Hall every Saturday, so I was well aware of the hall's acoustic qualities and it's reputation. As we were setting up and preparing for our set, I stepped out into the audience to check the placement of the drums and I looked up and around at the hall and for a minute a wave of emotion washed over me as it sunk in that we were actually on the stage at Orchestra Hall.
The hall certainly lived up to its acoustic reputation. As a result, I think we were able to give one of our best performances yet. It was hard to see very far out into the audience, but the response was good and I noticed several people in the front row who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves with big smiles on their faces. My cousin, who drove down from Saginaw to see us, told me there were even a couple dancers in the aisles in the back. It's amazing how the audience energy gives energy back to us on stage.
We ended with our arrangement of Yatai Bayashi (made famous through Kodo) and received a standing ovation, to our surprise. Unfortunately, because of time restraints, we weren't able to end with our usual encore, Mushi Okuri. We did get a big compliment after the show. A man came down to the stage to ask me if we have ever seen Kodo perform to which I replied that we had several times. He followed up with, "You guys are right up there with them, aren't you." Of course, we know better, but it was still nice to hear.
If you missed us at Orchestra Hall, try to catch us at the Detroit Institute of Arts this Friday, July 22 at 7 and 8:30 PM. You can always stay up to date on our performances through the Performances Page on this website and also by becoming a fan of our Facebook Page.