Valerie Otani

(Board Secretary)

I first saw taiko at the Cherry Blossom Parade in San Francisco. Big drums and dynamic playing on a float is still a dream I hope Portland Taiko can realize. I was part of the group that created Portland Taiko in 1994. I was intrigued by an art form that expressed cultural pride in a bold, commanding, and joyful way. I have been on the Board of Directors and worked on costumes and sets, but mostly I have been our internal ombudsperson. As a naturally shy person, taiko has helped me grow. One of my favorite memories was playing in the Oregon State Prison for the Asian club. It was very moving to express power and pride to prisoners who might not feel that way in their lives. I am an artist and arts administrator, deeply involved in the local Japanese American community. My husband is very supportive! Both of our sons played taiko and Kenji was one of the original members of PT when he was in high school.

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