Author: Megan Denny

Portland Taiko performer Claire Flynn

Claire Flynn

I started playing taiko when I was nine. My first class was taught by Portland Taiko founders Ann and Zack. I joined the youth performing group, Tanuki Taiko, soon after and played until I left for college. After a decade away from taiko and Portland, I rejoined Portland Taiko in 2022.

I love the creativity and energy of taiko. It’s my favorite way to think differently, exercise different parts of my brain (and muscles) and collaborate with others. Professionally, I’m a coordinator for Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R). One of my favorite events is People of the Drum, an annual collaboration between Portland Taiko and PP&R that takes place during Summer Free for All! In my spare time, I love running and hiking with my pup, traveling locally and abroad and eating all the best Portland food. 

APANO Voices of Change – May 20th, 2023

Voices of Change is APANO’s annual fundraiser. This family-friendly community event celebrates AAPI heritage and achievements. The program includes dinner, a silent auction, family activities and performances from Portland Taiko (among others).

This year’s event is at The Greatroom in Beaverton, Saturday May 20th from 5-8 pm. Tickets are available on a sliding scale from $0-$100.

Sounds of Japan – March 18th 2023

Join Portland Taiko and Oregon Koto-Kai for Sounds of Japan at the Wilsonville community center. This free event takes place Saturday, March 18, 2023 from 10am-12pm. Enjoy musical performances from Oregon Koto-Kai and Portland Taiko, traditional Japanese tea and snacks (while supplies last).

Pre-registration is required due to room capacity limits. Please visit the Wilsonville Parks and Recreation website for more information.

Portland Taiko Sounds of Japan performance in Wilsonville OR

Lake Oswego Cultural Xchange

Lake Oswego’s multicultural festival Cultural Xchange celebrates different cultures from around the world. The event takes place Sunday, September 18, 2022 from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Millennium Plaza Park. Enjoy traditional dance and music performances, a Wushu martial arts demo, food and artisan vendors and more. Portland Taiko is thrilled to share the stage with DJ Avelanche, Clan Macleay Pipe Band, Mariachi Mexico En La Piel, White Lotus Dragon & Lion Dance, Dina Y Los Rumberos, Jujuba, Anavai O Te Ora (formerly Ora Nui) and Ron Artis II Trio. Portland Taiko plays at 12:30 p.m. We hope to see you there!

Yael Livny

Yael Livny is a taiko student who once saw Portland Taiko perform at a school fundraiser and exclaimed, “I want to do THAT!” She grew up in an Israeli-American family in Berlin, Germany. When she is not drumming, Yael dances Butoh and practices law. She has previously served on the board of Portland Chamber Music and as president of the Oregon State Bar’s Litigation Section.

a black and white image of Portland Taiko Board Member Scott Winner

Scott Winner

Scott Winner works at Bonneville Power Administration as an Operations Research Analyst. He holds degrees in Chemistry from Portland State University and has served on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Buddhist Temple. In 2017, Scott found the truck chassis for Portland Taiko’s festival float and has been a long-time supporter of Portland Taiko.

a black and white image of Portland Taiko Board Member Megan Denny

Megan Denny

After taking my first taiko class in 2016, I was instantly hooked and humbled. Though I don’t have the strength or talent to be a performer, I’m honored to serve as a board member and help Portland Taiko further its mission. As a Japanese American (hapa/yonsei), I’m proud to be part of an organization that affirms Asian American pride and builds community through the international language of music. Prior to Portland Taiko I volunteered with Rock N’ Roll Camp for Girls. I grew up in the Portland area and currently work as a freelance copywriter.

a black and white image of Portland Taiko Board Member Carrie Peacock

Carrie Peacock

In 1994 my husband and I moved from Florida to start our lives in Portland. I started taking Taiko lessons in 2017 with a friend and fell in love with the art and how it strengthens the connection between mind and body. Recently I concluded my 30-year career in the food and nutrition business and now work with a group, Crossing Party Lines, that facilitates political discussions among those with different views. I was delighted to be invited to be on the board of Portland Taiko and am looking forward to contributing to the next phase of its growth and evolution. 

a black and white image of Portland Taiko Board Member Zack Semke

Zack Semke

Zack Semke is Director of Passive House Accelerator and a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps. He writes and speaks about the role that buildings can play in accelerating the clean energy transition. He helped found Portland Taiko in 1994 and served as Co-Director until 2005.

a black and white image of Portland Taiko Board Member Ann Ishimaru

Ann Ishimaru

Ann Ishimaru (yonsei) is a founding member of Portland Taiko, former co-director, and currently an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Organizations & Policy at the University of Washington. Her research seeks to cultivate community and educational leadership to foster educational justice in and beyond schools. Although retired from taiko performing these days, she still teaches taiko occasionally through temple (Seattle Betsuin) or when her daughter was in a middle school taiko group. She is happy to reconnect with PT as a board member.