Category: staff

Kelsey Furuta

(Artistic Leadership Team, Performance Coordinator)

One of my most memorable taiko experiences was at the Regional Taiko Gathering, held in my hometown of Seattle in 1998. I had been playing with my youth group for about 5 years, but when Portland Taiko took the stage, I immediately knew that I wanted to join them someday. After performing with Tsunami Taiko in Seattle, TaikoProject in Los Angeles, and Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble in Honolulu, I joined Portland Taiko in 2009. I enjoy teaching (I’m a stickler for basics and details!) and I love performing. Someone once told me that I’m much more animated on stage than I am in life. Growing up, I was an extremely shy and quiet kid. But when I found taiko, it felt amazing. I loved being a LOUD and strong little Japanese American girl! These days, taiko resonates with me for many different reasons, but I will always remember how I felt when I first hit the drums. When I’m not taiko-ing, I’m chasing around my toddler! 

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Michael Hale


My first experience of Portland Taiko was a performance at the Chiles Center at the University of Portland. I came to the organization in 2004, in response to a request for volunteers in a PT newsletter for “2 hours a week.”  Ever since then, I have volunteered in the office as database support, network support, software consultant, and impartial ear. I enjoy bringing order to the data chaos when no one else has the time. I love hearing the development of pieces over time. I like big music, just like taiko. I volunteer as a tax preparer through CASH Oregon/AARP, and chair of the Architectural Review Committee of the Orenco Station HOA. I previously worked for Bank of America. I’ve been married 50 years; we have two grown married children who both live in the Portland area.

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