Meet the members of the University’s Wolf Pack Taiko Club

Meet the members of the University’s Wolf Pack Taiko Club

The University of Nevada, Reno’s student-run Wolf Pack Taiko club was created in the spring 2022 semester by current club president Juliann Schultz and ambassador Lisa Cervantes.

“When I enrolled at UNR as a freshman, it was in the middle of the pandemic, where all classes and clubs were on Zoom,” Schultz said. “The spring of 2022 was when people started interacting with each other again, and with the help of my ambassador Lisa, I was able to create this club.”

Taiko drumming is a traditional Japanese style of choreographed drumming that has existed since the 6th century AD and is used for events such as wars, ceremonies and rituals.

“The use of Taiko drums dates back 2,000 years. Taiko drums have been used in everything from communication, religious rituals, court music, kabuki theater, warfare, city festivals and more recently in kumi-daiko (Taiko ensemble style),” said Treasurer Israel Cruz.

In the Wolf Pack Taiko Club, members focus more on the Taiko drumming ensemble style, which can often include many different sizes and shapes of drums.

“When Juliann mentioned that she was going to do a club on campus where she would teach students tajko drums, I became more interested in what makes it special,” Cervantes said. I watched videos of her performances and saw how amazing it was that she was able to communicate this art to so many different people.

Schultz has been playing Taiko for nearly a decade. She started performing in Las Vegas with Korabo Taiko, but wanted to get involved to express herself and feel more connected to her Japanese heritage.

Wolf Pack Taiko President Juliann Schultz.

“I have been playing Taiko for about eight years and it has been a very important part of my life. Not only have I made the best friends and connections within Taiko, but my favorite memories involve Drum Taiko,” said Schultz. “My favorite performances have been in Cirque de Soleil, performing the halftime show of the MGM Resort NBA Summer League and performing for the grand opening of Resorts World Las Vegas Casino.”

Cruz became involved by hearing about Taiko and watching videos of it online before seeing promotional flyers for the Wolf Pack Taiko Club around the University campus.

“One day I saw a flyer for the club outside my Japanese classroom and from then on, I enjoyed every second of it. Feeling and creating such strong energy, it’s hard not to get hooked, especially when you get to share that experience with such great people,” Cruz said.

Designed to sound like rumbling thunder, the drumming taiko normally reaches around 120 decibels, a sound pressure level that can be equated to that of a bulldozer or motorcycle.

“The art combines the power of the drum and the flow of the human to make a performance that is both visually and sonically pleasing. Even experiencing the performance of others, even doing a performance yourself is wonderful,” said Cruz. “Feeling the power of the drum on your chest and seeing the smooth choreography is something you shouldn’t miss.”

Taiko drumming, for these officers, goes beyond music. For all three, they also found a close community of friends who all enjoy bringing music and culture to a larger community.

“I love how this club can create a close community within our band and reach an even bigger community every time we perform,” said Cervantes. “Every time we go out and play, we are always greeted by our supporters, making everything we do for the University count, even if we make a small difference.”

The club encourages anyone to join and emphasizes that a musical background is not necessary to enjoy and be successful in Taiko drumming performances.

“You don’t need any background in music to join. Most all of our Taiko performers have never had any kind of musical experience, and they perform amazingly! Even though I’ve been at this club for about two years, I already appreciate how much I’ve learned about this art and the culture it creates within such a small group,” said Cervantes. “To me, Taiko is an outlet for all kinds of people to express themselves and spread noise and happiness.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *