River Ridge Taiko Ensemble

  • River Ridge TaikoRiver Ridge High School's Taiko Drum Ensemble is a premier student performing group that plays traditional Japanese drums (some made by the students themselves) around the region and community. It is the only active Japanese drumming group in public schools in Washington State. This group is open to all River Ridge students.

    Want Taiko to perform at your event? Email director John Theine at jtheine@nthurston.k12.wa.usThis is a student ensemble, so it all depends on the students' schedules. Please book early!


  • What is Taiko?

  • Why a taiko ensemble?

  • How are the drums made?

Music & Downloads

Thank you to all our gracious supporters!

  • The following people and companies have made the creation of the River Ridge Taiko Ensemble possible through their donations. We greatly appreciate their support and honor their contributions!

    If you would like to donate to River Ridge Taiko, please fill out the donation form (PDF) and mail it to:

    River Ridge Taiko Project
    River Ridge Band Boosters
    PO Box 3035
    Lacey, WA 98509-3035

    All checks should be made out to River Ridge Band Boosters

    Odaiko ($435+)

    • Dr. Mark Sundberg, Orthodontics & Family Dentistry
    • Anonymous
    • Olympia-Kato Sister City Association
    • River Ridge Band Boosters
    • North Thurston Public Schools Multicultural Advisory Council

    Chu Daiko ($415-$434)

    Okedo Daiko ($300-$414)

    • Skyhawks Park (Bucknell Park)

    Shime Daiko ($250-$299)

    • Squaxin Island Nation

    Sponsor ($100-$249)

    • Kaitlyn Carpenter

    Patron ($50-$99)

    Donor ($25-$49)

    • Andrea Shaw, D.C. (Tumwater Chiropractic Center)

    Contributor ($1-$24)


    • Smith-Western Company, publications
    • Stina's Cellars, 2 wine barrels (Perry Preston)
    • Covington Cellars, 3 wine barrels (David and Cindy Lawson)


  • Taiko Drummer at a performance in 2009.We actually built our first Taiko drum a year before starting this project. Odaiko #1 was built in the Spring-Summer of 2007 to be used in performance by the school's Wind Ensemble for the piece, Rising Dragons, by Robert W. Smith. We performed the piece at the December concert in 2007 and then on tour to Southern California later that school year in early April.
    Having the "big drum" up in the classroom for 2/3 of a year generated interest in it as well as sparked the idea that a taiko group would be really fun (so far, only one student had really been allowed to play the big drum). By March 2008, the idea was floating around that we could form a taiko group...we just needed funding.
    In late March 2008, a grant request was submitted to the Charlotte Martin Foundation for a grand total of $6,840.43 to fund the creation of a taiko ensemble consisting of 19 drums (18 to be created from the grant funds). In the end, the foundation denied the grant in late May...no negative reason...just that they fund 1 in 4 grants and this one wasn't one of the lucky ones.
    So, we decided to try a different route and started the River Ridge Taiko Project in late May 2008 with a direct appeal campaign to local businesses, service clubs, organizations, and individuals in the greater Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater area of Thurston County. Within two days of starting the project (and before we really got going with it), we had funded two full drums and are excited about the potential of the project to
    reach its goals.

    Eventually, with generous donations and hours of students' and staff working, we have completed construction on 14 drums.

      Drum Sticks Stand
    Shime #1 Completed Done Done
    Shime #2 Completed Done Done
    Shime #3 Completed Done Done
    Okedo #1 Completed Done Done (Strap)
    Okedo #2 Completed Done Done (Strap)
    Okedo #3 Completed Done Done (Strap)
    Chu #1 Completed Done Done
    Chu #2 Completed Done Done
    Chu #3 Completed Done Done
    Hira #1 Completed Done Done
    Hira #2 Completed Done Done
    Odaiko #1 Completed Done Done
    Odaiko #2 Completed Done Done
    Odaiko #3 Completed Done Done