Contributed by David Crandall
After a week of intense rehearsal in Bloomsburg, I’m excited to see the pieces taking shape. My own contribution this year is mainly on the otsuzumi (hip drum), and I guess my deepest impression this time around is the vacuum of Kama-sensei’s absence.
When we did the noh play Funabenkei three years ago, it was Kama-sensei who put the instrumental ensemble together, patiently guiding us through the intricacies of the different rhythmic styles that create noh’s musical tapestry. It was a daunting task for us then, even with his guidance. And it’s a daunting task now, without his sure hand, although we have all grown more experienced and competent.
Joyce S. Lim, James Ferner, Matt Dubroff and I, who will be drumming the two Atsumori performances, have been working closely together, sharing what knowledge and materials we have, making adjustments, reaching agreement on how we will play. In this, James has been a generous leader, answering questions and digging into his deeper cache of experience for everyone’s benefit. I’m quite proud that we’ve been able to do this on our own, but sad that circumstances have made it necessary.