"I think it was awesome," said Sgt. 1st Class
At the start of the event, the
A catered lunch of spring rolls, chicken dumplings and vegetable sushi was provided by
Emcee Sgt. 1st Class
"Generations of Asian-Americans, native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have helped make this country what it is today," she said. "They have also faced a long history of injustice. ... With courage, wit and an abiding belief in American ideals, Asian-Americans, native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders have challenged our nation to be better."
Rooney, who is of Japanese and Scott-Irish descent, said taiko drumming dates back about 1,000 years ago to
To begin his performance, Rooney played a modern festival song on the taiko and explained that his shouting different sounds during the performance is a way of communicating ki, the Japanese word for energy.
"Taiko is full-bodied drumming," Rooney said. "We need that energy to keep us going as we drum."
The taiko, he said, had been used in battles to encourage the Samurai warriors and to give signals.
Rooney then performed a song that told the story of a lonely and sad Samurai who was exiled on an island and played the taiko all day long
After the song,
"That was fantastic," Rooney said to the audience.
"It was fun," Elliot said later. "I consider this the martial arts of drumming. It's very cool."
The taiko is made from a single log and can be 7 to 8 feet wide. In
Rooney said that North American taiko drummers typically craft their own drums. One of the drums on stage was made from a 65-gallon whiskey barrel.
"The experience of playing a drum made by your own hands is priceless," Rooney said.
He ended his performance with a traditional Japanese work song.
After the song, Col.
Among the audience members who lined up for lunch was Sgt.
"It was amazing," she said of the presentation. "I'm really proud to be an Asian-American."
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