Tai Hei Shakuhachi
Kayo and I applaud all of the worthy individuals who applied for this year's scholarship. Each and every one of you deserve recognition for your hard work and dedication to shakuhachi. Many thanks to those who have applied, written letters of recommendation and generously donated so that we were able to expand this year's award.
Congratulations to the recipients!
I first met Peter Spring at the National Flute Association's annual convention in 1992. He and I were the only craftsmen offering instruments made of bamboo and we became fast friends. Peter's transverse bamboo flutes were unlike any I had ever seen. Unsurpassed in quality and tuning, they far exceeded any instruments of this type I had come across before . . . or since. Cognizant of his special talent, I helped and encouraged Peter to continue his flute making career for a number of years after we met. However, economic realities made it impossible for him to make a living exclusively as a flute maker. A single father with two wonderful and talented children, Steven and Amanda, he fell back on his training as a piano tuner, along with other ventures, to help support his family.
At the age of 15, Steven was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer to which he tragically succumbed six years later. In his son's memory, Peter decided to use the music to boost morale, heal troubled souls and become a "third responder," a term he coined, to help support musicians in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit. He traveled across the country from Oregon to Louisiana with a truck and trailer-load of instruments to set up the Steven Spring Foundation, which he founded in the fall of 2005. Since that time, Peter has given out hundreds of instruments to New Orleans musicians and tuned pianos for free or at reduced rates. His time in New Orleans has confirmed a deeply held belief: "I have absolutely no doubt that I am in the right place doing the right thing."
The Steven Spring Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to aid the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Specifically, by supplying donated instruments and free musical instruction to those in need, SSF provides much-needed practical assistance to the musicians, music students and children of New Orleans as they recover from the disaster.
For more information on Peter's extraordinary work and the Steven Spring Foundation:
Steven Spring Foundation Web Site
SSF MySpace Page
Times-Picayune Article, "Healed by Harmony"
"Healed by Harmony" Multimedia
Award: $500, Shakuhachi & Accessories
Upon being introduced to shakuhachi, Brian realized immediately that "it was more than a musical instrument." He writes, "It was a gateway deep into myself, asking that I bring forth aspects of my being that lay dormant or silent." It was not long before Brian threw himself headlong into an exploration of shakuhachi that changed his life. He began to study with Massyuki Koga-sensei and help forkm a group in Santa Fe, New Mexico devoted to all aspects of traditional shakuhachi.
Age 21, Jon has been a student of Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin in New York City for two years. He also makes shakuhachi in the jinashi style and hopes to apprentice with a traditional shakuhachi maker in Japan. His teacher Nyogetsu writes, " I believe that Jon is unequalled, by anyone his age, in the West now playing or making Shakuhachi. He is truly one of the great hopes of the next generation."
Award: $250, Shakuhachi & Accessories
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