Tai Hei Shakuhachi
Scholarship Award

When Kayo and I came up with the idea of offering a scholarship, we had no idea how difficult it would be to choose a single award recipient. This year many applications were submitted from players all over the world including Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Africa as well as the USA. After careful review, it became apparent that each and every applicant, in their own unique way, was worthy of support. We hope that in the future the idea of a scholarship will take hold and the fund will grow to include many more recipients. 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!

Scott Cairo

Severe financial limitations has not dampened Scott's enthusiasm for shakuhachi and love for the instrument and its traditional music. Initially, self-study was the only way he was able to afford pursuit of this passion. After several years of working from books on his own, Scott was able to pursue the study of honkyoku by bartering his labor for lessons with Cynthia Nyoen Chaffee in New York. According to Daniel Nyohaku Soergel, he has excelled as a strong and sensitive player blowing shakuhachi with expressive inward depth. The scholarship will allow Scott to expand his study by enrolling in master classes and seminars offered by some of the world's best players.

Award: $500

Prem-Steve DeYoung

Prem has worked diligently to learn shakuhachi over the last eight years with shakuhachi teachers in the mid-West and, more recently, in the SF-Bay Area where he now resides. He is particularly interested in Watzumido tradition and focuses his playing on long, jinashi flutes. He has studied on these chokan with Atsuya Okuda, Hiroyuki Kodama and Kiku Day when they were in America. Prem has never been to Japan and hopes to connect with his teachers there someday, learn to make jinashikan as well as broaden his study of traditional music on this side of the Pacific.

Award: $500

Darren Hull

Even at the young age of 17, Darren is showing great promise as a shakuhachi player and wants to pursue the study of Kinko honkyoku as a "lifetime commitment". With a background in Chinese and Japanese martial arts and exhibiting a maturity beyond his years, Darren is on track to achieve this goal. In spite of a demanding schedule at Yreka High School in northern California, Darren is now studying zen Buddhism and practicing suizen on a daily basis. For his senior project last semester, Darren wrote a very impressive research paper entitled "Finding The Shakuhachi". He studies Kinko honkyoku with Todd Barton (Music Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Director of Composition Studies at Southern Oregon University) with whom Darren is also learning to compose music for the shakuhachi.

Award: $500

Jeffrey B. Jones

Recovery from a sudden, life-threatening illness and lengthy physical rehabilitation gave Jeffrey "a new mind set toward life" as he embarked on "a journey toward wellness". It may have been no accident that shakuhachi became an important part of that journey. In Jeffrey's own words, "The Shakuhachi represents a rebirth for me after barely surviving a near-death experience. I wanted serenity, silence, stillness and simplicity. I wanted something pure and organic. In this short time I have discovered that the shakuhachi is a philosophy and a way of life—demanding and deserving of a single-minded dedication to it." Still unable to work or drive, the scholarship will help Jeffrey on this new path to which he is devoting all his time and energy studying with Brian Tairaku Ritchie. He travels by Greyhound bus from Chicago to Milwaukee for lessons.

Award: $500

Marenglen Skendo

Marenglen (Geni) recently arrived in the U.S.A. from his native country Albania to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Having played with the Albanian National Symphony and receiving several awards while a student at the Albanian Academy of the Arts. Geni is facing an entirely different experience here in America. He is supporting his education largely on his own by working days and night at several jobs and living hand-to-mouth. "I was poor in Albania and I'm poor here too." What keeps him going is his love of the flute and, more recently, shakuhachi that replaced the silver flute as his number one passion. The scholarship will help Geni pursue his study of shakuhachi with Phil Nyokai James and continue his great adventure here in America.

Award: $350

Ariel Guerreso

Ariel is a teacher of Korean and Japanese zen as well as Tibetan and Theravada Buddhism. He has taught meditation at the Suan Mokh Monastery in Chia, Thailand. According to the many testimonials received. Ariel has lived the life of one whose prime mission is service and compassion, giving rather than to receiving. "He's the real deal, hard-earned realization through compassion in everyday life." He has devoted his life to helping others in the Dharma realm rather than seeking material rewards and remuneration for his skill and helping hands. Given the gift of a shakuhachi that was badly damaged, Ariel will receive a full restoration of this instrument enabling him to begin shakuhachi studies with David Wheeler in Boulder, Colorado.

Award: Flute Restoration

Leonel Olivares Olalde

Born and raised in Mexico, Leonel attended university and worked in many different fields of endeavor without finding his true path in life. He finally took residence at a Buddhist monastery in the highlands near Xalpa Veracruz where he worked as a cook, guide, translator of Dharma texts and computer administrator. His biggest challenge, however, involves dealing with the limitations resulting from a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, a mild autistic disorder. While at the monastery, Leonel learned about shakuhachi, and since returning to the "real world", as he puts it, he has begun studies with Peter Ross. He travels every weekend by bus for lessons and is presently using a PVC flute. The new shakuhachi will allow Leonel to begun full-time instruction with a higher-level instrument.

Award: New Student Shakuhachi and Accerssories


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