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2023 Performing Artists

Yasu Ishida: Magic Story Artist

He combines  traditional Japanese theatre, music, origami, magic and storytelling.





New York based koto, shamisen player and singer Yoko Reikano Kimura and cellist Hikaru Tamaki, offer a unique fusion of sound that explores both traditional Japanese and western classical music, commissioning new works and creating their own arrangements. They have just successfully completed a four-year performance project that included an annually commissioned work by the American composer Marty Regan. Their performances have been enthusiastically received in Tokyo, Kyoto, New York, Chicago and throughout the Midwest. Their performance at the Barge Music Festival was highly praised in the New York Times. They were awarded the Janet Latz Professional Fellowship in 2011. In 2013, they were invited to perform in Tekirdag and Istanbul, Turkey. Their tour to Trinidad in 2014 was co-organized by the Japan Foundation NY and the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago. During this tour, they performed for President Carmona at the President's House. In 2014, they were awarded the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program grant, and in 2015, received the Aoyama Baroque Saal Award. Their first CD, "Flowers, Birds, Wind, Moon," was released in May 2015.

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Akira Murotani (trumpet), Deborah Nitka Hicks (cello), Alexandra Tsilibes (violin),

Akira Murotani is Third Trumpet with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic since 1998. He is a trumpet instructor at Goshen College. Murotani holds a B Mus Ed with a minor in mathematics from Luther College and a MM and DMA from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Murotani performed at the Spoleto Festival in Italy for two summers and has played with the Grand Rapids, and South Bend Symphonies. He is a jazz enthusiast.

Deborah Nitka Hicks grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts. After earning her degrees from the University of Houston and the New England Conservatory, she joined the Houston Ballet Orchestra as Assistant Principal Cello and substituted regularly with the Houston Symphony. After playing there for three years, she auditioned for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and has been a member since 1992. In addition, she is a member of the prestigious Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra in Jackson, WY for over thirty summers. She shares her home with as many dachshunds as the city will allow and one Trombonist.

Alexandra Tsilibes is a Section Violinist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic since 2000. She earned a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music and a MM from Stony Brook University. Tsilibes has been a member of the Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Flint and South Bend Symphonies and has participated in numerous festivals.

Fort Wayne Taiko was established in 1997, a program of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective, and is the only taiko group in Indiana and one of the few in the Midwest.  Taiko is a Japanese musical tradition that means “big drum”.  Taiko’s characteristic beat is achieved through choreographed arm movements as drummers “dance” their sticks from drum to drum.  Fort Wayne Taiko will be joined by the kaDON community taiko drummers this year.


Tea Ceremony, the ritualized preparation and presentation of matcha, a powdered green tea, will be demonstrated  in Ura Senke Style.

Daniel Quinn, classical guitarist, has been performing concerts for over 27 years in the U.S.A., Japan, Canada and EnglandHis 27 years of teaching includes Indiana University School of Music, Tokyo College of Music, and the University of Saint Francis.


Kendama is a popular Japanese skill toy.  Mike Tsugawa, a 2nd Dan in the Japanese Kendama Association, will demonstrate tricks and techniques. Mike has taught Japanese at Michigan City High School since 2002, and was recognized as Teacher of the year by the Indiana Foreign Language Teacher Association in 2016.

Spirit Bomb is a dynamic live musical act featuring popular Japanese anime songs with authentic Japanese vocals. The concept for the band sprang from guitarist and music producer Kevin Samuel's Youtube channel, which combines his passion for music with his love for anime. When Kevin asked Elaina Robbins, a Japanese American classical crossover singer, to collaborate on a video for the channel, Spirit Bomb was born. Spirit Bomb's fun, energetic concert performance features powerful multilingual vocals, electric guitar, synth keyboards, saxophone, drums, and bass along with visuals and engaging karaoke-style lyrics. Check us out at

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Fort Wayne Suzuki Strings offers instruction in violin, viola, and cello to students age 3 and older.  There are many parallels between learning a language and learning to play a musical instrument.  The Suzuki Method is modeled on the process a child uses to learn to speak, conceived by Japanese violinist and teacher Shinichi Suzuki (1898-1998).

Fort Wayne Children’s Choir, Chamber Singers, provides a choral program exemplifying artistic and educational excellence for children from diverse backgrounds.  Over 300 students participate in the choir, which contributes to the community’s cultural environment.  FWCC is proud to represent 88 different schools in addition to 29 home school groups from 8 north east Indiana and northwest Ohio counties.

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Japan Karate-Do Genbukai of Indiana.   It offers traditional Japanese karate and kobudo classes for children and adults. The Genbu-Kai is an international organization that encompasses 32 countries and thousands of members. Our program teaches karate-do. Karate is a form of self-defense that uses all parts of the body, while Do is character development; both aspects are viewed as equally important.

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Walb Student Union

Fort Wayne, Indiana



May 21, 2023



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