For Gregory Shimizu, the Seeds of Booming Tree Taiko Duo, were planted in 1959 when his grandfather donated 500 cherry trees to the city of Prince Rupert, (another 1000 in 1960) His grandfather once lived there and co owned a hotel and cafe. It was all taken away during the war when all Japanese had to give up all their possesions and rights, and were put in the internment camps. Because of this gesture of kindness even after all that loss we named our duo Booming Tree.
Greg's first experience with taiko came in 1975, as a child when he saw Japan's first taiko supergroup Ondekoza (Kodo emerged from this group) play in Edmonton. Then, in the 1986 Greg's Father, Dr. Henry Shimizu, arranged to have a taiko group Northwest Namukai (Washington) perform at the Japan Pavillion at (the 10th) Edmonton's Heritage Festival and host them at his family home. Through showcasing taiko Dr.Shimizu inspired the Japanese community to organize another taiko workshop and provide funding for its own community group - which Greg joined. In fact, after serving 20+ years he became the longest running member to ever leave the community group. In 2008 Greg started Collaborating as a duo with Twilla and Booming Tree was created to be Alberta's first professional Taiko group and to take taiko to their next level of performance, collaboration, innovation and teaching.
Twilla MacLeod has over 20 years of experience performing in various disciplines. She is an award-winning actress and an active participant in the Edmonton arts scene as an actor, playwright and musician.
Twilla's recent theatre credits include Blarney Productions' 2015 run of Mote by Jose Teodoro, as well as Craig Wright's Orange Flower Water, for which she was awarded a Sterling. Other productions include Dave Clarke'sSongs for Caligari at the 2010 Edmonton Fringe Festival, and Trunk Theatre's production of Sailor's Song.