For Gregory Shimizu, the Seeds of Booming Tree Taiko Duo, were planted 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 1980's Greg's Father, Dr. Henry Shimizu, arranged to have a taiko group from Seattle perform at the Japan Pavillion at (the 3rd ever) Edmonton's Heritage Festival and host them at his family home. Through showcasing taiko Dr.Shimizu inspired the Japanese community to organize a 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 2010 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.
In his work with Booming Tree Greg enjoys pushing the boundries of traditional Taiko by constantly creating 'new' shows and collaborations (such as "the Booming Tree Collectives production PULSE- every village has a drum" - Rock Taiko), by designing and constructing new drums such as their one of a kind 4 foot head 'odaiko', and by prototyping lighted 'Jedi taiko sticks' - LED lighted drumming sticks for the Flying Drum Show. He is proud of building a taiko 'group' with just two people. He is also proud of building and supporting the taiko community by creating the first ever Alberta Taiko Concert bringing together Alberta taiko groups(including out of town groups, Midnight Taiko Calgary and Hibikiya Taiko Lethbridge with Wadaiko Tokara from Japan). Also for doing Canada's largest taiko school project, teaching over 500 students to play taiko and do a 500+ finale, all with the help and support from Hibikiya taiko, Global Drums and Midnight Taiko. He also took part in the beginnings of the Taiko Community Alliance - North America's Taiko Organization.
Gregory has been playing taiko since 1989, with over 900+ performances and collaborations with many different musical and performing groups and individual performers. In his early taiko journey (1990's) Greg also met and had a chance to have a workshop with Daihachi Oguchi, known as the founder of modern day taiko (kumi-daiko style). Over the years he has also had workshops from many of the well known teachers of taiko(odaiko, nagado, okedo and shime) in North America and Japan. To date he has performed taiko to almost 600,000 people over his career.
Performing, teaching and studying Taiko has taken Greg coast to coast in North America: From LA to Virginia Beach and from New Orleans in the south to Yellowknife in the North, and many times across the ocean to Japan. He is a gifted teacher, with 25+ years of experience in instructing drumming workshops and classes tailored to both students and adults including teaching at the North American Taiko Conference held at Stanford University.
In his corporate life, Greg was a professional facilliator and corporate marketer/Marketing Manager and as an entrepenuer started the Pourhouse Bier Bistro 2010-2015 (on whyte ave).
Gregory is also a Vegan triathlete (swim-bike-run), starting the sport at age 35, and who has travelled the world competing at Six Triathlon World Championships. He raced (2003- 05 -06- 07 -09 and 2014) as a member of the Canadian National team representing Canada as an 'AGE GROUP' competitor. While racing in Sprint to Half Ironman distances, Greg typically focuses on Olympic Distance when at World Championships. In June of 2012 just weeks from a world championship qualifying race, Greg, while out training, was going down a hill on his race bicycle had a major collision with a van coming up the hill. He has no memory of the accident. He suffered a tramatic brain injury along with numerous other injuries when he crashed face on into the side of the van. He is still recovering from the accident to this day (still with major concussion symptoms) and hopes to continue with Triathlon and race on Age group National Team. During his pre accident athletics his most memorable races included placing mens 3rd in an Ultramarathon and 1st -mens 40-49 / 5th overall in a 1/2 Ironman and 41st (age group) in sprint division in the 2009 Triathlon World Championships (Austrailia) and 35th (age group) 2009 Aquathon World Championships (Australia).
Yoshiko Shimizu, Gregory's sister, is also an accomplished taiko player and performer. She spent 8 years with Yakudo in Toronto before moving in 2008 and now is a senior member of Midnight Taiko in Calgary. Greg is also proud of his father Dr. Henry Shimizu, who recieved the Order of Canada for his lifetimes work in Medicine, the Arts and Community work. Henry is also a 'distinguished alumni' from the Uof A and has an Honourary degree from the University of Victoria.
In 2017 Greg will celebrate 53!.....with 29 years in taiko, 24 years a Vegan, 15 years of Triathlon and the 8th year of Booming Tree with Twilla! (- although our first collaborative project actually was in 2008)