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Gail Nowels, founder and director of the Southern Indiana Taiko performance group, and Tina Lockhart, a member of the performance group, became close friends through their shared passion for taiko. They began seeking out every taiko workshop and conference opportunity they could attend together throughout the United States to improve their skills, learn from other taiko enthusiasts and instructors, and share their new knowledge with the other members of the performance group. 

In 2018, Gail, a physics teacher from Columbus Signature Academy, was awarded a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program. The grant allowed her to travel to Japan and Hawaii in the summer of 2018 to immerse herself in the culture of Japan and learn from taiko masters.


Gail and Tina embarked on this adventure of a lifetime together, immediately falling in love with the beauty of Japan, it's culture, and especially it's people. It was an experience that intensified their desire to immerse themselves fully into the study of taiko and share the joy of it with more people in their hometown of Columbus, Indiana. 

The Southern Indiana Taiko performance group and some small group classes took place in Gail's basement, but Gail and Tina dreamed of sharing taiko on a much broader scale with the residents of Columbus, a city rich in diversity and the arts. 

And that is when Southern Indiana Taiko LLC was born. Watch our blog for more on our story. This is only the beginning for this new little drum studio in Columbus!

Seymour Oktoberfest 2019

photos by Lora Mote Photography


Swanson has been drumming with the Southern Indiana Taiko performance group since 2015. She is a self-employed massage therapist who also enjoys yoga, writing fiction, hiking, and volunteering. Swanson is currently taking a hiatus from the performance group



Dana has been drumming with the performance group since 2017. She is a retired Lieutenant/Paramedic/Firefighter from Columbus Fire Department. She currently instructs CPR/First Aid classes to area businesses. Dana enjoys cycling, boating, and fishing. 

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