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Meet the Piestewa Peak sunrise drummer

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November 30, 2020

Phoenix musician Ken Koshio has been playing his drum and flute on the summits of Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain for the better part of a decade, but in 2020, the 54-year-old hopes his performances are taking on a new meaning.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Sunrise hikers of Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain have probably "That is the most richest time for me," says Koshio. "I feel, I’m really cleansed."

In the spring, the 54-year-old began sharing that tranquility with folks at home, by live streaming all of his sunrise performances on Facebook.

"It’s not just my own performing," Koshio says. "I really feel connected to people. And hopefully that energy could make something stronger, positive, way to live."

seen a man playing his drum, or flute, on the summit. It's local musician Ken Koshio, and he's been jamming up there for the better part of a decade. "Ken brings this spirit and this grace, to the top of the mountain," says Marisa Ramella-Hicks, a regular sunrise hiker of Piestewa Peak herself. "It sounds like complete peace to your whole being."

"My motivation and reason to do this [is to] hopefully give some positive vibration to this world and universe," says Koshio.

In such a trying year, Koshio's commitment to positivity has reached new heights. Nary a day has gone by since the start of the pandemic where Koshio was not in the Piestewa parking lot at 4 or 5 a.m., hoisting his taiko drum over his head, and making the more than a mile trek up in pitch black. Invariably, he is the only person up there, some 30 minutes before the sun shows its face. He stretches and meditates. "In the end, it’s really a gift," says Ramella-Hicks. "This is his love, giving to all the people. Not just on the mountain. Everyone. Everyone. This is his way of giving."