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wgi spring 2008

focus the ofямБcial news of wgi sport of the arts

RHYTHM X MARKS SPOT FOR FIRST WORLD TITLE

FANTASTIC FANTASIA

Success inSanta Clara

Brings home the gold... a sixth time! RECRUITMENT TOOLS & TIPS


Congratulations to Independent World Gold Medalist Rhythm X and Independent Open Gold Medalist Tyler Junior College! RHYTHM X

‌ and to all the SABIAN ensembles who performed at the 2008 WGI Indoor Percussion Championships: Centerville High School Choctawhatchee High School Father Ryan High School Gateway Indoor Great Lakes Percussion LEAP Matrix

The latest reading...

Hear more at sabian.com

North Coast Academy Novi High School Odyssey Percussion Theatre Pulse Percussion Surround Sound Twin Cities Area Independent Percussion Ensemble


Directions

focus the official news of wgi sport of the arts

Percussion Scholastic World’s Centerville HS at the 2008 World Championships in Dayton

SPRING 2008 Volume 22, Issue 2 Winter Guard International Ron Nankervis Chief Executive Officer Bart Woodley Marketing Manager Aaron Jenkins Marketing & Communications Coordinator Published By: In Tune Partners, LLC

A Season to Remember Time sure does fly when you’re having fun, and the 2008 WGI season seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye. With anticipation built through each passing regional weekend, the energy and emotions brought to Dayton, Ohio, were at an all-time high. A round of applause is truly deserved for all the individuals who participated in any and every aspect of these spectacular events. The memories of an amazing season are sure to live on in the hearts and minds of every volunteer, instructor, sponsor, fan, and most of all in each performer. It is only with the combination of these many different personalities and positions that activities this unique can thrive and evolve. We are always trying to support an environment where young men and women can grow, laugh, learn, and meet challenges as a group, and we urge you to continue to support our young performers as many of them continue their performance dreams this summer and fall. Before you know it, we’ll all be back in Dayton in 2009 to witness the thrill of the Sport of the Arts again.

Irwin Kornfeld CEO Will Edwards President Angelo Biasi Publisher Ken Schlager Editor-in-Chief Jackie Jordan Creative Director Robin Stein Production Director Don Helsel Operations Director Tia Levinson Business Manager Contributing Writers: David G. Hill, Scott Markham, Melinda Newman, Michael Reed Photography: Jolesch Photography, Robert Cawthorne, Julia Higbe, Dan Scafidi, Linda Unser, and Sid Unser WGI FOCUS is an educational publication of WGI Sport of the Arts. Its purpose is to broaden communication within the family of color guards and percussion ensembles. FOCUS is published three times per year. WGI FOCUS is a free publication with a circulation of 14,000 copies. All members of the WGI family may submit articles for consideration. WGI reserves the right to edit all submitted material. If your address has changed please notify the WGI office. Failure to do this could result in the loss of your WGI FOCUS subscription. We don’t want to lose touch with you!

Ron Nankervis Executive Director WGI Sport of the Arts

4 WGI

For advertising information please contact Aaron Jenkins; phone: 937-434-7100 x33; email: aaron@wgi.org

www.wgi.org

WINTER GUARD INTERNATIONAL 7755 Paragon Road, Suite 104 Dayton, OH 45459 937-434-7100 office@wgi.org www.wgi.org


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focus the official news of wgi sport of the arts

Volume 22 Issue 2 Spring 2008

20

Fantasia’s Independent World team goes for the gold

INSIDE 9 ENSEMBLE Emmy-winning choreographer Mia Michaels takes in the action at Dayton ... New details about the 2009 event calendar and 2008 championship DVDs … Glendora High’s stylish campaign to raise funds for breast cancer research … the names and faces of this year’s 13 WGI scholarship winners ... and much more!

14 CLOSE-UP After a 20-year absence from winter guard events, the Santa Clara Vanguard is back in a big way, scoring high with a powerful blend of tradition and innovation.

9

16 SPOTLIGHT Dave Marvin of Colorado’s Northglenn High and Jay Webb of Indiana’s Avon High tell us what it took to become the newest members of WGI’s Hall of Fame.

20 2008 COLOR GUARD CHAMPIONSHIPS: DETERMINED SPIRITS Gold medal winners Fantasia and Flanagan HS made history, but the high level of talent and dedication displayed by every competitor was the real story this year.

24 2008 PERCUSSION CHAMPIONSHIPS: SWEET SIXTEEN

16

With a record number of attendees, competitors, and finalists—led by Rhythm X and Dartmouth HS—the WGI percussion championships have entered a new age.

30 CLINIC The success of every winter guard unit depends on its members. So how do you find them? Five top program directors describe the tools they use for recruitment.

34 WGI IMAGES Relive the excitement of the 2008 finals with these snapshots from Dayton. Cover photos, clockwise from top left: Rhythm X, Santa Clara Vanguard, Plymouth Canton HS, and Fantasia.

30 WGI FOCUS 7


SUCCESS IS ALL IN YOUR HEAD. Rhythm X

Riverside Community College

Dartmouth High School

Music City Mystique

Stryke Percussion

Penn State Indoor

Centerville High School

Pacifica High School .... And Many More

remo.com

The Best Drumlines + Remo Drumheads = Success


Ensemble NEWS FROM THE FLOOR AND MORE

MIA MICHAELS: MAKING ALL THE RIGHT MOVES IN DAYTON Among the excited spectators at WGI’s recent Color Guard World Championships in Dayton, Ohio, was Mia Michaels. The Emmy Award-winning choreographer got her first taste of color guard last year and could not resist coming back for more. “I was so intrigued by it, because it’s so grand, and it’s so big,” Michaels said when interviewed at the finals. “I’m so connected to it because of the movement, but then there’s another layer on top, because of all the weapons and the fl ags. As a creator, I find it to be a great challenge to create something like that and keep the artistic integrity and the vocabulary and the tricks.” Michaels, who was the featured clinician at September’s WGI Spinfest!! in Orlando, Florida, sounds like she would love to get further involved with WGI activities. “When I look at it, I see all the possibilities of staging and the use of props, so it just opens my eyes to actually create,” she said. As impressed as she was at the finals, Michaels believes she has something important to offer WGI participants. “Not only working on dance and technique and movement, but also finding the more unique movement for the performers,” she said. “Some of them aren’t as technically trained as some of the dancers I work with, so I would really try to find new ways of approaching movement with their props. I would love to really open their eyes to new ways of getting around that stage.” So does Michaels expect her exposure to color guard to influence her own work? Absolutely, she said, “If I ever decide to throw somebody in the air!”

CHAMPIONSHIP DVDS AVAILABLE SOON WGI RELEASES 2009 CALENDAR The 2009 WGI season features 46 events in 19 states and London, England. The season begins Feb. 7–8 and runs through the color guard World Championships on April 2–4 with the percussion finals on April 16–18. There are fi ve color guard Power Regionals in March, including a return to Dallas, Texas. For a complete calendar, visit wgi.org. www.wgi.org

The 2008 WGI Championship DVDs are coming soon. The DVDs, produced once again by John Flower Productions, capture all the great moments from the recent Color Guard and Percussion finals in Dayton, Ohio. This year’s titles also include special behind-the-scenes montages. Volumes 1 and 2 cover the Independent World and Scholastic World color guard finals, respectively. Volume 3 is dedicated to Open Class color guard, while Volume 4 gathers up A Class color guard highlights. Volume 5 focuses on Independent World and A Class percussion. Similarly, Volume 6 handles Scholastic World and A Class percussion. Volume 7 is all Open Class percussion. Lastly, Volume 8 documents the 2008 Percussion Concert. The DVDs will be available for delivery in early August; most are priced at $59. Orders are being taken now at wgi.org/store. WGI FOCUS 9


Ensemble

GUARD FOCUS Sonic Impact iPod Speakers Make Your Music Mobile

MAKING A POINT WITH BREAST CANCER PINS The Glendora High School Tartan Band and Pageantry have found a unique way to give back. The group’s members have raised more than $5,000 since February 2007 selling pins, lanyards, T-shirts, and sweatshirts with their specially designed Guard Against (and Band Against) Breast Cancer logos. Funds are donated to the City of Hope for breast cancer research. Brenda Butterfield, a group mom who spearheads the drive at the suburban Los Angeles school, says more than 2,400 pins, 850 lanyards, and 1,300 sweatshirts and T-shirts have been sold to date. The group has a booth to sell the items at the students’ performances, including WGI events, such as the recent color guard World Championships. (The pageantry members march in Scholastic A color guard.) Butterfield says the program is greeted with applause wherever the group goes. The program also has caused great excitement among the band members. After the students’ first competition last year, “They talked more about the breast cancer booth than about their own performances,” Butterfield says. One of the most enthusiastic is Butterfield’s daughter Krissy, a Glendora senior and color guard member.

Sonic Impact makes it easier to play recorded music anywhere, indoors or outdoors, with its i-F2 portable iPod speaker system. This tiny allin-one unit (eight inches wide, four inches deep, two inches high) includes a 30-pin dock connector compatible with most iPod models, two neodymium speakers, and a Class T amplifier. The three-phase rechargeable lithium ion battery runs for up to 15 hours on a single charge, and the durable hard case, available in a variety of colors and designs, provides both protection for the components and portability for the user. For more information, go to si5.com.

PERCUSSION FOCUS Roland Rolls Out New Digital Snare Roland introduced its new RMP-12 battery-powered snare drum at WGI’s Percussion World Championships weekend. The RMP-12 features Roland’s multi-layered mesh head, a built-in sound module with a variety of sounds, and Rhythm Coach functionality. Sounds from the unit can be sent out to headphones or through a wire or wirelessly to a sound system. That makes the RMP-12 suitable for practice or for performance. The unit fits on standard marching carriers or drum stands. For more information, visit rolandus.com.

WGI BOOTH HITS THE ROAD WITH DVD DEALS The WGI DVD booth will be on tour this summer, offering sneak previews of the 2008 World Championship DVDs and great deals on past championships DVDs. The booth will appear at DCI shows in San Antonio, Texas (July 19), Atlanta (July 26), Allentown, Pa. (Aug. 1), and at the DCI World Championships in Bloomington, Ind. (Aug. 7-9). There will be another opportunity for deals at the Texas Band Masters Association in San Antonio (July 27-30). 10 WGI FOCUS

www.wgi.org


indoor percussion

Congratulations to Dartmouth High School, WGI Percussion Scholastic World Champions

Dartmouth High School Cymbal Line Congratulations to all the medalist performers who participated in the 2008 WGI Percussion Championships: I n d e p e n d e n t Wo r l d : Riverside Community College (Silver) Aimachi (Bronze)

S c h o l . Wo r l d : Mission Viejo HS (Silver)

Independent A: Pioneer Indoor (Gold)

Independent Open: Penn State Indoor Drumline (Silver) STRYKE Percussion Ensemble (Bronze)

Schol. Open: Pacifica High School (Gold), Tr u m b u l l H i g h S c h o o l ( S i l v e r ) F o u n t a i n Va l l e y H i g h S c h o o l ( B r o n z e )

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Ensemble A E K A T S R E N IN W IP H SCHOLARS IPS H S N IO P M A H C D L R O BOW AT W A total of $23,500 was awarded in April to 13 deserving young people under the WGI Scholarship Program. The 13 lucky youths were introduced at the WGI World Championships in Dayton, Ohio. Since its inception, the WGI ScholarSteve Dailey ship Program has provided more than Northcoast Academy $250,000 to WGI participants. The scholarship money comes from the 50/50 rafe at the World Championships, $1 of the purchase price of each World Championship program, and individual donations. Each unit registered to Melissa Valeria Estrada compete at the World Crandall Americas Championships may Alter Ego Independent nominate one competing member for the scholarships. A nine-member Scholarship Committee reviews the applications. All of this year’s scholarship winners are pictured on this page, including Steve Dailey of Northcoast Academy, winner of the Yamaha/Dennis DeLucia Scholarship, and Alicia Walter of Anna Hatzispiros Marion Catholic High School, winner Forsyth Central HS of the Bob Wiles Scholarship.

Jac queline Pascual

Chelsey Allen

Fantasia

The Cast

Lauren Ge ntile Chippewa Valley HS

Sebastian Galle guillos

Blessed Sacrament

Cassandra Hawkins

Palm Desert HS

Chelsea Bollman Norwin HS

Alicia Walter Marion Catholic HS

Ethan Brooks Santa Clara Vanguard

De anna Re ed Flower Mound HS

Thank You To Our Partners and Sponsors Presenting Sponsors

12 WGI FOCUS

Corporate Partners

World Championship Sponsors

Stategic Partners

www.wgi.org


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Close-Up

Santa Clara Vanguard Builds Success in Its Guard Program Grows Quickly Around Strong Nucleus By Melinda Newman

T

he Santa Clara Vanguard’s Independent World winter guard leapt over the competition this season. At the 2008 Color Guard World Championships, the California organization placed fourth with a 95.0 score and received a standing ovation from the audience. SCV, which returned to winter guard activity in 2005 after a 20-year absence, also finished in the top 10 of the world finals in 2006 and 2007. “It’s a terrific feeling,” says SCV director Dave Meikle, who arrived in 2005 with the goal of reinstating the winter guard program. It was a homecoming of sorts: Meikle marched in Santa Clara’s drum corps years ago. “The SCV organization already supported a world-class drum corps, open class corps, and dance program,” Meikle says. Therefore, it had to evaluate its financial and organizational resources before adding the

knowledge, passion, talents, and love for this activity are evident not only to the staff, but members as well.” Of course, having a top-notch staff would mean nothing without members. As it relaunched the winter guard, SCV turned to its own corps members for recruitment. “We have a consistent nucleus that performs in both winter and summer programs,” Meikle says. “We also have strong high school programs in the area, and once their members are finished performing with their high school, we usually see many at our auditions.” One reason for restarting the winter guard, he adds, “was to develop a strong membership base who would be offered training for both winter and summer programs from the same staff.” Additionally, Meikle recently brought on performance coach Shirley Dorritie to conduct master classes. “She’s not just a color guard icon, but a master in her professional field. Her techniques, mixed with her incredible understanding of the color guard activity, are proving to be a huge tool for the performers.” The results show with the success of this year’s program, “On a Breath,” which combines tradition with the contemporary. “Jon Vanderkolff created a very organic soundtrack full of emotion, intrigue, and passion, utilizing the music of Damien Rice’s ‘The Blower’s Daughter,’” Meikle says. “We wanted to offer a program that would keep our audience on the edge of their seats.” Tradition is important, but, as Meikle notes, “the word ‘vanguard’ can be defined as ‘being in the forefront,’ which is what we strive to be. The mix of the two is always our goal.”

ard’ can u g n a ‘v d r o w The front,’ e r o f e h t in g ‘bein be defined as o be. t e iv r t s e w t a which is wh winter guard. Denise Bonfiglio and Meikle made a proposal to the board of directors, which passed in September 2005. Shortly thereafter, they began building a staff, which includes Jon Vanderkolff, Jim Moore, Carol Abohatab, Kathy Pearson, Andy Mroczek, and Suko Quan. WGI Hall of Famer Bonfiglio is SCV’s staff coordinator, which means “she lends her input to the designers, technical staff, and administration,” Meikle says. “Denise’s 14 WGI FOCUS

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Spotlight

Two Roads Taken To Hall of Fame Acclaim Marvin, Webb Receive WGI’s Highest Honor

Dave Marvin with wife Kathy, daughter Chandler, and son Taylor. At left, Jay Webb.

By Ken Schlager

T

wo more names have been added to the membership roll of the WGI Hall of Fame. Dave Marvin is the longtime percussion director at Northglenn High School in Colorado. Jay Webb is director of bands at Indiana’s Avon High School. The two join 28 other individuals who have earned WGI’s highest honor since the Hall of Fame was established in 1992. Marvin began marching with the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps at age 11. He has spent a lifetime in the activity, which has become a family affair. His wife Kathy teaches the pit for Northglenn; their daughter Chandler and son Taylor perform in the ensemble. As a youth, Marvin also marched with and taught for the Troopers Drum and Bugle Corps. By age 17, he was teaching and writing for Northglenn. He became percussion director when he was just 18. In his 30 years at the school, Northglenn has earned 19 state titles, as well as WGI bronze, silver, and gold medals. Marvin also directs the Longmont High School marching percussion section and, from 1999-2005, handled show development for the Blue Knights,

which won four WGI championships in that period. “I write for a lot of groups, and I write in Colorado for groups that are in the same class,” Marvin says. “For me, it’s so much less about the competition than it is about trying to create a great environment for the kids.” Additionally, Marvin is director/arranger for the Denver Broncos Stampede, the first officially endorsed drumline in the National Football League. He also has served on the WGI board and the Percussion Steering Committee. Jay Webb first marched with the Florida Vanguard, then moved to the Bayonne Bridgemen Drum and Bugle Corps. He also taught at Bridgemen, Star of Indiana, Bluecoats, and Dutch Boy. He came to Avon High School as band director in 1993. Under Webb’s guidance, the percussion program soared up WGI’s ladder of success, entering percussion competition in 1995, winning PSA in 1996 and 1997, moving to Open Class, winning PSO in 2001, moving to World Class, and winning that in 2002. “It was a learning process,” Webb says. “The activity itself was very young and immature. Every year we came out we were trying to do something different.” Like Marvin, Webb has been active in advancing the activity, serving on the WGI board and the Percussion Steering Committee. Both men are humbled by their selection to the Hall of Fame. “Frankly, it’s a little embarrassing,” Marvin says. “So much of what we do requires so many people. I feel guilty that I can’t really share that.” Adds Webb: “I was kind of surprised. I don’t think of myself as that old yet.”

bout the a s s e l h c u m It’s so about is it n a h t n io it t compe great a e t a e r c o t trying ids. k e h t r o f t n e ronm envi

16 WGI FOCUS

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t World Independen

orld Scholastic W 1st Fantasia

1st Flanagan HS

Pride of Cincinnati

3rd

Northeast Independent

2nd

3rd

2nd

2008

World d r a u G r Colo onships Champi

Avon HS

Center Grove HS

Determined

ears streamed down the face of a guard mother, her hand gently resting on the shoulder of her friend in the next row. From the floor of the arena, the radiant face of a performer beamed like a klieg light, her eyes catching those of her mother. The soundtrack was a daughter reading a letter to a different mother—a letter that expressed the journey, the perseverance, and the strength the mother had shown during her battle with breast cancer. It was just another of the many emotional moments experienced by the sell-out crowd of entranced onlookers at Winter Guard International’s 31st Color Guard World Championships, held April 10– 12 in Dayton, Ohio. If the color guard arm of WGI is not the fastest growing youth activity in the country, don’t try to convince anyone af-

T

20 WGI FOCUS

BY DAVID G.HILL

filiated with the more than 300 units that competed at the championship weekend. And if witnessing the talent, discipline, and dedication on display for the event is not life-changing, don’t try to tell that to the fans and supporters on hand. No one would listen. The unmistakable signs of color guard competition were everywhere, from the makeup-streaked faces of the cast members mingling with the audience, to the walls of the famous UD “tunnel,” which were painted with lip marks from the performers. It is tradition to kiss those walls for good luck as the performers make the final walk to the championship floor. Emerging from the tunnel “for competition,” the cast and staff members go eye-to-eye with the adoring audience and astute adjudicators alike. And for all the competition at hand, the unit’s floor is like-


t Open Independen

pen Scholastic O

1st Alter Ego

1st Northmont HS Diamante

3rd

The Academy

Freedom HS

nd

2nd

2

3rd West Orange HS

ed Spirits ly being unfurled by members of another guard, offering hands-on support and encouragement before the announcement: “You may take the floor in competition.” The competition this season showcased the astoundingly talented individuals who produce and perform shows in every classification and at every stage of development. Yes, World Class represents the ultimate in achievement, but the crowds at the arena were no less enthusiastic for their favorite A and Open performances. Both World Class results were history-making: Fantasia’s IW gold medal score was within fi ve hundredths of a point of the highest one ever recorded. Fantasia’s intimate, introspective production and performance, titled “The White Table: A Reflection on Youth,” gave the California team its sixth World Championship. www.wgi.org

Fantasia maintains its winning ways, while Flanagan grabs Scholastic gold

Meanwhile, Flanagan High School’s gold made the team from Pembroke Pines, Fla., the first new SW winner in 10 years. Flanagan’s previous highest placement was fourth. The ensemble moved to the gold with an emotionally charged performance, posting secrets for all to see. Three-time IW champion Pride of Cincinnati (Ohio) garnered the silver medal with a human bridge over “troubled waters,” while first-time world class medalist Northeast Independent (Florida) took the bronze with an overwhelming performance. In SW competition, Avon High School (Indiana) earned its third consecutive silver medal with witching accusations, while three-time champion Center Grove High School (Indiana) embraced the tenuousness of nature to move back into the medal round, for the bronze. “I like them all,” a self-professed newbie mother smiled WGI FOCUS 21


t A Independen

Scholastic A 1st Cascades Independent

1st Colonial HS

2nd

Mount Carmel

Interplay

3rd Capella

3rd

Pope HS

2nd Farenheit

as the finals competition progressed ever closer to her daughter’s unit’s appearance. “I’m just not sure how their show will be perceived,” she worried. “It’s not like any of these.” A silver medal answered her concern. Open Classes showcased units on the cusp of joining the activity’s leaders. The number of entrants in IO was so great that a semi-finals round was added, matching that of the 40-guard SO process. Northmont High School (Ohio) dominated SO all season, capping it off with a heart-felt gold medal performance. Freedom High School (Florida) had no blinders in its quest for the silver medal, and West Orange High School (New Jersey) was literally poetic in winning the bronze medal. Alter Ego (New Jersey) drew from 9/11 and its interpretation of angels to overwhelmingly win the IO division. Silver medalist Diamante (California) offered an angel requiem, and the Academy (Arizona) went “into the mist” for the bronze medal. The looking glass of future success magnifies the A Class competition and no more so than this year. Cascades Independent (Washington) stretched its boundaries to wrestle an IA victory, while Interplay (Michigan) braved the weather to the silver, and Capella Winterguard (Tennessee) and Fahrenheit (Florida) tied for the bronze position. Colonial High School (Florida) was “over the moon” with its SA gold medal performance, while Mt. Carmel High School (California) hip-hopped its way to the silver, with no strings attached. Pope High School (Georgia) presented an elegy on the history of immigration for the bronze medal. The week before the championships, Dayton-area fans

Mount Carmel HS

posted online, “The tent is going up in UD’s parking lot!” If seating was tight inside the University of Dayton Arena, the lines of people were four-across and snaked through the vendor tent—much like a follow-the-leader drill. Commerce was crackling, from the WGI-produced preliminary performance through its 31-year history DVDs, to championship-emblazoned clothing, to the variety of companies and units that bring business to the industry, it was the second most popular place to see and be seen. Technology has allowed the activity to go real-time via the WGI channel online, with a live championship webcast and the season-long regional championship “replay” available at wgi.org. Before the championships began April 10, the Dayton Daily News reported on the importance of the event to the local scene. According to the report, the two weekends of WGI championship events bring nearly 40,000 visitors and $15 million in revenue to the area. This was the 22nd year out of 31 that the event has been hosted in Dayton and WGI has committed to keeping the championships in Dayton through 2014. From the community, an online post regarding the announcement: “There’s just a buzz and excitement in the guard community when it’s in Dayton and it’s not because Dayton has an ocean or great weather (we don’t), it’s because memories are made here that can be shared with someone who had the same experience 20 years ago in the same city, venue or arena…it’s special. WGI should not be in any other place other than Dayton.” The 2009 color guard championships are set for April 2–4.

“Memories are made here that can be shared with someone who had the same experience 20 years ago in the same city.”

22 wgi focus

www.wgi.org


Awards photo by Jolesch Photography www.jolesch.com

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ndent World e p e d n I n io Percuss

stic World la o h c S n io s Percus

1st Rhythm X

1st Dartmouth HS

Flanagan

RCC

3rd

Aimachi

2nd

2nd

2008

orld W n o i s s Percu onships Champi

Mission Viejo HS

3rd Claremont HS

Sweet Sixt BY MICHAEL REED

here is a moment in every parent’s life when a mother or father looks at their child and thinks “my baby is all grown up.” WGI experienced something similar with this season’s 2008 Percussion World Championships. Long-time fans can remember the days when the musical sport of indoor percussion was in its infancy. Back in 1993, when WGI was celebrating its 16th color guard championship, the organization decided to sanction drum line competitions to add to its successful color guard circuit. According to Michael Boo, the announcer at the first event, “it was exciting to see this new development, and wondering how big this would become. It’s amazing we’ve grown from just a few lines to closing in on 200.” Beginning with nine lines from four states performing on an auditorium stage, the activity took its first baby steps in moving to a high school gymnasium the following year, grew

T

24 WGI FOCUS

and matured in the Nutter Center (with detours in Phoenix, Milwaukee, and San Diego), and came of age with this year’s April 17-19 Championship event. Recognizing the event had outgrown the seating capacity at “The Nut,” the decision was made to hold this year’s finals at University of Dayton Arena. UD Arena is no stranger to hosting percussion competitions, with numerous A and Open class prelim contests and at least one percussion regional having been held there over the years. However, this year the percussion ensembles officially called the arena “Home” for the first time. The Nutter Center still plays a critical role in the success of the event, hosting preliminary and semifinals contests on Thursday and Friday. The concerns some had over the infamous ramp at the arena proved to be a non-issue, as all the instruments and props made it in and out of the building in one piece. There


nt Open e d n e p e d n I Percussion

ic Open t s la o h c S n Percussio

1st Pacifica HS

1st Tyler Jr. College

Stryke

2nd

Trumbull HS

3rd

2nd

3rd Fountain Valley HS

Penn State

xteen

Rhythm X, Dartmouth Take the Cake as Percussion Finals Reach a Milestone

were no runaway marimbas rolling onto the floor during performances. So, was the event a success? If audience size and number of competing units are a measuring stick, the answer is an unqualified yes! More than 175 groups entered this year’s championships, and the World Class finals on Saturday night reached near sell-out status, even with an enlarged seating capacity. The World movement classes featured 15 finalists for the first time, matching the finalist numbers in the guard classes. The PSW division actually had 16 finals performances due to a tie. The thousands of fans filling the stands for that memorable evening witnessed Rhythm X of Columbus, Ohio, win its first PIW title, overcoming 2007 champion Riverside Community College, which won the prelim round. Fan favorite Aimachi made the event truly an international affair in www.wgi.org

coming all the way from Japan, narrowly edging out Music City Mystique of Nashville to repeat its third place finish from 2006, with North Coast Academy (Michigan) finishing fifth and Blue Knights (Colorado) in sixth. In the PSW division, Dartmouth (Massachusetts) captured its first gold medal since 1999, defeating 2007 winner Mission Viejo (California) and first-time finalist Claremont. The latter group, also from California, made a dazzling finals debut with a bronze medal finish, moving up from a fifth place prelim placing. Choctawhatchee (Florida) and Centerville (Ohio) earned top fi ve recognition, coming in fourth and fifth respectively. Speaking of Claremont, calling its weekend successful would be the understatement of the year. Not only did the school medal in the marching division, but it also took the title in the PSCW class. Goshen (Indiana) improved on its WGI FOCUS 25


Percussion Scholastic ld Concert Wor

Percussion Scholastic n Concert Ope

Percussion t Independen A

Percussion Scholastic A

1st

1st

1st

1st

Claremont HS

Mansfield HS

Pioneer Indoor

South HillsHS

2007 third place position to earn the runner-up spot, with Tunstall (Virginia) taking third in the class. In the PIO division, Tyler Jr. College (Texas) earned a hard-fought victory over Penn State, with Stryke (Florida) taking the bronze with its best-ever finish in WGI finals. British Columbia-based Pacifica pulled off a three-peat in PSO, coming up from third in a tightly contested semifinals event that saw the top three groups separated by a razor thin 0.4 points. The margin separating the top three in PSO finals? The same scant 0.4 points. Trumbull (Connecticut) was rewarded the silver medal, with Fountain Valley (California) finishing in third place. In PSCO, Mansfield (Texas) gave a near-perfect performance to win its second consecutive crown in the division, and received a record high score of 98.9 in the process. Bear Creek (Colorado) took the silver medal and Muscle Shoals (Alabama) earned the bronze in its first finals appearance. Pioneer Indoor (Illinois) won a second PIA title in a row, besting California line and runner-up Full Force, with Farmington United (Michigan) finishing third. The PIA class illustrates the growth of the activity as a whole. When the division was started, it took a few years to get up to 10 lines. This year featured 15 PIA units, signaling a bright future for independent lines as a whole. PSA perennially has the most entrants of any class, and is the only division where the performers have to play twice in one day, with both prelim and semifinal competitions being held Thursday of the event. When Friday’s finale was over, South Hills (California) was named champion of a stellar field of lines, with defending champion Greenfield-Central (Indiana) taking the silver medal, and Milton (Florida) taking the bronze. What were this year’s emerging trends? The most visually striking trend is the number of lines utilizing color to their advantage in costuming choices. Several of the units had one color on the uniform fronts and another on the

backs. The most mature example of this was Rhythm X, whose “Gone” production featured a reddish-orange autumn-leaf camoufl age pattern on its tarp and backdrops, matching the backs of its costumes (and even bass drum heads), with the uniform fronts (and corresponding drum heads) in a dark blue. Another notable example was Pensacola, Fla., squad Escambia, which effectively used red to depict anger and blue to represent calmness. Other emerging trends include an increasing proficiency in the use of electronics, incorporation of vocal music to enhance the show concepts, the addition of stringed instruments (guitars, basses, and in one case, a hammered dulcimer), and better movement training throughout the classes, as the lines are moving much more fluidly than even a couple years ago. In the concert divisions, the ensembles are exploring a wider variety of ethnic musical styles, especially in the Latin idiom. The concert units, like their movement brethren, are becoming quite adept at exploiting electronics as an enhancement to their programs. The manufacturer’s midway saw large crowds throughout the weekend. Percussion enthusiasts could sample the latest drums, sticks, pads, and mallets, buy souvenirs, get updates from WGI strategic partners DCI, Music for All, and Percussive Arts Society, and purchase DVDs of their performance all under one roof. Even occasional rain showers on Saturday didn’t dampen the enthusiasm, as the large tents did what they were designed to do—keep the water out and the thousands of dollars of equipment dry. With the phenomenal success of this year’s event, look for the 2009 WGI Percussion World Championships to be even larger. Plans are underway to increase the amount of available seating for next season’s April 16–18 event. Look for the number of entries to come very close to the magic 200 mark, perhaps exceeding that number. Be sure to get your tickets and hotel reservations early, and we’ll see you in Dayton next April!

The concert units, like their movement brethren, are becoming adept at exploiting electronics to enhance their programs.

26 WGI FOCUS

www.wgi.org


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Clinic

Creating A ‘Buzz’ Groups Sharpen Recruitment Tools to Build Bigger Pools of Well-Trained Performers By Scott Markham

T

he success and endurance of a winter program is greatly dependent upon recruitment. With the number Plymouth Canton HS of groups in the WGI organization steadily growing, young performers have vast opportunities to audition for, and perform with, ensembles tom‘s distinguished drum and bugle corps. Auditions are of their choice. Most programs are constantly working to held each season, and recruiting occurs year-round. PRWG broaden recruitment and training programs in hopes of hosts a clinic every December offering beginning to advanced classes in movement, rifle, sabre, and flag. As for gaining larger and more talented pools of performers. The Miamisburg Guard Program has five groups rang- auditions, director Adam Sage says, “It is very important for ing from elementary school to its perennial WGI finalist us to give everyone who auditions an educational experiScholastic World color guard. Relying heavily upon word ence where they can discover new things, rediscover and reinforce their background of mouth, Miamisburg atexperiences, and meet new tempts to expose its entire people. Fear is OK, just go district to its performing for your goals and aspigroups through commurations—everything from nity performances, “signthere falls into line.” ups,” summer camps, and Redline Percussion, a advertisements in local first-year member of InOhio newspapers. Many of the staff members teach together in the fall so techniques dependent Marching World class, took a professional and and teaching philosophies remain consistent. According to well-organized approach to seeking out its charter memdirector Jim Olson, “We are always looking at ways to make bers. The Canton, Mich.-based group made a website, Internet forum postings, staff choices, and advertisements our program more attractive to students.” Unlike Miamisburg, Shenendehowa High School has not to create a “buzz” about its activities. The organizers also had a marching band program since 1994, but it does field distributed Redline T-shirts. According to director Martin a “fall guard” for training purposes. More than 100 sixth Harrison, that tactic turned out to be a huge “awarenessthrough 12th graders and 13 staff members participate builder” for the group. Plymouth-Canton High School’s Scholastic Marching in four feeder programs and the WGI finalist Scholastic World color guard. “Our basic thought process is to build World team depends mainly on word of mouth, understandthe strongest base of technique we can and once the mem- ing that conversation among students is an effective methbers arrive at the World guard, we can take them to the od of recruitment. The Michigan school’s program does not next level in regards to skill,“ says director Scott Snell. The turn away any students who are interested in participating, extraordinary success of the color guard has gained the even non-percussionists. “This helps to create an overall Clifton Park, N.Y., program recognition in local print and TV feel of inclusion within our marching arts program,” says director Andrew Ebert. media, which has helped build student interest. For website links and clinic or audition information for The Rockford, Ill.-based Phantom Regiment winter guard consists of 28 members in 2008; 11 are from Phan- all WGI groups, go to www.wgi.org.

“It is very important for us to give everyone who auditions an educational experience where they can discover new things.”

30 WGI FOCUS

www.wgi.org


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Web

www.wgi.org/store

N

Phone

800/224-4172 937/434-7100

N

Fax 937/434-6825

Mail WGI Sport of the Arts, 7755 Paragon Road, Suite 104, Dayton, OH 45459

WGI FOCUS - Spring 2008  

WGI FOCUS - Spring 2008

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