Indoor percussion prepares for competition
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Many students and staff members got their first look at Bellevue West Indoor Percussion’s show titled “Beneath the Bermuda Triangle” in a GPS performance on March 31. Contrary to what they might believe, it is more than wearing an eye-catching jumpsuit and beating on a drum. The ensemble has been putting in unrelenting work in the hopes of making the WGI Percussion and Winds World Championships finals for the second year in a row.
“We don’t want to be a group that is just one-and-done,” director Marques Eckhoff said. “We’d like to get to a point where we can consistently be in finals.”
The indoor percussion team began last year’s season in Scholastic Class A. In the course of that season, they proved the way they moved and played was far more professional compared to their competition, and they were promoted to the Scholastic Open Class.
“A lot of it was the demand of the player and what we were expecting every individual person to do,” senior Will Weekly said.
The team is very much a group of self-starters. Each section warms themselves up and gets going without the help of instructors.
“We usually have an hour before any instructors are with us, so me and Zach [Clark], the other section leader, run stuff and make sure that we get our hands warmed up so that when we get to full ensemble, we’re ready to go,” Weekly said.
Eckhoff and the other instructors not warming the ensemble up doesn’t mean they are kicking their feet up and taking it easy. While the group is working in sectionals, Eckhoff looks at the ensemble as a whole and keeps them on track.
“My job would be to make sure the whole picture is coming together, going where we need it to go,” Eckhoff said.
While the indoor percussion does feature most of the percussion section from marching band, their role and responsibility is drastically different. During marching season, the main focus is the band, saving the percussion feature (the piece of the performance where the percussion showcases what a pair of drumsticks can really do). Inside, the percussion section is center spotlight.
“Outside our job is to support the band and to add color and texture and things like that; whereas inside, our job is to put out a show where people are going to be entertained with just what’s out there,” Eckhoff said.
That difference can most clearly be seen during the sectionals and the work they do. Indoor season is much more fixated on detail and precision as the percussion is the main focus instead of the whole band.
“For marching band we have almost two solid months of just warm ups and working on technique, and then for indoor it’s almost right away we start working on music,” junior Sam Lydiatt said.
Each section has their strengths and weaknesses. For example, the pit doesn’t move, but the amount they play is extensive.
“They have to hit a note and it’s got to be the right note, otherwise everyone knows it’s the wrong note,” Eckhoff said.
As the group heads the Dayton, Ohio to compete once again for WGI, the musicians said they are eager to perform well for both themselves and the rest of the ensemble.
“I really enjoy the group effort and the product we put out together,” Weekly said. “Individually, we’re all very talented musicians, but we can push each other to extreme lengths where individuals go way higher than they were before.”