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Percussionists In Harmony For World Championships

Precision, Complexity, and Challenges Lead Twelve To Ohio

By Elizabeth Cayouette-Gluckman

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Most groups can’t say they are attending the World Championship or competing with the most talented high school students in their field across not just the country, but the entire world. Yet that is exactly what members of Salem High’s 2016 Percussion Ensemble can lay claim to.

These twelve talented musicians range from freshmen to seniors in high school. Though the group has many returning members, it is predominantly underclassmen, with only one senior, Captain Christina Capra.

This tight knit group has been practicing since the close of the marching band season, in order to rise to the level expected of a group competing at the World Championships.

They will be at the World Championships in Dayton, Ohio for four days, beginning on April 13th and they hope to make finals. It is doubtless they wouldn’t want to jinx their success by hoping for a win, though after watching them perform at last week’s school assembly it is obvious that they have the potential to win.

Capra credits some of their success to their instructors, who wrote them a “really challenging, but achievable show.” This allowed them to grow as musicians, while giving their program the complexity necessary to receive high scores.

They compete nearly every weekend, and have recently received a score of 89.4—the “highest score we’ve gotten in many many years,” says junior Captain Aidan Keenan.

The season was not without challenges for this remarkable group. Capra notes. “sometimes focus was an issue after long rehearsals,” but adds that in overcoming that, they “[picked] up skills to overcome future challenges.”

Sophomore Lizzie Embick says that “playing together has definitely brought all of us together as people too,” which is important, considering they are going to be spending eighteen hours in a van together on each leg of the trip.

Keenan also remarks on their close friendships, describing them as “a big happy family,” which he first joined in 8th grade. He has stuck with the group and is proud of their noticeable progress over the course of the season.

The precision that these young percussionists play with is phenomenal. It is clear that they are not simply playing music, but performing. Sophomore Jeanie Dunlap looks up at the audience with an angelic smile after each stroke, and this presence is mirrored in her fellow musicians. The twelve lower their mallets in dramatic unison, and play with marked concentration.

Their performance is awe-inspiring, as they tackle difficult licks with ease, their mallets moving faster than the average audience member would have thought possible. Every second of their performance is choreographed, leaving no room for error.

Their piece incorporates novel techniques, with freshman Noah Smith joining Capra in bowing their vibe keys with violin bows. The two appear lost in concentration as they do this, moving carefully to produce the desired effect.

Salem High wishes the group the best of luck as they prepare for their trip to the World Championships. Their talent is clear, and the hard work they have put in over the past few months will no doubt pay off in this final competition.

These twelve talented musicians range from freshmen to seniors in high school. Though the group has many returning members, it is predominantly  underclassmen, with only one senior, Captain Christina Capra.

This tight knit group has been practicing since the close of the marching band season, in order to rise to the level expected of a group competing at the World Championships.

They will be at the World Championships in Dayton, Ohio for four days, beginning on April 13th and they hope to make finals. It is doubtless they wouldn’t want to jinx their success by hoping for a win, though after watching them perform at last week’s school assembly it is obvious that they have the potential to win.

Capra credits some of their success to their instructors, who wrote them a “really challenging, but achievable show.” This allowed them to grow as musicians, while giving their program the complexity necessary to receive high scores.

They compete nearlIMG_5950y every weekend, and have recently received a score of 89.4—the “highest score we’ve gotten in many many years,” says junior Captain Aidan Keenan.

The season was not without challenges for this remarkable group. Capra notes. “sometimes focus was an issue after lo
ng rehearsals,” but adds that in overcoming that, they “[picked] up skills to overcome future challenges.”

Sophomore Lizzie Embick says that “playing together has definitely brought all of us together as people too,” which is important, considering they are going to be spending eighteen hours in a van together on each leg of the trip.

Keenan also remarks on their close friendships, describing them as “a big happy family,” which he first joined in 8th grade. He has stuck with the group and is proud of their noticeable progress over the course of the season.

The precision that these young percussionists play with is phenomenal. It is clear that they are not simply playing music, but performing. Sophomore Jeanie Dunlap looks up at the audience with an angelic smile after each stroke, and this presence is mirrored in her fellow musicians. The twelve lower their mallets in dramatic unison, and play with marked concentration.

IMG_5948Their performance is awe-inspiring, as they tackle difficult licks with ease, their mallets moving faster than the average audience member would have thought possible. Every second of their performance is choreographed, leaving no room for error.

Their piece incorporates novel techniques, with freshman Noah Smith joining Cara in bowing their vibe keys with violin bows. The two appear lost in concentration as they do this, moving carefully to produce the desired effect.

Salem High wishes the group the best of luck as they prepare for their trip to the World Championships. Their talent is clear, and the hard work they have put in over the past few months will no doubt pay off in this final competition.

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