By Erika Greco
Walled Lake Percussion (WLP) took the 2014 WGI Percussion World Championships, held April 10-13 in Dayton, Ohio, by storm with its two competing groups placing 13th and 25th place in the world.
“It went really well! Great year for Walled Lake Percussion,” said Director Nick Pourcho.
WLP competed with both a younger group (Scholastic A Class), consisting of freshmen and sophomores, as well as a more experienced group (Scholastic World Class), including more advanced freshmen and sophomores, juniors and seniors. The younger group made Semi-Finals in Scholastic A line, a first for their program and finished in 25th place. The older group made what’s called World Class Finals (the highest division in their activity) for the 6th straight year and finished 13th in the world.
“We are the only group with a ‘JV’ team that competes, so for them to make it that far against other groups’ ‘Varsity’ teams, is a pretty big deal,” explained Pourcho.
Being the only group in the area to compete in Scholastic World Class, WLP used their season to ultimately prepare for Worlds’ each year. This year’s Scholastic A Class show was entitled “Through Time” which featured Beethoven’s music. The Scholastic World Class show was entitled “Bending Reality” which included music from “Two Steps from Hell” by electronic artist Nero and “Lux Arumque” by Eric Whitacre.
As for competitions leading up to Worlds, the Scholastic A Class team medaled in their class again this year at the State Championships on March 30. They have medaled six of the seven years of their existence, competing against all the other varsity teams. The Scholastic World Class team is the only one in the top class. They have won six straight State Championships and are ranked in the top 15 in the world out of approximately 1,200 groups.
Senior Marimba player Jordan Tumminello described the season as “evolutionary.” He added, “We are changing basically the expected norms of drum line. What has always been the structure for drum line and indoor percussion is becoming more of an activity of experiment and excitement.”
Pourcho made the arrangement of music anddirected each show. The staff started preparing the production over the summer.
“We put together timelines, spreadsheets, cut tapes, production schedules, videos, pictures, storyboards, etc.,” explained Pourcho. “Then we actually write the show both musically and visually, and put together a learning production schedule for the members to learn the show.”
Since the beginning of December, practices each week ranged from 12 hours to 20 hours. Individually, members rehearsed almost every day to maintain the extremely difficult level of skill. “We give up a lot of time and energy to be at the level we are at now,” said senior Marimba player Emma Kennedy.
WLP worked through new techniques this season and ultimately tested the limits of indoor drum line activity. The show contained visual effects that foreshadowed the concept and emphasized the idea of bending through the moving of acoustic keyboards, body movement, and much more.
“We as an ensemble are morphing WGI from stock activity of visual and sound to a performance that changes the language of music and how we as performers and viewers spread that language,” said senior Marimba player Jordan Tumminello.
Senior Color Guard member Andrea Ratsos served as a visual component that showcased dance and gymnastics.