by Caitlin Huston
Crouching over their percussion instruments early Thursday morning, band students made the walls of Logansport High School shake with the jazz melodies of their state competition piece.
After months of practicing and competing, the students will be traveling to Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis Saturday to compete in the Indiana Percussion Association State competition. The 14-person group is the No. 1 seed in the competition, and they’ll be performing an arrangement of Dave Brubek’s songs, a recently deceased jazz musician and composer.
Tim Miller, director of the drum line, said the group began rehearsing after school in November, in addition to their regular band practices. They also met over winter break and intensified their practices in January as the March competition season approached.
“It has taken us months to work up this show,” Miller said.
One of the reasons they’ve been rehearsing so hard is because of the difficulty of the piece, Miller said. Using unconventional time signatures and jazz melodies, Miller said he arranged the piece to honor Brubek.
“It’s a tribute to Dave Brubek,” Miller said. “He’s one of my idols.”
Following the volume and beats of the music, the percussion students sway back and forth, playfully as they pass the melody among instruments.
“Everyone in this show gets a moment to shine,” Miller said.
The piece includes instruments like marimbas, xylophones, a drum set, electronic keyboards, and other percussion like symbols and a gong.
Miller said he believes the difficulty will help them in competition.
“I think they have the most maybe rhythmically complex show that I’ve seen,” Miller said.
Logansport has gone to the state competition for several years and won the championship in 2008, he said.
“We’ve had a very long history of success,” he said.
The group is also the number one seed Saturday, after they won state preliminaries last week. That means they’ll get to perform last in their division, which Miller said can be an advantage because the judges are at their sharpest.
However, he said the group will still have to perform well.
“It’s not a lock by any means,” Miller said.
Regardless of the outcome, band director Ned Boyd said he believes the group has gained a lot from the experience.
“I think anytime that a kid is working hard and finding success, I think that’s a great life lesson,” Boyd said.
The group this year only features two seniors and includes four freshman, Miller said.
This is senior Ashley Fawcett’s fourth and final year of competition. Fawcett said she’s also excited to be returning to state’s.
“It’s very sentimental,” Fawcett said.
Senior Cassandra Proffitt said she’s happy that they were able to bring the group to this level.
“Everyone’s worked so hard,” Proffitt said.
Miller said he’s hoping to keep up that momentum.
“We’re hoping to stay on top,” Miller said.
Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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