By Michelle Caceres


NewsomelogoMembers of Newsome’s Percussion Group won’t soon forget their trip to Dayton Ohio to compete at the Winter Guard International (WGI) Percussion World Championships. The team, composed of 44 students that had practiced for hundreds of hours in the months leading up to the competition, rallied in the final round to earn the distinction of being the eighth best percussion group in the world. Their win isn’t the only memorable moment of the trip, thanks to a virus that struck 37 teammates, three adult chaperones and the bus driver.

“A lot of the kids named the trip ‘Puke n Rally’ because kids threw up and then rallied for the practices and performance,” said percussion member Audrey Bouton, who was one of the few students that didn’t get sick.

The illness struck a few team members Wednesday, the day after they arrived in Dayton, but overnight Thursday it spread like wildfire through Camp Chautauqua, the barracks-style group campground where they were staying.

“There were about six stalls in the girls’ bathroom and we put them all to good use,” said Bouton. “By morning we could tell who was getting sick by the sound.”

Chaperones worked long hours taking care of the needs of students, cleaning floors, wiping toilet bowls, holding back hair, rubbing backs, administering medicine, and providing comfort and reassurance.

Bouton said the team was a tight-knit group but bonded even more as they pulled through a very challenging situation.

Percussion Director Ryan Marsh said in spite of the challenge, the ensemble performed flawlessly during semis and finals.

“No one would have ever guessed how sick the students had been by the show they put on for the audience,” he said. “They left some judges in tears.”

Indoor percussion ensemble or indoor drum line marries elements of music, performance, marching and theater.

“To be ranked in the top 10 in the world is incredible,” said Marsh. “We’re looking forward to next season and hope to build on our strong finish.”

For more information about Newsome percussion ensemble, visit

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.