By Amy Schechter

Newsome High School can add another accomplishment to its long list of accolades as the Indoor Percussion Ensemble returned from Dayton, Ohio where they took 4th place in the Winter Guard International (WGI) open class division on April 22. Teams from all over the United States, and even some international teams as far as Thailand, met to compete at WGI, the world’s premier organization producing indoor color guard, percussion, and winds competitions.

The indoor percussion ensemble is comprised of a drumline and a stationary percussion ensemble. Much like the band, the drumline marches to choreography while playing. Instead of playing outside, the performance ensemble practices and competes indoors inside gyms and arenas. Under the direction of the Newsome Band Director, Michael Miller, and the Percussion Director, Ryan Marsh, the students put in between 20 and 30 hours a week of practice since January to prepare for this competition. Miller said, “It’s a challenge really because their first priority always has to be their academics and their families, which for a high school student that takes up the majority of their time. To be able to balance the responsibility of being in a group such as a professional ensemble, they have to have their act together. It takes a certain degree of maturity and responsibility.”

Miller and Marsh know they have a group of special students. Being a part of this program is prestigious. Students travel from other schools to take part in the various ensembles within the music education program.

Consistently at the top of regional and state competitions, the percussion ensemble really showed what it could do by taking 4th overall on the national stage. With such talent in all sections of the band, it’s no wonder Newsome was invited to the Macy’s Day Parade last year. Miller is passionate about giving students opportunities to compete and participate at the national level: “What we do is primarily about music and music education, but we also want to prepare them for their careers and life.” The discipline that goes into an undertaking such as this really shows the students’ character.

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