Indoor percussion closes out winter season with finale in front of fans

Apr 10, 2021

Dartmouth High’s percussion team might not have been able to travel this year for international competitions, but that hasn’t stopped them from being among those on top of the world.

On April 10, the students performed and recorded their final show of the season for the Winter Guard International competition. 

For this year’s competition season, the high schoolers taped performances of “The Web,” a spider- and technology-filled show with sparkly costumes and glimmering lights. 

But unlike at past socially distanced shows, this time families were allowed to watch their teens play in the high school’s gym.

“We did four weekends where it was the camera and staff — and that was it,” percussion instructor and Assistant Band Director Tom Aungst said. “To have 200 people to clap... the energy’s different.” 

Senior marimba player Caden Lisa said he was especially thrilled to have family attend since he could show his younger brother what the program, noting that his sibling will join percussion in the upcoming school year.

“It’s nice to hype this all up,” he said.

Lisa added that while he and his fellow crew weren’t too fazed by having to perform without an audience this season, “it was nice to have them back.” 

Due to the pandemic, the percussion ensemble tapes their performances to send to competitions at the national and international level in three different circuits, including one based in the Netherlands.

So far they’ve made it to the finals of the Winter Guard International competition — results of which are expected on April 18. 

Aungst noted that he was especially proud of this year’s group and the effort they put in during this pandemic, adding that “in a time where you think it would be hard to be motivated to practice,” his students were more than happy to perform this season.

For the past four months, he said, the ensemble met four times a week and the students never complained.

“These are the kinds of kids you want competing at the world level,” Aungst added. “You wish for this kind of group.”